SyncNI Magazine Spring 2012


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SyncNI Magazine Spring 2012

  1. 1. Issue #05 FREE SPRING 2012 Issue 5 q NETWORKING EVENT 09 q NISP IDEAFEST 10 q Apple appoints Leaf 14Northern Ireland’s Technology, Science & Innovation Community q Nick O’Shiel 22Conor Walsh, CEO @Andor TechnologiesMark W.BennettDirector and GeneralManager @ ChicagoMercantile Exchange06 Start-upSpotlightBillygoat Entertainment& Dugong GamesTechnologyM&A DealsWhat to expect technology science innovation business gaming web start-ups apps mobile green i.t.
  2. 2. Expert thinking in theM&A market Acted on behalf of the shareholders in the sale of Singularity to Kofax PLC. Acted as NI counsel to Sytner Group on their acquisition of the Isaac Agnew Group.For expert legal advice on any aspectof M&A please contactNeasa QuigleyPartnerT. +44 (0) 28 9034 8816M. +44 (0) 7730 000 373neasa.quigley@carson-dowell.comCarson McDowell, Murray House, Murray Street, Belfast BT1 6DN. T: +44 (0) 28 9024 4951 E:
  3. 3. SYNCNI magazine SPRING 2012 3Welcome to the Springedition of the SyncNi magazine Northern Ireland’s Technology, Science & Innovation Community EDITORIAL SyncNi Team foreword Phone: 028 90820944 Email: content from Alastair Hamilton CEO Invest NI Emma Leahy Email:emma.leahy@syncni. com ADVERTISING Sales and Marketing: SUBSCRIPTIONS Email: subscribe@syncni.comW DESIGN Graphic Design: ith public sector spending international corporations. These, and many Niall Mooney cuts impacting on large others, have concluded that our blend of a GENERAL ENQUIRIES capital projects and the technically skilled and adaptable workforce Postal Address continued lack of liquidity for with a ”can-do” attitude is a major attraction. Sync NI Northern Ireland Science Park small businesses presenting In total, inward investment projects won Queen’s Island Belfastsignificant challenges, there is no doubt that over the past three years are scheduled to BT3 9DTour economy faces extremely challenging create over 7,500 jobs, and the average salary Phone: 028 90820944 Email: info@syncni.comtimes. But despite the apparent incessant from inward investment projects we have Website: www.syncni.comdoom and gloom, Invest NI continues to work supported has increased by some 32%, sincewith businesses throughout Northern Ireland, 2008/09.implementing a range of initiatives to addressthese challenges, and encouraging new and Clearly, there continues to be realexisting businesses to raise their sights and opportunities in innovative and technology-broaden their horizons. driven businesses, many in sectors where Northern Ireland is beginning to develop Since it was launched in November, our critical mass. Ensuring that we have a steadyBoosting Business campaign has taken over flow of appropriate skilled employees to3,500 enquiries from businesses keen to learn enable us to maximise on the potential is vital,about the range of support we can offer to which is a major reason why Invest NI workshelp them drive their innovation, increasing so closely with both businesses and academiatheir adaption of technology, enhance the on initiatives such as the Assured Skillsskills of their workforce, grow their exports programme, the Software Tester’s Academy COPYRIGHTand, ultimately, create jobs. and The Society of Northern Ireland Actuaries. No part of this publication may be reproduced without I hope that, in supporting these type of the written permission of the copyholder and The vast majority of these have come from initiatives, we are providing the foundations publisher. SyncNi accepts no responsibility for the accuracysmall and medium sized businesses which for the establishment and growth of many of contributed articles orare the bedrock of our economy and, as Andor more innovative businesses in Northern statements appearing in this magazine and any views orTechnology, which features in this edition, Ireland, which will join the many companies opinions expressed are not necessarily those of SyncNi ,and First Derivatives show there is no reason featured in this edition in driving our private unless otherwise indicated.why our local SME’s cannot grow from small sector growth. No responsibility for loss or distress associated to anybeginnings to become global players. person acting or refraining from acting as a result of the material in this magazine can Of course, it is not only our indigenous Alastair Hamilton be accepted by the authors, contributors, editors orbusiness base that will drive the growth and publishers. SyncNi does not endorse any goods or servicescompetitiveness of our private sector. Chief Executive Officer, Invest NI advertised, nor any claims or representations made in any advertisement in this Investments such as NYSE Euronext, Sync NI would like to thank Alastair Hamilton for his magazine. The recruitment agencies listed are actingCiti, and Allen & Overy show just how far contributuion to this edition of the magazine. as employment agencies onwe have come, and our attraction to major behalf of their clients.
  4. 4. 4 SYNCNI magazine SPRING 2012 21contents 6 7 12 featured 06 Start-up Spotlight 07 Company Focus 08 HR Considerations 12 Q&A - Conor Walsh 14 Apple appoints Leaf 16 Q&A - Mark W. Bennett 19 Technology M&A Deals 16 Also IdeaFest 2012 10 Bash Event 18 Upcoming Events 18 14 C-TRIC Fast Tracks 20 Northgate Managed Services 20 Tibus: Super Speed 21 Nick O’Shiel 22
  5. 5. IT’sa greatplace towork!Find out why’re recruiting now!
  6. 6. 6 SYNCNI magazine SPRING 2012 Creative industry startupsBilly Goat Entertainment Sync NI met up with Billy GoatEntertainment’s creator, 3D Animator,William Barr for a quick chat. Hi Guys, for those that don’t know,who are Billy Goat Entertainment? Billy Goat Entertainment is a small,yet perfectly formed 3D animationstudio based in sunny Belfast. We alsomake video games. What has been the biggest challenge You recently launched Outfoxed, What advice would you give a start-that you have faced since starting up? featuring the smooth voice of Jackie up company? Fullerton. What is the next project for Prepare to learn just how much sleep Our start-up costs! Because our Billy Goat Entertainment? the human body can survive without!work is quite specialised all the gear Although in seriousness, don’t neglectand software is expensive. When we Outfoxed is a bit of an on-going to do the little, difficult, day to day jobstry to improve our portfolio and take on project, it’ll receive a good bit of our in the hope that someone else will do it.more ambitious projects we’re usually attention over the next few months You’ve got to remain focused.hit by big upgrade costs meaning we’d as we intend to add more content andend up producing the project for a loss. bring it to other platforms in addition to Finally, if you could sum up your workAlthough we feel that it’s important to iPhone. We also have two other games ethos in one word what would that be?make this investment now as we see in the works, along with a couple of Resilientthe Goat having a long future. animated TV ads.Dugong Games Sync NI talks to Dugong Games, a What has been the biggest challengesmall Independent Games Company as a start up?based in Belfast Obtaining funding is probably the biggest hurdle we have come across. What are your business plans for So, how did four third year Students Luckily, being students we have had 2012?start up their own company? access to a number of resources At the moment, we are focusing on We needed to find somewhere to provided for us by our University completing our first game for Windowsdo work placement for our course such as an office space in the SU and Phone, hopefully for around early to midat University, but it’s difficult to find software etc. March. After that we will spend a shortplacement in the Games Industry in time porting it to PC. Then when that’sgeneral, let alone in Northern Ireland, so What projects have you been working finished we will begin working on ourwe decided that the best option was to on to date? next project.start up our own company. After some Currently we have been working onmeetings with lecturers and members our first game, Wizard Wars, for the Finally, if you could sum up your workof the Enterprise Unit in the SU, four Windows Phone and hope to release it ethos in one word what would that be?months later, here we are close to for the PC as well. Diligent.finishing our first project.
  7. 7. SYNCNI magazine SPRING 2012 7Company Focus: CITI BelfastJohn Healy, Director and Head of Technology Citi Belfast, tells SyncNI what is driving thegrowth of the company’s Belfast site, and explains the important role it plays in Citi’s globaloperations. and almost 100 Legal and Compliance staff who primarily negotiate the contracts under which Citi trades with counterparties. Market uncertainty and volatility has increased the volume of trades in many asset classes and the operation in Belfast looks set to be kept busy in 2012. John HealyC Director and Head of Technology Citi Belfast ”Attracting and retaining the best iti has been in Northern talent is a top priority for Citi here in Ireland for more than 6 years Belfast,” says Healy. ”Once we have now and over that time it has secured the roles and jobs growth for grown from the original plan the centre here we need to ensure that of classroom training delivered by world for 375 roles to a position we deliver excellence in everything class instructors followed by 9 monthstoday where it employs around 1,200 that we do for the business. We do structured on-the-job training.staff in Belfast, with an expectation to that through our people, through theirincrease that to 1,500 over the next 3 ongoing training and development This approach has proved veryyears. This rise in headcount at Citi’s plans, and by creating an environment successful and many of the otherCentre of Excellence in Belfast is a where talent thrives and people can technology employers are moving tosignificant number for Northern Ireland, operate at their maximum potential”. a similar model. This is a significantwhere it has become a major employer. investment to increase the talent Citi has fostered good relationships capacity of the Northern Ireland market, It is also a positive indicator that with the two local universities and will and that will prove to be a very goodthe centre is delivering well, because be taking in 100 graduates in 2012, thing in the medium and long term andit shows that Citi’s corporate business as well as experienced hires. With an help provide great opportunities forcontinues to send work to Belfast. emerging cluster of companies such further expansion and jobs growth, not as First Derivatives, NYSE and Fidessa just for Citi but the sector as a whole. The Belfast site mainly supports in the capital markets technologyCiti’s Institutional Clients Group, sector here it is a competitive marketthat is the capital markets and for talent, but as the sector developsinvestment banking teams in London, there will be great opportunities for ourWestern Europe, and New York. The talented technologists.Technology group in Belfast comprisesapproximately 750 staff based at Citi’s At the moment though it can beoffice in the Titanic Quarter who are difficult to get enough people with theinvolved in the design, development, right level of experience, particularlytesting, rollout and support of for the kinds of activities that Citicomputer systems that support its undertakes in Belfast which are reallycapital market activities, from trading quite specialised. Therefore Citi tookplatforms through to settlement and a decision two years ago to invest inreconciliation. In addition, there are entry level talent and initiated the Citiapproximately 300 staff supporting Academy Graduate Programme. Thecapital markets business operations, Academy programme involves 12 weeks
  8. 8. 8 SYNCNI magazine SPRING 2012Northern Ireland – A place todo business - HR ConsiderationsRecruitment and Selection Carrie MurphyT o ensure equality of opportunity, the following steps Solicitor @ Carson are recommended: McDowell q Advertise as widely as possible to ensure thatthere is a wide pool of possible applicants which reflects Tel: 028 9034 8826the diversity of the population. Advertisements should Email: carrie.murphy@be placed in forums that will be accessible to and read carson-mcdowell.comby members of both communities (i.e. both Catholic andProtestant Communities). leaving employment for monitoring purposes;q Prepare structured job and person specifications, q File an annual return with the Equality Commission and,ensuring that essential and desirable criteria are not not less than every three years, review the composition ofdiscriminatory. its workforce and its employment practices to determineq Use standard application forms, rather than CVs, to whether members of the Protestant and Romanaid compliance with good practice by ensuring that those Catholic communities are enjoying ”fair participation” inselecting applicants do not have access to irrelevant employment.information which could be used in a discriminatory way.q Have gender and religion balanced shortlisting and Contracts of Employmentselection panels, if possible.q Anonymously gather information on applicants’ There is no legal requirement for an employer to providecommunity background and gender, as a minimum. an employee with a written contract of employment. However, no later than two months after they startEntitlement to work in Northern Ireland employment, an employee must be provided with a written statement to include details such as their rate of pay, NI operates under the UK immigration rules. It is unlawful hours of work, holiday entitlement, sick pay and the noticeto employ an individual who does not have the right to work the UK or who is working in breach of their conditionsof stay in the UK. As part of the recruitment process, the This is also the perfect opportunity for employers toemployer must request, and the individual must provide, ensure that employment contracts are appropriatelycertain original documents to establish their eligibility to tailored to protect their business. In a highly competitivework in the UK. industry such as the IT sector, employees will often have access to their employer’s strategy, pricing structure and For those organisations seeking to employ migrant business contacts. Carefully drafted confidentiality clausesworkers, migrants must pass a points based assessment and restrictive covenants could prevent an employee frombefore they can get permission to enter or remain in the using this confidential information to their own advantageUK. In most cases, migrants must be sponsored by an and to prevent them from working for a competitor, settingorganisation before they can apply for the right to work up in competition or from poaching customers, employeesin the UK and that UK organisation must hold a sponsor or suppliers.licence. Handbook and PoliciesRegistration with the Equality Commission Alongside the written statement, employers are Employers of more than 10 full time employees in NI in recommended to implement a ‘Staff Handbook’ whichany one week must: should include the policies and procedures of the company.q Register with the Equality Commission for NI. As a minimum, a Staff Handbook should contain policiesq Maintain detailed information in relation to both religious such as disciplinary and grievance, equal opportunities, ITbackground and sex of job applicants, employees and those and E-mail and health and safety.
  9. 9. Technology Networking EventCelebrates Local SuccessT hursday 16th February saw the inaugural meeting of the IT Events Network Belfast at The Merchant Hotel. Brightwater, the leading recruitmentspecialists, hosted the event in association with BCS andSyncNI, which saw two of the province’s most innovativeand successful technologists addressing an audience ofover 100 local IT professionals, with demand for placeson the evening exceeding capacity.Celebrating Our Engineering Traditions Brightwater Commercial Director Michelle Kearns (centre) with“This series of networking events has been a response guest speakers Colm McGoldrick of Maildistiller (left) and Michael Robinson of Delloitte’s National Solutions Centre (right).to the overwhelming demand in the local technologycommunity to provide an open networking forumamongst like-minded professionals”, commentedMichelle Kearns, Commercial Director of BrightwaterNI. “In Northern Ireland, especially within the technologysector, we have exceptional technical and entrepreneurialindividuals who currently successfully operate on aglobal stage. In no other sector do we have this wealth oftalent. Tonight’s speakers firmly fall into this category andthe demand to hear them speak has been overwhelming. Left: Paul Wright and Laura Haggan of Brightwater with DavidBrightwater is really excited about hosting these events Colmer of The University of Ulster. Right: (R-L) Neil Curran of BCS,throughout what’s a big year for NI in which our enduring Stephen Whelan of Northgate and Lynne McQuitty of tradition is being celebrated internationally”.World Class TechnologistsOur world class technology innovators are the keydrivers in the ongoing economic regeneration of NorthernIreland and the evening saw two of these leaders sharetheir insights as well as answering questions from thepacked house. Michael Robinson, Head of Deloitte’sNational Solutions Centre and Colm McGoldrick,MailDistiller CEO, shared their insights as well asproviding an open forum for Q&A where their opinionswere in high demand. The audience at the stunning event venue The Merchant Hotel.Read about the IT Events Network Belfast at the LinkedIn group page,at, on Twitter at SyncNI or contact Gillian Kerrat Brightwater on 02890 325 325 for more details.We hope to see you at our next networking
  10. 10. 10 c SYNCNI magazine SPRING 2012ontemporary magazine month 20XXReinvent NorthernIreland: IdeaFest 2012What’s it going to take to create a stream ofunstoppable start-ups?T his was the question put to a 100-strong group during a NISP CONNECT Enterprise Forum – ‘#IdeaFest unConference’ – which brought together Northern Ireland’s business community to build a shared vision on how to transform the NI economy and turn the regioninto a start-up powerhouse. The event was produced incollaboration with Bizcamp, the user generated businessconference for entrepreneurs and professionals ready toshare their knowledge about business, technology and Ideas from Northern Ireland’sfinance. Entrepreneurial Community Participants voiced ideas on the key initiatives that NISP CONNECT’s Enterprise Forums provide a distinctive could dramatically improve the success rate of science andperspective on today’s most challenging business issues technology entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland includingfacing start-ups and provide an opportunity for science and funding; skills; cluster sectors; and culture. Experts on eachtechnology sector leaders across all industries to connect in topic were invited to take part and present the conclusionan inspiring setting. The ‘unConference’ was facilitated by of the group session. Theme leaders included Tim Brundle,Nichola Bates, co-founder of Emerald Valley, who explained University of Ulster; Philip Stanfield, SLA; Ben Bland, Socialthe process and drew out from participants the main issues Media and Digital Strategy Consultant; Brian McKimm,they felt were facing start-ups in the region. The event took Director at Feranna Investments. As voted by the eventplace at the Northern Ireland Science Park and provided a facilitators the top 4 ideas generated at the event included:positive environment for discussion and idea generation ontaking NI technology start-ups to the next level. Funding – VC Funds and ‘Student Loans for At the event, Steve Orr, Director of NISP CONNECT, Business’ style Fundpresented the conclusions of the ‘Northern Ireland The need for a £200m venture capital injection is theKnowledge Economy Index – Baseline Report’ which outlines main priority for start-up growth in Northern Ireland.the current health of the Northern Ireland innovation Venture capital plays an important role in innovation andeconomy across a number of key metrics and compares the job creation by providing high risk start-ups with financeperformance with other regions. Its publication signalled otherwise unavailable through more conventional channels.a ‘Call to Action’ to all interested parties to work together A £200m venture capital fund would ensure that localto fast-track the Knowledge Economy and deliver on the companies with pioneering ideas expand and gain access tomassive opportunity it represents. As part of the process to global markets.enhance Northern Ireland’s knowledge economy attendeesof the ‘IdeaFest unConference’ were called on to debate and Another idea generated by the attendees with regards toidentify the key issues stifling the growth of technology funding was the creation of a ‘Student loans for Business’start-ups in the region and more importantly to identify style fund. The aim of the fund would be to lend to early-solutions to overcome these barriers. stage businesses with repayment starting only once the
