LiveTiles’ Elaine Murphy on riding the wave of digital transformation and why more people should be looking west for talent.
Elaine Murphy is EMEA general manager at LiveTiles, which specialises in drag-and-drop technology so businesses can create bots, dashboards, portals or corporate intranets, with personalised AI and analytics features.
Now based in Sligo, Murphy has held multiple leadership roles in the tech space in recent years, including site lead at EA Games in Galway. She was included in the 2017 Women’s Leadership Forum at Harvard Business School and is on the board of the American Chamber of Commerce.
‘With some of our main cities overheating and hitting high occupancy rates, we are starting to see people look west’
– ELAINE MURPHY
Describe your role and what you do.
I’m the general manager for LiveTiles in EMEA. I’m responsible for leading our talented teams in the region (development, marketing, sales and IT), nurturing our EMEA customers and driving business development.
I also represent LiveTiles on external boards such as the American Chamber of Commerce, which has garnered a great reputation for advocating on behalf of American companies in Ireland and the Sligo-Leitrim ICT cluster, which promotes working and studying in our region, and aims to enhance collaboration between industry and the local education and training bodies.
How do you prioritise and organise your working life?
I prioritise the team; I focus on enabling team members, removing any barriers hindering them and facilitating growth opportunities for them. I also aim to make myself available and treat listening to understand as a priority.
I always have a ‘to-do’ list that I regularly reprioritise. It’s pointless having a long list of tasks to do for the day if you miss the real priorities by not aligning them with company’s objectives. LiveTiles is in a hyper-growth stage, so demand for my attention is high and trying to be on top of everything just isn’t going to happen. I’m honest with the team about when priorities are shifting that will impact them, as well as where my key focuses lie and the impact it has strategically if I spend a lot of time in the weeds.
What are the biggest challenges facing your sector and how are you tackling them?
A challenge that I have placed quite a bit of focus on is getting the word out about Sligo and the north-west as a place where the right talent can do some of their best work with some amazing companies. I refer to both nationals and non-nationals who have never visited the north-west or maybe see Dublin as the only show in town. With some of our main cities overheating and hitting high occupancy rates, we are starting to see people look west, but there is still much work for all of us to do to ensure the north-west is seen as an attractive option – not just for a fantastic quality of life (no commute!) but also for the opportunity to work in cutting-edge tech without having to pay exorbitant rents.
Much of our market is in the UK and we are beginning to see nervousness around Brexit as an emerging challenge. Many of our prospective public sector clients in the UK, for instance, are holding off on taking any procurement decisions due to the uncertainty created by Brexit. It remains to be seen how this will evolve as a real business risk, but I am spending more time Brexit-watching than I had planned for!
Another major challenge is to attract female talent. ICT and tech as a choice for work or study is worryingly undersubscribed by women. We really need to find ways to achieve greater representation, inclusion and equality in the tech sector but, to be honest, we are all failing at this right now … I’m using public platforms to talk about the issue, opening LiveTiles up to school visits, offering work placements to showcase that tech is all-encompassing and not necessarily all about coding, and that women like me – who didn’t enter via a traditional route with a tech qualification – can be successful and have a rewarding career.
What are the key sector opportunities you’re capitalising on?
We are all riding the wave of digital transformation, which is an incredibly exciting time for our industry. Digital transformation is possible because of new technologies such as the internet of things and artificial intelligence, but ultimately it is about people. Our suite of cobots (collaborative chatbots) will work 24/7 on time-consuming tasks, empowering employees to be more creative and collaborative, as well as making more time for human connections.
Work doesn’t need to suck. Work is a pivotal part of all our identities, and at LiveTiles we have a passion to make work wonderful and use tech in a way that enables us to focus on the most productive aspects of our work, and to make better use of our precious time so we can live life to the fullest.
What set you on the road to where you are now?
I attained a bachelor’s and master’s degree in business studies from the National University of Ireland Galway and the Institute of Technology Sligo, respectively.
I made plenty of lateral and horizontal moves over the years, despite not necessarily possessing all the answers or having the specific experience. I focused on enabling the teams for success, challenging the status quo and encouraging teams to embrace technology that would reduce mundane tasks. My experience across multiple disciplines in spearheading many culture-related initiatives and my interest in the future of technology led me to this exciting and enjoyable role I am in today with LiveTiles.
What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?
Early on in my career, I didn’t invest the time to understand my value prop and the type of businesses and leaders that I wanted to work with. In the early days, I sought mentorship from my bosses and, while it’s a natural person to turn to, your boss can often not be the best mentor and I found that it sometimes complicated the working relationship. I quickly learned that I was good at cultivating relationships with a wide variety of people across the business, and I developed mentoring criteria and asked different people to mentor me in different areas, and that yielded far better results for me. My advice is to explore your options and look all around the organisational structure. Your mentors don’t have to be senior to you.
How do you get the best out of your team?
I listen to understand, I applaud behaviours and performance, and I promote the fact that feedback is a gift – and I give it and seek it regularly. I set expectations and success criteria on any projects outside the day-to-day tasks, and I ensure that the environment is an open and forward-thinking one and that we talk about challenges along the way. I champion that we should always try new things to remain effective and relevant, so I build a culture that enables creativity and experimentation and where failure is not feared. I view fast failure as a natural consequence of developing for the future with a growth mindset.
‘Work doesn’t need to suck’
– ELAINE MURPHY
I recognise that having noses to the grindstone all day, every day, is unhealthy and can breed negativity, so I ensure we have lots of fun, too. We even have a team member that has responsibilities under a ‘chief fun officer’ role. We regularly enjoy team-building activities and we take the time to get to know each other so that that work at LiveTiles is enjoyable.
STEM sectors receive a lot of criticism for a lack of diversity in terms of gender, ethnicity and other demographics. Have you noticed a diversity problem in your sector? What are your thoughts on this and what’s needed to be more inclusive?
The criticism is deserved, and I believe we need to collectively tackle this issue as a matter of urgency. The challenge is well known but the diagnosis and solutions are less straightforward. This needs a multistakeholder approach including students, parents, teachers, universities, education agencies and, of course, industry.
In our own case we have a very disproportionate gender balance, which we are very aware of, but we receive very few qualified female applicants. In some instances, we received zero female applicants, which means in the short term our hands are tied. Here in the north-west we have teamed up with schools, higher-level institutes and local tech companies to spread awareness and to promote tech as a rewarding career for girls and women. We aim to succeed in this, but results will not happen overnight.
Who is your role model and why?
This is a tough one – I really don’t have one individual. I enjoy reading about women who didn’t take a traditional route into the tech world but have risen to be hugely influential and have leveraged their influence in tech to help others. I also enjoy reading about unsung heroes such as Carol Shaw, who is behind some of the best graphics in retro video games. She is considered the first female video game designer and programmer, and was with Atari in the early days.
I enjoy being around problem-solvers and I’m fascinated with how decisions get derailed, how people deal with failure and how women overcome adversity in male-dominated industries. For anyone that hasn’t read or heard about Stephanie (aka Steve) Shirley, her story is inspiring. She took lots of risks in her career and has helped pave the way for others by breaking through the glass ceiling that limits women’s career growth, and she never gave up despite many setbacks and difficulties.
What books have you read that you would recommend?
I’m veering more and more towards articles and podcasts than books recently, and that’s because of time constraints and wanting to get to the end in a timely manner! A book that I refer back to and have reread recently is Originals by Adam Grant. It’s full of interesting studies and stories spanning multiple industries including sports, politics and entertainment. It provides tips from diverse topics around parents and teachers and how they can nurture originality in children, to how leaders can fight groupthink to build cultures that welcome dissent. I find it satisfying to read triumphs around the rejection of conformity and improving the status quo.
What are the essential tools and resources that get you through the working week?
We use a mixed environment of tools here. Some of us are using Surface Books, others are using Macs. LiveTiles is heavily invested in the Office 365 suite, so we are heavy users of Microsoft Cloud services, and we use Teams and Yammer for communication. All of these have great mobile versions, which is crucial.
Our intranet pulls all the internal comms and resources together seamlessly and is a critical platform for collaboration across our organisation. For this, we walk the talk and use our flagship product, which is LiveTiles Designer, with multiple add-on tiles and chatbot integrations. Git is our source control. And Spotify provides the playlist!
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33rd South Sligo Summer School
The 33rd South Sligo Summer School of Traditional Music, Song and Dance will take place this year from Sunday 14th to Saturday 20th July. Enquiries and bookings are coming in from near and far and are well up on last year at this stage. A number of intending visitors and summer school participants have been in touch with the committee members to say that they are finding it difficult to find accommodation and so we appeal to people in Tubbercurry and the surrounding area to consider making rooms available for summer school participants. Single rooms are especially in demand as well as double and family rooms/houses. An accommodation list is made available to summer school participants and visitors to Tubbercurry for the week on our website www.sssschool.org, and if you wish to add your available accommodation to this list please get in touch with Nuala at the Tourist Office on Humbert Street as soon as possible. Alternatively, ring 087-0936616, 071-9120912 or 087-9556468 and we will put you in touch with individuals/couples/families seeking accommodation.
Drimina N.S. will be having a 5 KM Run/Walk on Sunday 23rd June. Registration 10am – 11.30 race at 12 sharp. Entrance fee €20 for a family, €10 for adults and €5 for under 18s. Refreshments served in the school hall afterwards.
MOYLOUGH 1997 A DVD rolling back the year 1997 in Moylough is now on sale for €15 in Surlis’s Supervalu, K & B Hardware and from Tom Walsh at 0872276628.
Proceeds are in aid of Aine Durkin’s volunteer work in Kisuzi Hospital in Uganda.
Past pupils of Moylough school who left in June 1997 and those who started school in September 1997 are featured along with excerpts from the Christmas Concert and Santa visiting the school
Tubbercurry Active Retirement Group
The usual Tuesday meetings and exercise activities continue for June and our Book Club choice of reading for this month is ‘Tangleweed And Brine’ by Deirdre Sullivan. Our thanks are due to the local branch of the County Library for providing these books for us each month.
Tubber Masters Society Annual Golf Outing to Enniscrone Golf Club – Monday the 12th August 2019
One of the Oldest Golf Societies operating in Connacht continues its Annual Golf Outing to Enniscrone Golf Club on Monday the 12th August 2019.
The Tubbercurry Golf Outing to Enniscrone has been in existence for well over 40 years and traditionally has always played on the second Monday in August at Enniscrone Golf Club. For 35 years of its long existence the Outing was sponsored by The Gillespie Family of Tubbercurry and many great days were had by The Society with many a story to be told. The Gillespie Cup was formally retired in August 2017 but The Society Outing continues under its new brand name of The Tubber Masters Society. Last year’s event was as popular as ever with a large turnout of Golfers attending The Annual Outing in Ennisrone. While the Society is intrinsically linked to Tubbercurry Golf Club and all Members of The Society the Outing is open to anyone who has a connection with Tubbercurry or its environs. The day is a huge social occasion where people from the locality can renew old acquaintances and make new friends. You should pencil this date in your diary and the time sheet will be operated once again by John Gillespie who has done trogon work over the years for the Society. John’s contact numbers are 071 91 85051 and 087 2885980 and you can contact him to get your place on the time sheet. Looking forward to seeing all our old friends and hopefully new friends on the second Monday in August in Enniscrone.
Community Mill Café, Cloonacool
All profits from the Mill Cafe, Cloonacool, taken on Saturday June 22nd will be donated to Irish Motor Neuron Disease Association. Another good reason to come and enjoy the new community Cafe. Please support.
Kempton Male Voice Choir
The Kempton male voice choir from the Diocese of Augsburg Germany will perform in St Patricks Church Moylough on Friday 28th June starting at 7pm. It is hoped that a large congregation will turn up to greet the visiting singers as this is a major honour for the community. Tickets cost €10 and will go on sale and can be booked by contacting 0868806482. Light refreshments will be served in Moylough Arts and Heritage Centre afterwards. This event will be part funded by the community and voluntary grant scheme funded by Sligo Co. Co and proceeds will be donated to nominated charities.
NORTH WEST SIMON – Dip at Dawn
Dip at Dawn in aid of NW Simon Community on Fri 21st June at 5.00am at Rosses Point beside Sligo Yacht Club. Registration €20 online at Eventbrite/ Dip at Dawn or contact 087 7708865. There will be a short Yoga session to start, then the Dip led by Sligo Rose of Tralee Julie Patterson followed by tea/coffee at Yacht club – this is a Dip Not a swim – Sign up today.
Labhair Gaeilge Linn
A local group plan to meet every Wednesday at 11am for Irish Conversation over “Cupán Tae” in Killoran’s, Tubbercurry. No great proficiency in Irish required. Just a fun morning for anyone interested in keeping our Heritage alive.
Tubbercurry Family Resource Centre
Mother Baby Group
The mother baby group meets in the FRC every Wednesday from 10.30am. The group is informal and mums come for a chat and a cuppa. On occasion activities take place or guest speakers are invited to talk to the group on topics of interest. A warm welcome awaits.
Tubbercurry Card Game
Single Hand 25 card game takes place in St. Brigid’s Hall, Tubbercurry every Sunday night at 8.30pm. All are welcome.
