The AI revolution offers ‘boundless possibilities’ for businesses

7 Sep 2023

Dell Technologies Ireland MD Catherine Doyle. Image: Clare Keogh

Catherine Doyle, MD of Dell Technologies Ireland, discusses her role, the most exciting tech trends and the importance of creating the right internal culture for staff.

Catherine Doyle is the managing director (MD) of Dell Technologies Ireland, a role that involves helping companies take advantage of emerging technology trends.

Doyle took the position in May and is now leading a team of around 4,500 employees across Dell’s Irish sites in Cork, Limerick and Cherrywood, Dublin. But Doyle is no stranger to leading large teams, having worked in a number of senior leadership roles within Dell for nearly 16 years.

Doyle has previously worked for Dell’s EMEA operations, in positions such as senior director of strategic outsourcers and a software group leader.

She told that previous EMEA roles gave her the opportunity to learn about business cultures across many countries, but she is now happy to now focus on Ireland during such a “critical time for businesses”.

“Organisations continue to face the challenge of meeting the needs of their customers and managing volatility while also transforming at speed,” Doyle said. “That’s why it is vital that leaders understand how technologies in areas such as 5G, AI, cybersecurity, edge and multicloud can support their digital transformation and have a trusted technology partner to help achieve their business goals.

“This role gives me the opportunity to understand these challenges in depth and work to ensure we support our customers through these changes.”

The journey with Dell

Doyle said she has always had a passion for technology and “how it constantly evolves”, with this passion leading her to join Dell EMC in 2000.

“I haven’t looked back since, progressing to take on a number of senior management roles at a local and regional level,” Doyle said. “That is the advantage of a company of this size there are many career opportunities within the company itself.”

When speaking about the various roles she has had over the years and the risks she has taken, Doyle said each role brings a new element of risk as “you don’t really fully know how it will pan out until you are in it”.

“I think having a mindset that enjoys challenges really helps, and also the ability to stay calm and measured is a key skill as you move around any organisation. Also, I have been fortunate to have fantastic mentors every step of the way – being open to learn from others is critical and helps you to learn faster.”

She said her latest position as MD involves engaging with businesses across Ireland to help them navigate a “challenging period of uncertainty”.

Evolving technology

Technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, presenting a mix of opportunities and challenges for businesses in every sector. Doyle said that the current pace of change means it has “never been more important for businesses in Ireland to innovate and transform”.

“Organisations with a strong culture of innovation are best placed to drive growth and compete internationally,” Doyle said. “This is supported by findings from Dell’s latest Innovation Index which shows that organisations in Ireland defined as Innovation Leaders and Adopters are twice as likely to accelerate their innovation during challenging economic conditions.”

In terms of specific technology advancements, Doyle said she is “particularly excited” about the development of AI, 5G and the edge, due to how they can “transform how individual sectors of our economy will operate and compete into the future”.

“While we’re still in the early stages of the AI revolution, it is a technology that offers boundless possibilities for innovation and driving growth,” Doyle said. “Generative AI can help every business transform its data into intelligent applications that enable them to solve complex business challenges, improve the customer experience or enable new ways of working.”

Last year, Dell predicted that AI would reach a turning point in 2023 and become adopted by more organisations to harness data, describing it as the potential “main engine of innovation” for 2023.

Doyle explained that a combination of AI, 5G and edge technology can increase productivity and optimise supply chains. In manufacturing for example, she said sensors are being used on production floors to monitor equipment, measure temperature and ensure quality control.

“The use of connected devices allows manufacturers to process data at the edge rather than the data centre, and act on data in real-time.”

Doyle also highlighted how Dell recently launched its Open Telecom Ecosystem Lab in Cork to give organisations a testbed to “unlock the business potential of 5G”.

“The first-of-its-kind facility in Ireland provides an innovation testbed for telecoms and technology leaders across Europe to test and deploy open telecom solutions at the heart of 5G and 6G networks and accelerate the development of smart mobility solutions and digital cities.”

Getting the best from the team

Doyle described Dell’s Irish operations as a “strategic global hub” for the company, with its 4,500 staff handling a range of functions such as sales, manufacturing, supply chain operations, engineering, IT, finance and more.

Based on her previous experience, Doyle said that collaboration and creativity are the “two key factors” in getting the best performance from her staff.

“Leaders should ensure that their team is provided with the tools and technology to enable them to seamlessly work together and have the best possible employee experience – irrespective of where they are located,” Doyle said.

“Creating a truly inclusive work culture where everyone brings their whole, authentic selves to work has also helped to ensure we deliver the best results for our customers and partners. Embracing diverse perspectives, experiences and skillsets fosters creativity and encourages people to think about the box.”

Doyle’s top advice for other tech leaders is to concentrate on team members, as the right internal culture will “attract top talent”.

“When your company has the right people and innovative culture, they will take care of the customers,” Doyle said. “Making innovation a core part of business strategy should be another priority.

“By embracing new technologies and encouraging a vibrant culture of innovation within their organisation, businesses can ensure they are set up for future success.”

The work-life balance

Doyle also said it is important to “enjoy the simple pleasures in life” and describes spending time with her family as a “wonderful way to relax away from the office”.

“I have two kids and we spend a lot of time going for walks in the hills and doing other activities together.”

She is also a “big reader”, being a fan of Audible and having an interest in both fiction and non-fiction books.

“I enjoy reading books that stimulate my creativity and open myself to new concepts and ideas and also books that are completely fiction and nothing to do with work at all, I like to have a balance between the two.”

“Recently I read Atomic Habits by James Clear and that really resonated with me. It is about daily habits and how to stay focused on the good ones. I’ve also recently read Angela Duckworth’s book Grit. It is about the power of perseverance, and the traits of high achievers.”

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic