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Archive for August, 2009

Twittering threat to job agencies

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Sunday Business Post – Recruitment – Aug 30 2009

Read the article on the Sunday Business Post website by clicking here.

The use of social network ing websites by professionals is driving fund a mental changes in the Irish recruitment industry, according to Declan Fitzgerald, global sourcing manager with Microsoft.

‘‘The Irish recruitment industry is in a state of huge change at the moment, and social media and the internet are driving a lot of this change,” said Fitzgerald. ‘‘We are seeing the arrival of the ‘internet recruiter’ who knows how to deploy a variety of different technologies, tools and techniques to source particular candidates. The smart recruiters now understand how to harness these technologies.”

Ronan Colleran, managing director of Accreate Executive Search & Interim, said the recession was prompting recruiters in Ireland to use social networking sites to save time and money.

‘‘The rate of increased awareness of the potential of social networking amongst the Irish recruitment community has been significant over the past six months in particular,” said Colleran. ‘‘With the downturn in the economy, people have started thinking of fresh ways to approach their work; maybe they are working a little harder than in a buoyant employment market.”

The sheer number of people using social networking websites is an obvious draw for recruiters. LinkedIn has more than 44 million members in over 200 countries. The number of Irish users signed up to Facebook has more than doubled to over 900,000 since the start of the year, and Twitter is also fast gaining ground among business users.

‘‘It started very much with younger people exploring these social networks, but the vast majority of people joining Twitter and Facebook in the last six months are over 35,” said Fitzgerald. ‘‘There is quite a large number of directors and chief executives at large multinationals with a presence on these sites. They may not be active users, but they are there.”

Fitzgerald, who runs his own LinkedIn recruitment group and blog, said Microsoft was among the first companies in Ireland to use social networking for recruitment purposes.

‘‘We’ve been using LinkedIn successfully for three years to recruit, and now have hundreds of recruiters using it,” he said. ‘‘I run two-day training courses internally, where we teach people how to use LinkedIn, Facebook and the internet generally, to search for company information, see conversations that people are having, and thereby approach them using various communication techniques.”

In February, LinkedIn launched its Talent Advantage suite of solutions, allowing recruiters to actively target candidates on the site.

‘‘LinkedIn’s recruiter product allows you to send mass emails to LinkedIn profiles, which is an excellent way for you to send out your job description and get people’s attention,” said Fitzgerald. ‘‘You can expand your network, and get access to their millions of users. You are also able to send more mails and contact more people.”

Microsoft has used social networking to find overseas candidates with niche skills.

‘‘We were hiring people for our malware engineering virus response team in the last year. We looked in the Irish market and there were very few people with that specialisation,” said Fitzgerald. ‘‘Using LinkedIn, we were able to type in certain keywords or technologies and find profiles of engineers around the world with the right experience. We then targeted two countries in particular – Romania and Finland – and contacted candidates to see if they were interested. There were no agency fees, very little costs involved, and it was very quick.”

Accreate has also used LinkedIn to find high-level candidates with specialised skills.

‘‘We used social networking to source a candidate who was based in Korea for a European client with operations in Ireland. This required a specific and specialised skillset in the financial services area,” said Colleran. ‘‘Given the locations involved, it would have been difficult to source this particular candidate without using social recruiting as part of our research process.”

Despite these advantages, the sheer size of the social networking ‘net’ can sometimes create as many problems as it solves for recruiters.

‘‘The sites increase the reach for research teams but they do not lessen the workload,” said Colleran. ‘‘As more candidates sign up, more sifting needs to be done to ensure the most relevant candidates are sourced for a given role.”

Communications consultant Damien Mulley advised recruiters to use professional networking sites carefully, and with long-term goals in mind.

‘‘Some recruiters are playing the short game and putting a wide spread in their sights and targeting everyone, as it is easy to do digitally. These networks offer the opportunity to build a relationship over a period of months and even years,” said Mulley. ‘‘It would be great if you only get approached by a recruiter when the ideal position pops up – a bit like an art dealer that knows what you like and only contacts you when they have something they know you will like and they know they can sell.”

