Q&A with Catherine Doyle, Managing Director of Dell Ireland

  • The Dell Technologies Forum took place in Dublin on 26th September and showcased how new technologies can be harnessed to advance sustainability, unlock growth, maintain competitiveness and unleash the power of innovation for businesses across Northern Ireland.

    Sync NI caught up with Catherine Doyle, Managing Director of Dell Ireland, to talk about the Forum and the latest developments in technology...

    The annual Dell Forum conference had a great lineup of speakers. What was the key message from the event?

    In an environment of constant change and transformation, it’s never been more important for businesses and organisations across Ireland to innovate at speed. Organisations that embrace innovation are best placed to grow and compete in a global marketplace.

    The Dell Technologies Forum placed an important spotlight on the technologies and strategies that can unlock the power of innovation in the months and years ahead. From Generative AI helping organisations to transform data into intelligent applications to Edge Computing accelerating the shift to digital healthcare and smart manufacturing, emerging technologies are reshaping how we work and do business.

    Innovation is one of the key themes of this year’s Dell Technologies Forum. Are businesses and organisations on this island putting enough emphasis on innovation?

    Dell Technologies rolled out our Innovation Index this year and it's one of the key areas that we talked about at the conference. It's proven that in times of change, leaders in innovation tend to adopt new technologies and adapt much faster than laggards. It's interesting that when surveyed 78% of businesses see themselves as innovators on a day-to-day basis, but in reality, only 6% are actually in that leadership category. I think this is something companies need to be aware of and focus on making sure they really think about this when developing their strategy.

    One of Dell’s core capabilities is the ability to help customers focus on the right areas and figure out where they can really drive an outcome for their business. At this year’s Dell Technologies Forum, we focused on actual examples of how customers are harnessing new technologies to drive efficiencies and growth within their organisation.

    Looking back over a 15-year career working for Dell prior to becoming Managing Director for Ireland, what do you consider to have been the key technology milestones for the business during this time?

    Technology has always evolved at pace. From a technology point of view, I think one of the key areas that was most definitive was when it became more people-focused. In the past technology tended to be quite back-end application-focused but that all changed once it became about enabling innovation and enabling people to act for their companies and drive that outcome.

    At Dell Technologies, our core mission as a team is to create technologies that drive human progress. We are among the world’s leading technology companies helping to use emerging technologies to drive business success and help solve societal challenges. From hybrid cloud solutions to high-performance computing and 5G, our team is using technology to transform ideas into innovation at speed. 

    Conference delegates also got to hear from global industry leaders experts across a wide area of topics including AI, IoT, cloud computing and cybersecurity. What emerging technologies do you think will bring the most radical change for businesses in Northern Ireland?

    Artificial Intelligence is unlocking new opportunities for businesses in Northern Ireland and across the world. And although it is one of the most talked about technologies at the moment, it’s probably the least understood.

    The real opportunity is making AI enterprise-ready and leveraging the power of data to supercharge innovation within an organisation. Leaders need to understand how AI can transform how they do business and how they're going to use it for the greater good of their company.

    I think the next one that would go along with that would be cybersecurity. Digital transformation is well underway for most companies and hybrid cloud practices have become the norm. But companies need to secure themselves to ensure that their core information and intellectual property is protected. Cyber security and resiliency are key areas for our customers.

    If we look also at 5G and how it's going to develop in terms of digital cities and autonomous driving, it's going to really affect everybody in terms of how we actually operate in the future. It will help to enable the roll-out of digital healthcare and the evolution of Industry 4.0.

    AI has been dominating the headlines over the last 12 months. What are the potential impacts of AI from a business and societal point of view?

    For hundreds of years, the human-machine relationship has been clearly defined. Machines have been doing mechanical tasks and people have been doing the thinking and decision making. But over the past few years, algorithms and data have given us the tools to start to delegate decision-making tasks to machines.

    That is a profound change, and it will touch almost every aspect of industry around the world. IDC estimates that by 2025, 88% of the servers used for AI workloads deployed at the edge will be used for inferencing. Given this rapid transformation, AI is now key to unlocking value within data and it is becoming one of the most important tools for businesses of all sizes.

    For a school leaver or graduate just starting out on their journey and hoping to forge a successful career in technology what important piece of advice would you offer?

    The most important advice I would give to anyone is to be open to feedback and mentorship. Be open to being coachable and open to listening to new ideas is a huge learning for all of us really. There is so much opportunity to learn from everybody around you so it’s really important to just be open to that.

    It is also critical to take time to invest in yourself. We need to be constantly evolving emotionally, academically and professionally. The technology sector is ever-changing and new ideas and concepts are always popping up. It’s also stimulating to constantly challenge yourself to learn.

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