$400m-a-year business software player ASG employs 20 people in Belfast and plans to create 10 new jobs in Dublin. Tulin Pledger (pictured) is director of marketing, EMEA.
Is there a very real disconnect between IT directors and the rest of the business?
Yes, but it’s changing. When the typical chief executive of a company talks to their IT director, they view them as a cost centre.
Businesses are focused on acquiring customers and increasing revenue. However, instead of seeing IT as an enabler of the business, they see it as a cost.
The technological area we specialise in is about bridging the gap between the boardroom and the IT department.
If you ask any IT director what was their budget last year, they would know instantly what they cost the company. Our software enables the IT department instead to show how they enable the business.
How is this best achieved?
The way to go about it is to create dashboards that give IT directors a view of their entire IT infrastructure. Using business service management (BSM), that information is then fed into a company’s management system.
If an IT director introduces change then they will be instantly able to see what the impact will be on the bottom line.
This is important from a cost justification point of view. Rather than the IT director going to the finance department asking for another €1m to spend on something, they will be able to cite the potential impact in terms of service, profit or loss.
Are businesses developing a greater respect for IT?
Business people want to know what value IT gives them. At the same time, they don’t want to come in the next morning and find the email system is down. They just want to get on with their job. But how much business will be lost if email goes down?
Some organisations are excelling in this area. Airbus, for example, is very forward-thinking but other organisations are nowhere near that level.
The IT director of a company needs to have a business view and an IT view of their operation.
A bank, for example, needs instant, real-time access to how its systems are performing. If there’s a sudden problem and decisions need to be made, then it will also want to know the potential impact on the business.
ASG is a private software company. Has the company any plans to go public?
The company was founded 20 years ago in Florida by Arthur Allen, who is chief executive and who has 40 years experience in the software business.
It’s a privately owned company, owned 100pc by Allen, and that’s his preference. He will be in Dublin to speak in Croke Park later this month.
Allen effectively retired from the software industry, grew bored and in 1988 decided to start a new business.
Today, the company has a turnover of over $400m and employs 1,500 people.
What are ASG’s plans for Ireland?
ASG has been in Belfast for five years and employs 50 people in R&D roles. We are in the process of setting up a Dublin office that will focus on the areas of sales, administration and technical support.
I would say realistically, in the next three years, we will grow our team to at least 10 people.
By John Kennedy