  11. 11. SYNCNI magazine SPRING 2012 11company has achieved a predetermined level of revenue.With the fear of lapsing on loan repayments a majorconcern for those wanting to start their own business,the ‘Student loans for Business’ fund could provide a realsolution to this barrier by offering a degree of indemnity forthose taking the first steps to entrepreneurship.Sales Academy to Improve Sales Skills The creation of a ‘Sales Academy’ with particular focuson start-ups, selling prototypes and early products wasdiscussed. The aim of the Academy would be to enhanceprofessional sales capability among graduates, especiallythose with strengths in ICT. Attendees put forward that theidea that with as little as 50 graduates per year NorthernIreland could be transformed from a region with great ideasto a region with great ideas that deliver quantifiable results. Attendees at IdeaFest 2012Cluster sectors and reward risk taking. The entrepreneurial message and There is a need for more physical and social networks benefits need to be promoted to the younger generationby cluster. Start-ups need to cluster together in order to at an early stage in order to encourage them to makecollaborate and grow. The Northern Ireland Science Park informed career decisions. NISP CONNECT’s Generationis a shining example of an entrepreneurial neighbourhood Innovation programme has made the first steps to dothat allows companies to learn from each other and this but needs further support from schools and parents.develop new ways of thinking which can be applied to their Entrepreneurialism should be taught and nurtured as partorganisations. The physical innovation cluster concept of a culture change in Northern Ireland’s education system.needs to be explored further across Northern Ireland inorder for people to connect and business to thrive. Social What’s next?networks also provide the perfect platform for start-ups to The community-driven outcomes of the ‘IdeaFest unConference’ will contribute to the development of NISP CONNECT’s Manifesto which, when completed, will document a trajectory for 20 year growth for Northern Ireland. q What is an ‘unConference’? An ‘unConference’ is the new brainstorming – it creates a forum for creativity and collaboration between peers where no idea is a bad idea. They are guided by a semi-structured agenda and encourage anyone with useful insights to add to the discussion. q What is NISP CONNECT? NISP CONNECT is an independent, non-profit organisationAttendees at IdeaFest 2012 fostering entrepreneurship by accelerating the growthcome together via LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs to explore the of promising technologies and early stage companies. Aopportunities for collaboration and growth. collaboration between Northern Ireland Science Park (NISP), the University of Ulster, Queens University, Belfast and Agri-Culture Change – Reward Entrepreneurism Food Bioscience Institute, NISP CONNECT acts as an ‘honest, neutral broker’ within the region through provision ofand Risk Taking direct delivery programmes, mentorship/coaching services, The attendees put forward the need for a culture educational seminars and events geared at developing andchange in Northern Ireland to nurture entrepreneurship encouraging entrepreneurial ideas, talent and leadership.
  12. 12. 12 c SYNCNI magazine SPRING 2012 Q>AConor Walsh, CEO @ AndorTechnologiesQ> What is your company’s elevator pitch?A< Andor designs and manufactures scientificdigital cameras for use in research,both academic and industrial. Wesell globally with 40% of our revenuegenerated in the US, 40% in Europe and20% in Asia Pacific. The Andor brandrepresents innovation, quality andsuperior customer service.Q> What stage is your company at? (E.g. Startup/Clients/StaffGrowth etc)A< Andor was founded in 1989 in Queens University Belfast andis today listed on the AIM market ofthe London Stock Exchange. Andor isNorthern Ireland’s largest plc by marketcapitalisation and employs 325 staff, ofwhich 220 are based in our Belfast HeadOffice. In the past 14 years Andor hasgrown on average 30% per annum.Q> How did you personally get started in the industry?A< I am a Graduate of Queens University Belfast with a BScin Computer Science and Maths, a A< I wake at about 6.30am. I go for a 30 minute run and usually up about 6.30pm and have a one hour drive home.Fellow of the Chartered Institute of arrive into the office around 9am. MyManagement Accountants and aChartered Director. I joined Andor in2002 as Finance Director, at which time day consists of a variety of individual and team meetings with the leadership group based in Belfast and around the Q> What opportunities exist within your business at the moment?my primary objective was to help withtaking the business public. I took overas CEO in 2007. world. I try to keep a couple of hours meeting-free each day to provide space to think about the business challenges A< Andor has been a net recruiter every year since it began and recently we announced our latest and opportunities that we face. I think expansion programme. As part of anQ> What is a typical “day in the life” for you? it is important for business leaders to have time to think about the business and not be constantly overwhelmed by £18 million Invest NI backed project we will create 166 jobs over the next 3 to 4 years. These jobs will span across day-to-day operations. I usually finish all engineering disciplines as well as
  13. 13. SYNCNI magazine SPRING 2012 13operations and support services.Q> What trends in the industry really excite you?A< Andor’s strategy is to target niche segments in the market A< NI has a wealth of great talent and our businesses are more than capable of competing on a We need more management teams to be prepared to take on public funding if they are going to really fulfill global stage. Very often, however, our their growth potential. business leaders set their ambition levels too low and I would encourage more management teams to take ” We sell globally with up the global challenge and have the ambition and courage to fulfill 40% of our revenue their potential. Andor is one of only three plc’s in NI, a statistic which generated in the US, is disproportionately low to other 40% in Europe and 20% comparable regions. in Asia Pacific.”that are growing at a rate faster thanthe market in total. These typicallywill be new application areas whichalign with our product strategy ofinnovation. In the coming yearswe see significant growth comingfrom areas such as super resolution,DNA sequencing and personalizedmedication.Q>now? Finally, how would you rate the tech industry in NI right
