Five minutes with Dermot McCann

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This article appeared in the July issue of CRN magazine.

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Five minutes with Dermot McCann

Tell us about your current role and how long you’ve held this job? How many people report to you?

I’ve been the managing director for Kaseya Australia and New Zealand for 18 months now, starting in February 2011. Time is flying by, with both businesses growing significantly over the past 12 months. It has been a very exciting time leading the innovation in the IT automation space. We have 40 people in the team across the A/NZ region which includes our customer support and development teams in our Auckland office.

How did you get started in IT? 

It was by accident really. I had decided to leave Ireland to study dentistry in Manchester in 1994, but had a moment of clarity during a summer working and travelling through Europe, that IT was going to start to boom, and it did.

So I ended up taking computer science at Brighton University in the UK. Everything just snowballed from there, the timing was right and I was fortunate to get involved with some great companies, projects and roles along the way including Eurotunnel, American Express, Logicalis, IBM and, ultimately, Kaseya.

What’s the most challenging thing facing you professionally at the moment? 

You can’t take your eyes of your business for a minute so the sheer demands on my time and priorities are something that I have to manage very carefully. Building a business, a team and culture in any organisation requires a lot of attention and it all (and always) comes down to people. 

What have you learned about being a leader? 

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work” (Thomas Edison). I’ve heard it said it’s a lonely pursuit. The most important thing is it doesn’t have to be if you can surround yourself with a great team and peers. Management would be easy if we didn’t have to worry about the people but the people and the team are the most critical aspect of any business large or small, and I’ve seen both.

What’s your best win and your worst error? 

I once convinced this beautiful girl to marry me; it was one of the best sales jobs and deals I’ve closed. It was a very long sales cycle, there were multiple stakeholders and the decision maker was a real challenge. We’ve now got three beautiful children and beyond anything else I know that’s my legacy and will be a long-lasting achievement that gives me more joy than any of the mega deals or business ventures I’ve been involved with.

In terms of errors, not getting into property earlier is something that sometimes frustrates me. I do try not to have “if only” moments but “if only” I had bought that two-bedroom apartment in Manly for $350,000 13 years ago.

How do you relax?

Part of the reason for living in Australia is the great lifestyle we have and I try to make the most of every hour outside of the office either surfing, keeping fit or hanging out with my family and friends.

Married? Kids?

I’m still on my first wife and we’ve got two boys and a princess.

What technology/gadgets/apps wouldn’t you be without?

Kaseya! I’ve got agents deployed on my parents’ computers in Ireland. It saves me so much time and difficult tech support calls. I don’t need to worry about patching, antivirus or accessing printers it just does it all for them. I think they’re impressed with that.

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