MJ Flood Technology scores award hat-trick at this year’s Cisco Ireland Partner Forum

Dublin, 30th November, 2015: – MJ Flood Technology today announced that it is the recipient of the Cisco Premier Partner of the Year award. Presented to exemplary channel partners, the Cisco Ireland Partner Awards recognise the achievements of a select group of Cisco partners and their innovation within the Irish market for FY15.

MJ Flood Technology wins Cisco Premier Partner of the Year award for 2015This brings to three, the number of awards scooped by the MJ Flood Technology team. In 2013, the company took the Rising Star award and last year saw its recognition as Select Partner of the Year.

“The past twelve months have been a fantastic time to be working with such a wide array of well-respected, industry-leading channel partners and distributors, which has enabled us to achieve so much together,” said Adam Grennan, country manager with Cisco Ireland.

MJ Flood Technology is one of the names that ranks highly on this list, and it’s our true pleasure to recognise their exceptional work and the quality of execution as Cisco award winners.”

Commenting on the award, James Finglas, managing director with MJ Flood Technology said:

“Industry digitisation or Internet of Things presents us with a significant opportunity to help customers exploit market disruption. We’re currently working on innovative projects with retail and healthcare clients to capitalise on that and our business strategy for next year will see an extension of that focus to other industry sectors.”

MJ Flood Technology launches country’s first Connected Retail Lab

Live showcase of cutting-edge technologies aims to help progressive retailers grow their customer revenues across online, mobile and in store

Dublin, Tuesday, 17th November 2015: Leading cloud services provider and connected retail specialist, MJ Flood Technology today announced the launch of the country’s first Connected Retail Lab, located at its headquarters in Baldonnell, Co Dublin.

The lab is a showcase for cutting-edge retail technologies, where retailers can explore opportunities to personalise their customers’ purchase journey from the high street, to online, in store and mobile in a live demo environment.

Visitors to the lab can experience first-hand the power of Cisco Wi-Fi solutions, smart signage, interactive touchscreens, augmented reality retail entertainment and deep customer analytics.

Connected Retail is the linking of consumers, devices and data to create more personalised shopping experiences, boost basket values and increase overall customer revenues.

Market research analyst Forrester estimates that by 2018, 44 per cent of all in-store retail sales in Europe, or €920 billion, will be influenced by online research, pointing to the importance of a digital presence even if the final transaction isn’t completed online.

Commenting on the launch, Keith Hanley, connected retail lead with MJ Flood Technology said:

“No two customer journeys are the same and as online consumers we have come to expect a high degree of personalisation through consumer-centric communications. We can now carry this personal journey right through to the ‘bricks and mortar’ store and use a host of innovative technologies that positively influence individual purchase behaviour and amplify that through social networks.

“This translates into higher basket values and deeper customer loyalty for retailers,” he said.

Some of the technologies on show at the Connected Retail Lab include high performance wireless networks from MJ Flood Technology’s partner Cisco, as well as facial analysis and profiling software, which generates in-depth customer analytics based on eye tracking, emotion recognition, age, gender, ethnicity, head pose, mood and clothing style.

When combined with digital signage, these triggers deliver relevant advertising content in real time and are a powerful mechanism to measure advertising effectiveness.

Interactive touchscreen and mobile applications as assistive application platforms for the consumer are also on display with an emphasis on helping retailers to develop mobile apps and feature sets that drive conversion rates, increase loyalty sign ups and boost order values.

To help retailers in their journey towards innovation, Hanley and his team will support proof of concept pilot projects and a number of these have already been successfully deployed for leading retailers here.

“We’ve decided to take this one step further through proof of concept projects for retailers who see potential in using selected technologies,” said Hanley. “This will allow them to test the various technologies, engage all stakeholders and develop a prototype in a low risk and low cost environment.

“This proof of concept opportunity can include the supply and support of hardware devices, assistance with pilot software development, and access to consultants and finance should solutions make it to deployment status,” he said.

From the sales floor to the classroom and back again

By Jonathan Finglas, enterprise account manager,  MJ Flood Technology

As of January 2016, Ernst and Young (EY) have announced that a university degree will no longer be an essential requirement for successful application to their workforce.

In addition, one of the UK’s top law firms, Clifford Chance have introduced ‘’CV blind interviews’’ giving the assessors no insight into the background of the applicant. This gives every young, ambitious and driven applicant an equal opportunity regardless of background, education or experience.

Why are such industry giants defying convention and radically changing their recruitment policies?

It’s simple. EY have found that this approach provides a more robust and reliable indicator of an applicant’s ability to succeed and flourish within the profession and company. And it’s backed by solid evidence through an 18-month study in which they evaluated their own internal continuous assessments and numeracy tests over previous gained qualifications.

So how is this all relevant to me (and you perhaps)?

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go to University. However, like so many school- leavers at the tender age of 17, I was unsure of my desired profession for the rest of my life. I based my choice of third level accounting on what I enjoyed in school. The stark realisation soon hit me (as it did many of my friends and colleagues) that just because you like a subject in an academic environment, does not mean you will enjoy it long term or as a profession.

