Be Inspired Series
Director of global production support
After graduating, Davy was a Software Test Engineer, then moved into the support department. He rose through the ranks, becoming a manager, and joined Mformation in 2007.
What does your job entail?
My job entails looking after the support requirements of our customers across all regions of the globe. We have some of the largest mobile operators in the world as customers including AT&T, Bharti Airtel, Orange, Telefonica Moviles, T-Mobile and Vodafone.
To assist me in this I have three regional teams of dispersed support managers and engineers. Directing the managers and commercial aspects of the business is my main focus, but as with any support department we have to deal with a degree of reactive work on a daily basis.
My day typically includes touching base with each of the management leads of each region, in order to understand the high-priority issues across the customer base. Much of my time is spent travelling to customer sites in order to ensure that all contractual commitments and Service Level Agreements are met and that we are ultimately building towards increasing the success of our customers.
My weeks will tend to run in cycles where I spend some time with customers, some time on proactive process improvements internally, and some time dealing with any high-priority issues occurring from an operational perspective.
How did you get into this line of work?
I obtained a Bachelors degree in Environmental Biology from Queen's University, Belfast and from there I joined University of Ulster to do a Masters in Computing and Information Systems.
After graduation, I went to work as a Software Test Engineer for a small telecoms software company called 'Apion', who were later acquired by a company called 'Phone.com', hence at that point I entered the mobile internet arena.
A year later, I realised that I preferred the systems side of computing, and dealing with customer relationships, so I decided to move into the support department. I spent the next six years rising up through the ranks from support engineer to manager in charge of a team, and then in charge of a region within the department.
In 2007, I decided to move to Mformation, taking up a position as manager for the global support team, looking after all the regional telecoms carriers, then at the beginning of this year I had the opportunity to move into the director's role and take over the entire support group in Mformation.
Did you always have an interest in computers and technology?
I've always had a deep interest in technology and began tinkering with computers at quite a young age. My degree in environmental biology laid the foundation for my subsequent Masters degree and my future career in IT, in that the understanding it gave me of how ecosystems interact with one another later helped me to better understand computer systems and environments.
What personal and professional qualities are essential to work in your role?
Understanding the needs of your customers is critical in the support field. It is also important to have a feel for the actual cost in producing and maintaining software as well as a good understanding of the technologies involved and the kinds of issues that need to be supported on large internet-based telecoms applications. Finally, patience and the ability to keep a cool head are key.
Does Belfast have the potential to become a hub for hi-tech businesses such as Mformation?
Belfast is quite simply one of the best inward investment locations in Europe for software companies. In addition to our location and time zone coverage, we have a very strong core base of software engineering skills, fed by our two local universities, and developed further over years of telecoms development. We are therefore ideally positioned to undertake business in the global IT economy.
Belfast is one of the central sites where we develop and support our products and it will be a key element in moving the company forward.
Are you working on any exciting projects at the moment?
We are on the cutting edge of mobility -- my team and I support some of the largest and most innovative mobile operators in the world -- we ensure the systems that they rely on are up and running 24/7.
Closer to home, we are working on putting a more 'regional' structure into the support group at Mformation and ensuring that our customer communications and touch points are correctly aligned with both our own business and the customer needs.
With our recent work on putting new processes in place, we now have the infrastructure to support Mformation's continually expanding customer base.
Are there good opportunities to advance your career with the company?
Most definitely. Mformation has expanded its customer base rapidly over the last few years, and with that rapid growth has come plenty of opportunity for employees with the right combination of skills and abilities to carve out a niche for themselves and advance their careers, not to mention the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technology. I am a case in point, having rapidly achieved promotion from my previous position within Mformation.
What do you do in your spare time?
I'm a family man with three daughters ranging from primary school all the way through to university so I don't have a lot of spare time. However, I try to fit in as much non-competitive running as possible and have completed a couple of half marathons and a mountain marathon in the last year.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself?
I'm entering an off-road trail marathon in June and hope to qualify for an entry into the New York Marathon at the end of the year. I said I would never do anything as long distance as this -- but I've run out of things to give up doing for New Year's Resolutions, so I ended up with doing something new.
Running gives me a sense of freedom and a means to relax and forget the stresses and strains of work -- plus obviously it lets me eat just about everything in sight.
Who or what has inspired you most in your life and career?
The people who have inspired me most in my career are the engineers I have worked alongside and the teams I have been a part of. I continue to be impressed by the level of skill, expertise and effort applied by my team and the wider organization in the pursuit of finding solutions to various organizational challenges.
In my personal life, I have to thank my family, who inspire me with their constant support in many different forms, whether it's understanding with work or giving me better perspective on getting a break away from work!