  14. 14. 14 c SYNCNI magazine SPRING 2012ontemporary magazine month 20XXApple appoints Leaf to UK ConsultantNetworkT he leading Belfast based IT and Communications chosen business partner for Northern Ireland”. company, Leaf, has been appointed as Apple Network Consultants for Northern Ireland. Leaf Apple launched its Belfast store at Victoria Square in 2008 is now registered and certified as part of the and it is now Apple’s third largest grossing store in the UK. UK Apple Consultants Network and will workin conjunction with the Apple store, Channel and other Leaf was recently placed in Deloitte’s Fast50 forResellers to assist its Northern Ireland business customers. the second successive year and is ranked the top IT infrastructure company in the prestigious list. The IT and The Apple Consultants Network features a community Communications company is one of only four Irish providers,of professional service providers and consultants that chosen by Microsoft to launch Office 365, a new suite ofspecialise in Apple and third-party solutions. Members are productivity tools which can be accessed from the Cloud.certified professionals, fluent in multi-platform solutions, Leaf is also IBM’s only Advanced Partner in Northern Irelandand deliver on-site technology services and support. Leaf and is Cisco’s key Premier Partner to the SME Market inwas appointed by Apple’s UK Headquarter in London and is Northern Ireland.the first firm selected by the global technology company inNorthern Ireland. Leaf Consultancy is one of the fastest growing ICT solutions specialists in Northern Ireland. Apple’s business clients can now contact Leaf to specand install Apple kit and provide advice on the right Leaf ConsultancyApple products for their business needs. Apple business Our business offer is a simple one – put your confidencecustomers can still visit the store to get help and advice but in us and in return, we’ll give you the business confidencethey also have the additional choice of onsite support from that comes from knowing that your computer andthe great team at Leaf. Apple only work with the best talent communications systems are fit for their purpose andavailable and Leaf look forward to delivering a high quality technically supported 24/7.service to new and existing clients. Most companies in our business make their money by charging clients to fix problems when their ICT systems go Steven Goldblatt, Managing Director at Leaf, added: wrong. At Leaf Consultancy our approach is to ensure that”Apple produce some of the best technology in the world our clients’ technology doesn’t go wrong in the first place.and as an IT and communications firm, we are seeing an If a problem should arise we aim to respond to it quicklyincrease in the number of businesses now using Apple and efficiently, where possible fixing the issue remotely viaproducts, whether it’s the Mac, iPad or iPhone. Our team secure internet link without the need for a site visit.has specialist knowledge and experience working with Appleproducts so we’re delighted this has been recognised and Apple, Mac, iPad, and iPhone are trademark of Apple Inc.we are very proud to have been selected by Apple as its in the United States and other countries
  15. 15. TheTiTanS areCominG Tuesday 24Th april, 6pm – laTe TiTanic suiTe, TiTanic BelfasT Hea r tech what que nolo the g stio gies loba ns a h ls nd t ave to hapers ake sh o in th are, g f Java e vi et t ews he and M iT events network from ir answ iddlew this ers ar Belfast, in conjunction icon to yo e ic v u enu r with BCS and our media e. partner Syncni, invites you to hear about the The FuTure oF Java Simon riTTer future of software Oracle cOrpOratiOn engineering at the home technOlOgy evangelist & Java rOck star of traditional Belfast engineering. Places are strictly limited and by reservation only. The FuTure oF middlewareTo book your place visit and dr mark liTTle register via the event link. Or contact Brightwater on ctO Of JBOss at redhat 02890 325 325 and quote IT Events Network April. We’re excited about this event and expect you will be too. See you there!
  16. 16. 16 c SYNCNI magazine SPRING 2012 Q>AMark W. Bennett,Director andGeneral Manager@ CME GroupQ A Mark W. Bennett > What is your company’s elevator < As a global company, we are Chicago Mercantile Exchange - Director and General pitch? constantly looking for top talent Manager around the world. We explored a largeA < CME Group is the world’s most diverse derivatives marketplacewhere businesses everywhere come number of locations and Northern Ireland was a very attractive fit for CME right from the beginning. The leapt to civilian world as a software project manager in 2001. I landed at CME in 2002 in a senior leadershipto manage risk. CME Group offers combination of talent and geography position driving our software processthe widest range of global benchmark creates a great opportunity to expand improvement efforts followed byproducts across all major asset classes, our operations and increase support for an interesting stint helping manageincluding futures and options based our customers across Europe, Asia, the our technology financials. For theon interest rates, equity indexes, Middle East, and Africa. past several years, I’ve lead CMEforeign exchange, energy, agricultural Group’s Front-End Developmentcommodities, metals, weather and realestate. We bring buyers and sellerstogether through our state-of-the-art Q > How did you personally get started in the industry? group responsible for engineering and supporting the company’s front-end trading applications.Globex® electronic trading platformand Clearing systems. These productsand services ensure that businesses A < I’m one of those individuals who has always been fascinated by everything related to science and Q > What is a typical ”day in the life” for you?around the world can substantially technology. I taught myself 8086mitigate counterparty credit risk in bothlisted and over-the-counter derivativesmarkets. Assembly Language at the age of 14 and have had my hands on a keyboard ever since. Graduating from A < Everyday is filled with new challenges and opportunities but the one consistent thing that fuels my the U.S. Air Force computer systems enjoyment of the job are the people weQetc) > What stage is your company at? (E.g. Startup/Clients/Staff Growth engineering course in 1987, I spent a decade supporting a variety of military computer system and eventually employ and great technology. I enjoy getting into the office each morning, enjoying a quick cup of coffee while I check in with our various teams to see how things are going and where I can help. I view one of my primary jobs as ensuring our employees and teams have everything they need to be successful, removing obstacles where needed, and allowing them to do what they do best – engineer quality solutions for our customers. Of course there’s also the motorized shark-blimp that I like to fly around the office from time to time.