Mulley believes that social networking poses a serious threat to the traditional industry, as it offers a cheaper and easy-to-use alternative to employers.

‘‘I think we will see more people Twitter, blog and Facebook about new jobs in their company and those ads spreading through networks of friends and trusted sources,” he said.

As work practices become more flexible and dispersed, Mulley said social networking could play a central role in complex recruitment and human resource processes.

‘‘I think recruiters and employers might become hubs of hiring activity, connectors of talent and facilitators of information, he said. ‘‘With a workforce that is going to move away from nine-to-five work and not working in the office, it will be up to HR and employers to keep these different networks of people working well.”

Colleran advised recruitment companies to make sure their own staff had the skills to make the best possible use of social networking sites.

‘‘As the popularity of social recruiting grows, there will be an increased onus on individual consultants and researchers to embrace the sites. As some are more web savvy than others, in-house training could be used to address any issues in this regard,” he said.

Colleran said that recruiters who failed to adapt to the trend risked falling behind in an industry facing unprecedented change.

‘‘If firms do not adapt towards using these tools, they will be left behind. Social networking sites are free and, since candidates are embracing this new phenomenon, so too must recruiters,” he said.

Online tools should be used in conjunction with established recruitment practices, Colleran said.

‘‘Companies run the risk of not hiring the best candidate if they rely only on information gleaned from the web. It is important to bear in mind that not all candidates have a presence online. Traditional methods, which have served us well over the years, should not be discarded,” he said.

Written by dermot

August 31st, 2009 at 2:05 pm

Posted in Business,Technology

Ireland confident in testing times

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Sunday Business Post – Business of Sport – Aug 23 2009

Read the article on the Sunday Business Post website by clicking here.


Everyone involved with the Irish cricket team is looking forward to taking on England in a one-day cricket international in Belfast on Thursday, according to the chairman of cricket for Cricket Ireland.

‘‘The England fixture is a massive event for everybody connected with Cricket Ireland,” said Joe Doherty.

‘‘As a one-off fixture, it would always be the showpiece of any year, but it is not just a meaningless friendly against one of the ‘big’ nations. It is a full ranking ODI (one-day international) that carries global ranking points for both countries and also serves as a benchmark for our own progress,” he said.

The match, sponsored by RSA Insurance, was the only chance to see top-level international cricket in Ireland this year, he said. It will be England’s first game after the final Test of the current Ashes series with Australia.

‘‘Tickets are selling strongly, and we expect the Stormont ground to be packed on the day,” he said. ‘‘The fixture is also attracting strong interest from groups making block bookings for corporate, club and social entertainment in the marquees.”

The game will be the third one-day international in three years between the two nations.

Although England have won both games so far, including a meeting during the 2007World Cup in Guyana, Ireland were not outclassed on either occasion. Given the timing this time around, they will fancy their chances of an upset on Thursday.

Ireland will have a full strength team to call on, including captain William Porterfield and England-based players Niall O’Brien and Boyd Rankin.

‘‘The coach and selectors have a full complement of players available,” said Doherty. ‘‘All our players are looking forward to another joust against the English.”

The Irish team is also involved in the Intercontinental Cup – the main competition for second tier cricketing nations.

‘‘We are proud holders of the trophy won in South Africa last winter, and have now won it on three successive occasions,” said Doherty. ‘‘It is a benchmark trophy for International Cricket Council [ICC] purposes, and an indicator of the ‘best of the rest’ outside the Test cricketing family. So far this year, we have had the better of a rain-affected draw against Kenya in July and performed well again against Scotland this week.”

Barring a win against England on Thursday, the highlight of the year for Irish cricket will remain June’s world T20 tournament in London, where Ireland beat Bangladesh to make the Super 8 stage.

Doherty said a successful qualification for next year’s World Cup, which will be held in the West Indies in April, was now expected of the Irish team.

‘‘We are determined to qualify again, and we will have all our top players available,” he said. ‘‘We are in no way complacent though, as aT20match can hinge on one good performance from one player on either side. Our T20 skills are being honed all the time and we hope to have the players at peak performance level, mentally and physically, come February’s qualifying tournament in the UAE.”

