IT company Fujitsu boss: 'We have the ability to achieve things that seemed impossible'
Greg McDaid is the managing director of IT services company Fujitsu, one of Northern Ireland's most established IT services companies, which offers a full range of technology products, solutions and services.
How did your career bring you to your present post at Fujitsu?
I started out studying engineering at Queen's University and went on to be an engineer for Bombardier in Belfast. Whilst working in Bombardier I completed an MBA at the University of Ulster, then moved into consultancy with Coopers & Lybrand, where ICL was one of my customers. I then joined ICL (which became Fujitsu) in 1996 and have worked for the organisation since. People tend to stay at Fujitsu for a long time, it is reflective of our Japanese culture which recognises and rewards employees who demonstrate loyalty and commitment to the business.
What is the key event to which you owe your current success?
During my engineering degree at university, I developed a strong interest in the business world and realised that I didn't only want to work in the engineering sector. In hindsight, I wish I had spent more time at school considering my career options and discussing with my teachers and career advisers what study options I would have after studying A-level maths, physics and chemistry. However, that realisation at university was a defining moment that motivated me to work really hard to pursue a career in business.
What are the biggest challenges facing the business?
The huge advances in IT in the past decade mean organisations in Northern Ireland can now use IT on an unprecedented scale. Due to the way technology has evolved and the scale the digital world can handle, we now have the means to do extraordinary things - to manage city infrastructures and traffic flow, to manage our energy resources, to manage water and agriculture production. The technology megatrends of cloud, mobility, big data and the Internet of Things together present transformational opportunities for both NI plc and our wider society. The implications are far-reaching. All of these emerging technologies are starting to influence the way that businesses, and indeed society, can generate outcomes. We have the ability to achieve things that even five years ago would have seemed ambitious, if not impossible.
Does it have a long-term future in Northern Ireland and will it potentially create any more jobs here?
With over 35 years' experience in Northern Ireland, Fujitsu is very familiar with the many benefits of doing business here. As one of Northern Ireland's most established IT services companies, we employ over 800 people in Belfast, Antrim and Londonderry. Last December we announced plans to establish a new Business Services Centre at our existing Timber Quay site, which will bring the total number of Fujitsu employees in Northern Ireland to over 1,000.
What difference will super-computing make to businesses and what role is Fujitsu playing in it?
Fujitsu's new High Performance Computing (HPC) Service brings a supercomputing service to Northern Ireland for the first time, something which has the potential to add significant competitive advantage to a wide range of local businesses and researchers. High performance computing essentially speeds up computationally heavy tasks turning processing time of months to days and days to hours and minutes.
What more can government do to make Northern Ireland a more attractive place for businesses? Is a lower rate of corporation tax important?
A lower rate of corporation tax will make Northern Ireland more attractive but to compete globally, we need to continue to develop skilled employees who have the capability to compete on a global scale.
Grand Prix or Tour de France? Tour de France, I cycle to work.
Cinema or TV?
Cinema but only what the kids let me watch.
Big Bang Theory or Mrs Brown's Boys?
Big Bang Theory.
Kindle or paperback?
Winter or summer holiday? Both