  17. 17. SYNCNI magazine SPRING 2012 17 a means to communicate more information faster than ever before. The ability today to connect people and information scattered across the globe instantaneously is rapidly reshaping the way people work. I believe the growing adoption of mobile smart-devices and availability of high-speed wireless access is going to continue to accelerate these trends. Social media, crowd sourcing, and related concepts are going to become even more ingrained not only in our personal lives but also in the way we conduct business. Q > Finally, how would you rate the tech industry in NI right now? A < The deep talent pool and focus on technology related financial services are significant advantages in Northern Ireland relative to other areas. The partnership that exists between local business, academia, and the government has created an environment that is generating the types of employees and skillsets our industry demands – it’s why we’re here. As a global company, we are constantly looking for top talent around the world.Q > What is your (or your company’s) most innovative/exciting projectto date? front-end trading applications. Credit controls are one of the fundamental protections we provide to help ensure We explored a large market participants stay below certain number of locationsA < The very nature of our business demands that we areconstantly on the bleeding edge of thresholds of risk tolerance. These calculations involve extremely complex real-time calculations with high levels and Northern Ireland was a very attractivehigh-performance computing and of fault tolerance making it both a fit for CME right frominnovation. Some of our in-house challenging and exciting project for ourdeveloped technology is capable teams. the beginning.of querying billions of records andhandling thousands of customerorders every second. One of the veryinteresting projects that falls under Q > What trends in the industry really excite you?my area of responsibility is the pre-trade credit controls effort that is partof our EOS Trader and CME Direct A < It is an amazing time to be a technologist as the world continues to use technology as
  18. 18. 18 c SYNCNI magazine SPRING 2012Launch of anew softwaredevelopment eventJ anuary saw the launch of a new grassroots software second event on functional programming is already sold out, development event in Belfast called ‘Bash!’. and March’s event on software craftsmanship with Kevlin Organised by developers for developers, the idea Henney is close to capacity. behind Bash is to bring interesting, thought-provokingspeakers to the doorstep of a development community The organisers behind Bash have been delighted with theoften starved of access to the bigger names in the industry. turnout. It goes a long way to proving that Belfast has a vibrant and relevant software industry. Core to Bash’s ethos is an unapologetic focus on thethings that matter most to developers - that is, current For upcoming Bash events visit: and upcoming trends within the industry - but in anenvironment free of vendor voodoo and corporate identity. And the first event certainly got off to a flying start whenover 200 developers came down to hear Martin Thompson,a renowned expert in high-frequency trading systems talkabout how to program for performance. Bash organiserTara Simpson professed ”Reaction to and feedback fromMartin’s talk has been amazing, with many developersalready signed-up for the upcoming events”. Indeed theUpcoming Events 1 Inflammatory 3 Financing Options: 5 2012 HALO FundingProcesses & Cardiovascular Bootstrapping v Debt v EventsDisease Equity BY HALO FundingBY C-TRIC BY NISP Connect Frameworks When Tues, 20 Mar (18:00 - 21:00)When Thurs 10 May - Fri 11 May When Thurs, 15 Mar (12:00 - 14:00) When Thurs, 6 Apr (18:00 - 21:00)WHERE City Hotel, Derry/Londonderry, WHERE Room M2020, Magee Campus, When Thurs, 24 May (18:00 - 21:00)N.Ireland, UK Northland Road, Derry WHERE Northern Ireland Science Park, Belfast 2 The Roadmap to 4 6 The Titans are coming EffectiveExport Success BY ITE Events Network Belfast Presentation SkillsBY NI Chamber of Commerce When Tues, 24th April, (6pm – late)When Wed, 14 Mar (08:30 - 11:00) WHERE Titanic suite, Titanic Belfast BY ETTWHERE Lagan Valley Island Conference When Tues, 06 Mar (09:00 - 16:30)Centre, Lisburn WHERE Ballymena Business Centre
  19. 19. SYNCNI magazine SPRING 2012 19Technology M&A Deals- What to ExpectTrend and disclose information outsideL that team on a very strict need to ooking back over the last few know basis. Naturally if the target years at the M&A landscape has a large employee shareholder/ in Northern Ireland, a definite optionholder base they will need to trend has emerged in the be informed at some point prior totechnology sector. The buyer in a trade is most likely to be an overseascorporate, probably US based. In 2011 In one of my transactions, the USwe saw, Xilinx buy out Omiino for an purchaser insisted on every employeeundisclosed sum and Derry based shareholder providing a confidentialitySingularity acquired by Kofax for a undertaking to cover a short timetransaction value of $48 million. These gap between signing and completing Neasa Quigleycompanies are excellent examples the deal. With over 40 shareholders Partner @ Carson McDowellof the vibrant knowledge based some of whom no longer worked for Tel: 02890 34 8816economy here in Northern Ireland and the target or lived in Northern Ireland Email: Neasa.quigley@carson-an inspiration to many early stage this was a challenge especially as the mcdowell.cominnovation led technology companies. deal negotiations were still ongoing. Thankfully my clients were extremely