IT Life: Would-Be Chef Who Cooked Up FeedHenry

FeedHenry CEO - Cathal McGloin

Cathal McGloin wanted to be a chef. Now in enterprise mobility, he seems to be busy feeding someone called Henry….

Cathal McGloin is CEO of FeedHenry, of Waterford Ireland. The company makes a mobile application platform designed for the enterprise. He’s been in IT for nearly 30 years.

What has been your favourite project so far?
Taking Performix Technologies to the US in 2000.

I founded Performix in 1998 with my brother. After a couple of years I knew that the real market opportunities lay in the States so moved the family over from Dublin – the original plan was to stay for two years, but we ended up staying on for 14 (and have no plans to return anytime soon)! 2000 was a really exciting time to be in the US. The Internet had created a boom in the tech sector and there was so much buzz around it here. It was exciting to be in a different country and face the challenges of hiring local software developers, sales people, and so on. Every day brought something new and different compared to doing business in Ireland and it was a rollercoaster of a learning curve with plenty of twists and turns.

Call centre culture clash?

helpdesk support call centre phone happy © Edyta Pawlowska ShutterstockWhat tech were you involved with ten years ago?
Performance management software for the call centre industry. At Performix, we had a vision to change the culture in contact centres that existed at the time, using technology, not just to measure an abundance of call centre metrics but to use as the basis for motivating and rewarding employee performance.

The technology was client server based, integrating with call centre ACD systems. The technology wasn’t particularly as exciting as the changes it created. It was more how we changed the approach to performance management to empower call centre agents in managing their effectiveness, using software to do this. Performance management has now become a standard part of every business and it’s great to see that our concepts are still alive and kicking.

Big Data Doctors

© Monika Wisniewska - Fotolia.comWhat tech do you expect to be using in ten years’ time?
iOS 17.0? Just kidding.

Given my age I guess that in 10 years time I may be turning my attention towards healthcare and medical technologies. This is where wearable tech is likely to have boomed and become an important part of health monitoring and even healthcare. Intelligent sensors, mobile apps, wearable devices, social media and big data will be integral to every part of our lives. Our homes, our cars, and even our bodies are going to capture so much more data.

I expect that many doctor’s visits and diagnostic tests will be performed remotely via devices, apps and secure social media and interconnectivity. I just hope that the doctor won’t be able to monitor everything I do and don’t do!

amazon Jeff Bezos squareWho’s your tech hero?
Jeff Bezos. What he did with AWS in the cloud has changed enterprise computing, and he did it while running an online store. His vision and courage are impressive.  He was instrumental in changing how and where consumers shop but to have taken the leap of faith and created AWS cloud shows a remarkable level of innovation and initiative.

Social media sceptic

Who’s your tech villain?
I don’t have a tech villain as such but I am very sceptical when it comes to Facebook. The personal data that Facebook can gather on members, especially young kids, and the fact that people don’t really comprehend the implications defined in the privacy terms, I consider to be worrying. I think it could cause problems down the road and has done with some tragic incidents.

However, social media is here to stay. I just hope that more education and controls are put in place over the next few years to tackle things like cyber bullying, personal privacy and social fraud.

What’s your favourite technology ever made? Which do you use most?
The iPad. I use it constantly – but more importantly, I see how it has brought computing and the internet to whole groups of people who would never have had access previously – the elderly, those with special needs and even young children. It’s used as a tool for learning; for entertainment; for social interactions; for communication, and more.

It can go everywhere, is intuitive, and is easy to hold and use. As for me, it’s my newspaper early in the morning, my presentation deck during work, my recipe book when I cook, my go-to for household maintenance tips, and my book at bedtime.

What is your budget outlook going forward? Flat? Growing?
Growing. FeedHenry is in a booming market for enterprise mobility. It’s changing so fast that as soon as you think you have it sussed there’s some new twist. However, it’s not without its challenges – many companies are struggling with how to approach mobility. We find there is still a fair amount of education required to help them overcome many of their valid concerns. We have grown year on year since I spun FeedHenry out of an Irish research institute (TSSG) in 2010. It’s great to get up each day and conduct calls and meetings with staff, prospects, partners and clients who are enthusiastic about FeedHenry and our platform. Not everyone has that experience so I am grateful that I work with a winning team, with a great product, and a vibrant, fast-growing market.

Net Neutrality needed

Netflix LandscapeApart from your own, which company do you admire most and why?
Netflix. They are redefining how we consume entertainment and they are taking on the big cable companies (here in the States). I just hope that they win in their battle for Net Neutrality against the cable companies. This is one industry that needs to be disrupted – having to pay for 300 channels when I only want 2 or 3 is a concept that belongs in the past.

What’s the greatest challenge for an IT company/department today?
Making the shift from traditional enterprise software implementations (which were unwieldy and slow to execute) to the new world of agile development – while still preserving the security of corporate data and systems and getting to market fast. It’s a whole new set of technological disruptions that demand a change in mindset and approach. Apple’s iPhone changed the IT world as we know it and led to the so-called consumerisation of IT, where companies had to capitulate to BYOD and meet consumer expectations for usability, speed, and information “at-your-fingertips” anytime, anywhere.

To Cloud or not to Cloud?
Absolutely Cloud. It’s the only way to keep agile and flexible. That’s not to say that some situations don’t call for more tightly controlled on-premise installations but as a general rule the cloud is where information needs to be stored, managed and accessed, especially in a world where ubiquitous mobile devices are consuming vast volumes of data on-the-go.

There’s a perception that the cloud isn’t as secure as on-premise but having worked with FeedHenry I know that this is not true and that it’s down to what cloud and deployment model is used. There’s still some education to be done around cloud and we see a lot of what we call cloud washers out there who claim to be cloud but aren’t fully committed, or don’t have the depth of expertise to call themselves cloud-based.

chef cook development food management kitchen © wavebreakmedia ShutterstockWhat did you want to be when you were a child?
Chef and restaurateur…and I still do! I love cooking and entertaining friends. To me good food and wine brings friends together and is the best social medium of all. My first job was at a local hotel in the depths of Donegal, Ireland (where I grew up). I was a young bartender, waiter and even sommelier (when needed) even though at the time I didn’t know the first thing about wines. I grew to love the atmosphere of restaurant kitchens, the vast array of fresh ingredients, the exciting flavors of exotic meals, and the combination of food, wine and good company.

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