So I abandoned the degree and moved to business development in 2011. I was lucky enough to get a job with cloud specialist, MJ Flood Technology at the backend of a bleak recession for the technology sector. And over the past four years I have worked in numerous positions both in the UK and Ireland benefiting from the tech boom we have all seen in that time.

My hard work and commitment was acknowledged with selection (as one of only two staff members) to attend the Cisco Sales Associate Programme this summer in Amsterdam. I had a valuable if not daunting three-month opportunity to escape the sales floor that had become so familiar and enter the unfamiliar realms of the classroom, which seemed like another world to me at that stage.

Together with some a diverse mix of people, spanning 30 different nationalities with backgrounds in every university course I can think of, I experienced targeted sales and technology education directly relating to my profession.

Much like working professionals that complete evening courses and evening degrees relating to their industry that I have spoken to, I found this approach so worthwhile and rewarding. It allowed me to absorb both technical and sales training in an academic atmosphere while being continuously assessed in topics that I would be living on a day-to-day basis.

It opened my mind to thinking like a university student, to absorb information, study it and apply it, not only with a view to passing a graded exam at the end of an academic year, but to using my knowledge in a profession where I would be evaluated on tangible results for the company that had invested in me.

Very few organisations will take their staff out of the field and send them on training for a three-month period. It incurs a significant opportunity cost and a heavy financial investment. But MJ Flood Technology also see beyond the limitations of a CV and are willing to invest in me and their staff, providing them with the motivation and tools to take their careers to the next level.

It’s easy perhaps for people like me without a third level degree, to welcome this approach from my own employer. But I would encourage non-degree holders to look beyond the obvious career paths and explore other opportunities. Bright, enthusiastic, street smart individuals can flourish in many walks of life. With some encouragement and foresight from the right employer, you too can reach your career milestones, even if that early university degree has eluded you.

Where do you stand on the education versus experience debate? Are you recently graduated and feel that a shift to an experience-based application model is undervaluing your academic achievements? Are you similar to me where you feel it’s beneficial to have past experience and on the job assessment when climbing the workplace ladder?

Top three telco tips to successfully win cloud business

by Paul Caffrey, senior cloud solutions consultant, MJ Flood Technology

I have spent the last six years of my IT career in MJ Flood Technology, providing white glove, pre-sales Microsoft consultancy to a large telecommunications company (telco) and its clients in the UK.

During this time, I have seen a dramatic shift of mind-set from clients towards the cloud, and witnessed first-hand the declining revenues of the telco industry, contract resign after contract resign.

Clearly, clients see the business value in moving infrastructure, apps or other services to the cloud. Many choose their trusted IT service provider to do this for them but more and more, they are turning to their telco as a one-stop-shop for help and advice to address all their communications needs – including cloud.

It’s difficult for telco’s to compete in this space, moving from a traditional model of selling mobile or fixed line connections to more complex ICT services. But it is possible and time and time again, three critical success factors consistently emerge, that help telco’s compete and beat traditional IT companies to win lucrative cloud service contracts.

Sometimes they are exhibited by one individual and on larger projects these skills are demonstrated by a few members of the engagement team.

  • Excellent account management is a must
    In the mid-market space, a telco is at nothing if the account isn’t well managed. It doesn’t matter if the client badly needs the service and if the telco is looking to heavily subsidise it. No technology solutions will be considered unless the mobile account is managed correctly.
  • Authoritative pre-sales consultancy and value proposition required
    Once the account is in order, the second hurdle that must be jumped is the actual value proposition of the service and the credibility of the solution design. This is the role that I provide as a pre-sales consultant with my current telco.The value proposition we provide is industry leading and our ability to design complex solutions and deliver migrations from any environment lends tremendous credibility to our offering, allowing us to compete against the largest IT companies in the UK.When discussing businesses infrastructure we can talk with authority, whiteboard sound solutions and provide reference calls when needed.
  • Strong negotiation skills to make the deal valuable to both parties
    Getting a deal across the line in the telco world is interesting, as a traditional mobile contract gives a little more hardware credit than the previous one and also offers better packages at a reduced price. The difficulty faced in this is that many businesses expect services heavily discounted or free from a telco, which is clearly unsustainable in the world of ICT. The industry has created this problem thanks to how handsets are funded when provided “free” over a two year contract.This means that you need a strong negotiator to work with a client to get a deal agreed that provides value to both parties. This can be either the account manager, the pre sales consultant or sometimes a third sales specialist who will discuss the contract with the customer and get an agreement that is good for everyone.

Every day that passes, sees telco’s get better and better at providing technology solutions to their customers. These three distinct skillsets blended together will help them better serve their customers.  However, there is still a long road ahead until this is a reality throughout the entire industry.

Connect with me on Linkedin, Follow me on Twitter:  @PaulMMCaffrey, MJ Flood Technology