Having worked on lots of M&A competent and project managed the depending on the performance oftechnology transactions, including the exercise seamlessly. the business in the period afterXilinx and Singularity transactions, completion. This second element isI have learned that while each Due Diligence what is known as an earn-out and thetransaction has its own dynamics and parties will spend some considerabledrivers there are some characteristics Be prepared for this to take over time negotiating detailed termswhich are common to many, which I your life for a while – US purchasers around this payment – such as whatwill highlight here. take it very seriously indeed. Expect to happens if a key employee leaves spend lots of time answering detailed during the earn-out period.Negotiations & questions about your businessConfidentiality (through your lawyers) and then be Legals prepared to have those answers When two businesses are in the dissected, analysed and cross- You need to factor in at least 6-8courtship phase of an M&A deal, examined. It tends not to be a lot of weeks from signing the heads ofkeeping the budding relationship fun and on the serious side takes you terms/shaking hands before the saleprivate is crucial. At this early stage, away from running your business. contract is signed. US purchasers tendthe parties will sign a Non-Disclosure The demand on your time should be to be very exacting so expect to spendAgreement to bind each other legally factored into any sale process. lots of time talking to your legal teamfrom spilling the beans. Managing during the due diligence and contractthe secrecy at an operational level is Earn-outs negotiation phase – sorry! It is wellalso key. Repeated visits from one worth choosing an advisory team whoparticular customer which are out Given the nature of a Technology are experienced in this type of workof norm will set tongues wagging. business where most of the assets - it may be the only time in your lifeThe deals which are most successful are intangible in nature, the purchase you undertake a transaction of suchat being kept confidential until price is almost invariably structured by importance - so you need to get itannouncement are those which way of a fixed amount on completion right first time.keep the negotiation team tight and an additional amount payable
  20. 20. 20 c SYNCNI magazine SPRING 2012C-TRIC Fast Tracks European Market Entryfor Nova BiomedicalC linical Translational Research and Innovation The study outcomes were presented recently at the Centre (C-TRIC), a clinical evaluation centre European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD). and healthcare innovation hub based at one of Northern Ireland’s largest acute hospital sites, is Dr Maurice O’Kane, C-TRIC Chief Executive said ”C-TRIC assisting Nova Biomedical, in the research and is specifically designed to assist bioscience industry todevelopment of state of the art monitoring technologies for clinically evaluate and improve their technologies. Novadiabetes and liver dysfunction. Biomedical have a strong reputation for quality and I am in no doubt that this study has enhanced their reputation.” C-TRIC undertook technical testing and a diabetic patientevaluation of Nova Biomedical’s Nova Max Plus self- Jeff DuBois, VP Medical & Scientific Affairs at Novamonitoring blood glucose meters (SMBG) which proved to be Biomedical said ‘Working in partnership with C-TRICmore accurate than other leading brand SMBG’s. has proved to be a hugely effective strategy in raising awareness of our SMBG products within the European Inaccurate glucose readings due to hematocrit (Hct) healthcare market.’interference, maltose interference or other factors canincrease the risk of inappropriate management of diabetes. Barry Henderson, Business Development Manager,Nova Max Plus was shown to be unaffected by Hct or non- C-TRIC concluded ‘We are working with a range of USglucose sugars, and provided the least total error of the based diagnostics companies to reduce the time and costsmeters tested. Nova Max Plus performed best versus widely associated with European market entry. Our work withrecognized International Standards Organization accuracy Nova Biomedical represents an excellent case study’.criteria (ISO 15197).Northgate Managed Services Achieves Cisco Master ManagedServices CertificationN ewtownabbey based Northgate Managed Services (Northgate) announced it has achieved the Cisco® Master Managed Services Certification recognising Northgate’s investment in the ITIL® processes, practices andtools necessary to provide high-quality managed services. Commenting on the certification, Andy Ross, ChiefExecutive, Northgate, said ”To be the first Irish basedcompany, and one of an elite number of companies acrossthe whole UK and Ireland, to hold this certification, is atremendous achievement. By attaining the highest level ofachievement for partners delivering Cisco technologies as amanaged solution, we not only strengthen our relationship that reflect a depth of capabilities, and undergone anwith Cisco but truly differentiate Northgate and enhance our independent audit by an objective third-party auditor.customer offering through state-of-the-art technologiesand services.” ”Northgate’s investment in the Cisco Master Managed Services Certification ranks it among an elite group of As a Cisco Master Managed Services Certified Partner, channel partners with the resources to deploy, manageNorthgate has demonstrated the ability to deliver and support services for multiple technologies,” said Edisonsophisticated solutions, met stringent requirements Peres, senior vice president of worldwide channels at Cisco.