Banada Abbey Bingo
Massive €1,800 guaranteed payout every Tuesday night at Banada Abbey Bingo starting at 8.30pm sharp. Jackpot, €1,100 + on 45 calls or less. All lines €20 and €260 payout on Flier sheet. 50:50 draw and lots of Lucky Number Games.
North West Hospice
North West Hospice would like to thank all the volunteers who gave their time and energy throughout Sligo, Leitrim and Bundoran for our annual Sunflower Days. A massive thank you also to everybody who donated so generously to our collections on our Sunflower Days, which took place from 6th-8th June. All funds raised during Sunflower Days are used to run the much needed service. North West Hospice appreciates your continued support.
Tubbercurry Dance Class on Sligo Rd. Why not join our class Wednesday nights from 8pm. Class for beginners- improvers, learn new steps or practice your dancing, and a brilliant way to exercise. Slow Waltz, Waltz Foxtrot, Quickstep and more. For more information contact. 087-6674561.
Correspondent: Roger McCarrick – email@example.com
Some of the participants at the Grow remote conference
It is entirely appropriate that the “Smart Community Initiative” was launched in Tubbercurry on Friday, 18th January, 2019 as it was in this small town that “Smart Economics” were made manifest in this country with the formation of The Tool and Gauge Company of Ireland Limited, in 1956. “Smart Economics” are underpinned by “Smart Technology” and nowhere in Industry is technology smarter than in “Precision Toolmaking” where the equipment and machinery to produce everything in quantity is designed and manufactured. A century ago, Henry Ford described “toolmakers” as the “Aristocrats” of Engineering while Steve Jobs, when asked how he would like to be remembered, expressed the hope that he would be regarded as a good “Toolmaker” to the world.
Since the first tools of wood and stone were made, human progress has been defined by the quality, durability and “smartness” of the tools available at the time. The Industrial Revolution massively improved tooling and output which facilitated an eightfold increase of human population coupled with enormous enhancement of living conditions. Over the last three decades, Computerization has lifted Technology and Precision Toolmaking” to unprecedented levels of excellence and performance, which are proudly embraced and perfected by native and international industry all over the country.
Increases in excellence and output have been enormous; so enormous that many conditions and balances which propelled growth economics through two centuries of Industrial revolution have been made redundant and reversed. These achievements have brought about the greatest and best time ever experienced by the human race. It is becoming apparent however, that failure to fully embrace and adapt to an entirely unprecedented era of “sufficiency” and reduced workload, is causing widespread uncertainty and insecurity for many who fear abandonment by the technological age. Such fear is at the heart of Brexit and increasing movement towards extreme politics all over the world.
Fifty-three years ago, Tubbercurry enthusiastically embraced “Smart Economics” of that time. It would be appropriate and very worthwhile if the newly instituted “Smart Community Initiative” could provide a similar reception for “Smart Economics” of the present. Sadly, such has not been the Global experience to date. It is no longer smart for Economists, politicians, media and communities to think that old remedies will cure newly arrived problems. Initiatives to improve education, entice investment, create new jobs and regular Government windfalls to sustain local enterprise, while very welcome in the immediate term, are in no way adequate to counter the enormous changes generated by modern technology.
Embracing new technologies successfully will require complete rethinking of economic ideology. The old rules no longer apply. How can growth economics serve a technological world that increasingly produces too much; thereby creating enormous difficulties for commerce and trade? How can employment, with all its benefits, entitlements and security, be sustained despite technology continually reducing reliance on human labour? How can confidence of prolonged income, through secure commercial activity and employment, be restored in a world that no longer guarantees either? How can masses be reassured that modern technology is not going to abandon them; and consign their futures to dependency, deprivation and despair? These are extraordinarily difficult questions that very few in positions of authority want to acknowledge. But they are questions that must be asked; they must be investigated, debated and answered adequately and quickly. Otherwise the horrific vista of the most successful smartest technology ever devised, destroying innumerable communities could become a reality.
The greatest service Tubbercurry, with its new status and “Smart Economy” experience, could perform for the local community, for the national community and indeed for the global community, is to initiate a debate which starts the process of formulating an economic ideology which will get the very best out of the most successful technology ever devised. Since the dawn of history, economic ideology, from its simplest to its most complex, had had to cope with and manage technologies which were never capable of producing enough. The world now need an ideology capable of coping with and managing technology that generates more than can be consumed. Where better could serious and sustained quest for satisfactory answers to the problems of success begin; other than in the birthplace of smart economies in Ireland. A community capable of doing such a service, could truly be called “really smart”.
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