  21. 21. SYNCNI magazine SPRING 2012 21Tibus: Super Speed Business Park is first in EuropeT ibus partnered with Weavers Court business weeks to provision such large capacity for an individual park to design, build and manage the first ever tenant, Tibus can have that tenant online and in business 10G business park. This was a ground-breaking literally within hours: something that is particularly 50:50 venture agreed in July 2011, delivered in important to small start-ups. Tenants can also request November and officially launched by the US short-term capacity increases for projects or definedConsol Kevin Roland, February 2012. periods, offering a degree of flexibility that is completely new to the market. Weavers Court is a campus-style business park situatedin the heart of Belfast. With some 45 tenants of different Each tenant engages with Tibus directly, selecting thebackgrounds and a high occupancy rate, the owners were type of Internet access best suited to their business need.keen to ensure that their excellent location and friendly Our connectivity allows each tenant to work with theirapproach remained relevant and competitive for the new partners and customers on a global basis, all from theirgeneration of businesses starting up and choosing to locate business in Weavers Northern Ireland. We’re proud to have been right at the centre of such an Tibus proposed that Weavers Court provide every single innovative technical and commercial development, not justtenant with a 10Gbp/s Internet connection. This Internet for Weavers Court, but for Northern Ireland.connection would allow ultra-fast connectivity to thegeneral Internet, but also allow connection to the Statesand Europe using Project Kelvin. Tibus engaged its partnerHibernia Atlantic to provide the physical link and contracteda local cabling company to install the fibre to and aroundthe business park. Every tenant can enjoy synchronous Internet connections,ranging from 10Mbp/s through to 10Gbp/s, all provisionedwithin 24 hours (normally within the hour of request).Where traditional telecoms providers might take 10-12Tascomi Launches innovative new cost saving software in CraigavonT ascomi has today launched an innovative new Theresa Donaldson, Chief Executive of Craigavon system with Craigavon Borough Council designed Borough Council, adds: ”Te-Store provides us with a to deliver web-based stock requisition and unique opportunity to integrate our financial, stores and ordering linked to the Council’s finance system. ordering processes. It has brought us significant savings in terms of staff time and is helping us to greatly reduce The Te-Store system, is bringing excellent time and our consumption of stock and reduce budgets. Te-substantial cost efficiency savings to the Council. The Mayor Store has been nominated for the “BEST SUSTAINABLEof Craigavon, Councilor Alan Carson comments: ”In these DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE 2011“ award at the forthcomingdays of reducing budgets and pressure on services, the NI Local Government Association conference. This isTascomi software allows Council to be more efficient and to testament to the enterprising hard work and vision ofsave money that can be better spent on front-line services Craigavon Borough Council staff and Tascomi Ltd”.for citizens. Working in close partnership with a localcompany of Tascomi’s expertise, Craigavon Borough Council ”Tascomi are proud to have worked jointly with Craigavonstaff have designed a system which can be a pioneering Borough Council to deliver this new system”, said Tascomimodel for other Councils, all striving to deliver efficiencies to Managing Director, Richard Martin, “Helping to deliverratepayers. This is all part of Council’s desire to continue to efficiencies and cost savings for Councils is what we are alldeliver the best quality of service we can to the citizens of about and we are delighted to see the benefits it is bringingCraigavon”. to Craigavon”.
  22. 22. 22 c SYNCNI magazine SPRING 2012Nick O’Shiel @ OmaghEnterprise- Job Creation in the New EconomyN ick O’ Shiel, Chief Executive, Omagh Enterprise Company, regularly writes on issues related to Enterprise Aboutand Innovation. In this article Nick Omagh Enterprisediscusses how many companiescontinue to create new jobs and findnew markets despite the current Omagh Enterprise Companyeconomic climate. was established in 1984 as In recent months, firms looking for the local enterprise agencyIT people, accountants, management for the Omagh District Councilconsultants, lawyers and social media area. The organisation is astaff have announced many hundreds not-for-profit company limitedof new jobs. by guarantee with a strong A key reason for the creation of jobs management team and ain these companies is their ability to voluntary board of directors,develop new products and services representative of the localand find overseas markets. business community. They provide the right products Nick O’Shiel Chief Executiveand skills at the right costs and are Omagh Enterprise Company The organisations aim is tofocussed on being creative, flexible promote enterprise and supportand outward looking. or demographically start-up, growth and innovative There is no doubt the job losses of -produce additional jobs in the businesses in the Omagh area,recent years have been significant and private sector while reducing the providing business premisesit will take a long time to get back to number of jobs in the public sector to let and Conference Centreprevious levels of employment. -benefit export focussed companies, Facilities. There are signs that some rather than those that sell to the For all enquiries contact:companies are increasing productivity, domestic or local marketsalbeit they need further sales growth -benefit women more than men Omagh Enterprise Companybefore recruiting new staff. given their focus on education and Limited When businesses are ready to hire the fact that the sectors worst hit are Great Northern Roadagain the skills required will reflect the traditionally male dominated Omagh, Co. Tyronedemands of the new economy. N. Ireland But the new economy will look and So, the new economy will continue BT78 5LUfeel very different to the old one. to create jobs but the type of jobs it It will: creates will pose challenges for us all. Tel: 028 8224 9494 -benefit those with higher levels What do you think? Are you ready Fax: 028 8224 9451of education, as the jobs created will for the new economy? Web: www.omaghenterprise.demand greater skills If you have any comments contact -benefit cities like Belfast, as it will Nick on 028 82 249494 or via Twitter Email: info@omaghenterprise.not be equally spread geographically @nick_oec.
  23. 23. MAKE YOUR COMPANYSTAND OUT FROM THE CROWD...Join the new look and avail of the following features:q Comprehensive company profileq Company case studiesq Key people profilesq Job Boardq Publicise your news stories and eventsq Reach out to an audience of thousands of local professionals To feature in the next edition of SyncNi magazine, contact us asap via or via telephone: 028 9082 0944
  24. 24. Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland giant & genius Belfast is Europe’s leading destination city for software development and technical support investment. You know Northern Ireland has an impressive We also offer competitive operating costs, an landscape, but did you know our ICT professionals advanced business infrastructure, and generous are even more impressive? financial assistance and support. Our people are highly-educated, hugely talented, To learn more about what makes Northern Ireland and proven to succeed. the smart choice, visit smart at work