Off the field, the major development at Cricket Ireland this summer has been the recruitment of Mark Garaway as the sport’s new director of cricket operations, a position funded by the ICC to improve the standard and profile of cricket in Ireland.

‘‘Although only 35,Mark is vastly experienced at playing, coaching, analysis and cricket administration,” said Doherty. ‘‘In the England camp, he was responsible for providing specialist technical support to successive coaches, including Duncan Fletcher and Andy Flower.

‘‘We are confident that, as well as improving participation, development and coaching throughout Ireland, he will be a precious asset to coach Phil Simmons and the playing staff. We are excited about him coming on board.”

Garaway’s brief will include preparing Ireland for possible elevation to the ranks of full Test-playing cricket nations, said Doherty.

‘‘Test cricket is not feasible in Ireland in the short term due to logistical considerations, such as stadia, quality of pitches, core support for the game and working capital,” he said. ‘‘In the medium term, however, many of these issues could be addressed. The future structure of Test cricket is by no means set in stone.

‘‘Our medium-term goal is to be ranked in the world’s top eight by 2015,up from our position of tenth,” said Doherty. ‘‘Our strategic plans reflect the steps necessary to achieve that goal and we are undergoing a review of our domestic game to get the basics right.

‘‘Next year we will host Australia in another ODI, and we have negotiated an arrangement to alternate visits from the ‘big two’ from now on. Mark Garaway is joining us at the perfect time.”

He added that the rising profile of the Irish cricket team, especially since the World Cup in the West Indies in 2007, had led to an increase in the numbers playing the game.

‘‘Participation levels have definitely increased since 2007, and organised cricket is being played again in parts of Ireland where it had never been formally played or where it had lain dormant for more than a century,” he said.

‘‘We are currently providing development support to groups in counties Roscommon and Sligo and in the city of Derry, for example, where cricket had been in decline since the outbreak of the Troubles. We need to expand the core base of participation and active interest to give us a chance of recurring success at international level, competing, as we do, against countries with vast cricketing populations.”

Attaining test status would help to halt the steady flow of Irish-born players, such as Ed Joyce and Eoin Morgan (who is in the England squad for this week’s match) to other countries, said Doherty.

‘‘In the short term, the loss of players like Ed and Eoin will continue to be a challenge, but we respect our young cricketers’ healthy ambitions. For those two, England was the only Test show in town,” he said. ‘‘Until and unless we can offer meaningful Test or ‘new Test’ status to our players, that anomaly will continue to exist and frustrate us.”

Written by dermot

August 31st, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Posted in Sport

No break for travel industry

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Sunday Business Post – Recruitment – Aug 23 2009

Read the article on the Sunday Business Post website by
clicking here.

A spate of redundancy announcements has rocked the Irish travel industry over the summer months, traditionally the busiest period for holiday-makers at home and visitors from overseas.

Last week, Sunway Holidays announced plans to close three outlets in Dublin, with the loss of nine jobs. The move followed 95 job losses at Budget Travel, which announced that it was to close 14 of its 31 Irish outlets earlier this month. The high-profile staff protests that followed Thomas Cook’s move to halt Irish operations, with 77 redundancies, pointed to wider unrest in a sector hit hard by the fall in consumer spending.

The numbers employed in the travel business have fallen significantly in the last year, according to Simon Nugent, chief executive of the Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA).

‘‘The pattern this year has been about companies shedding staff, not recruiting,” said Nugent. ‘‘While the leisure travel side has dropped away a bit, the corporate travel side has dropped significantly. I would say pretty much all ITAA member firms have reduced their staff since last autumn.”

Falling employment According to the most recent available CSO figures, overseas visits to Ireland fell by 114,000, or 15 per cent, in June compared to the same month last year. Eamonn McKeon, chief executive of the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation, said further job losses were inevitable.

‘‘We reckon that, overall, jobs in the travel and tourism industry fell by about 10 per cent last year from a peak of 310,000,” he said. ‘‘Our ‘guesstimate’ is that it will reach about 250,000 this year, based on what we hear from our members. I am not aware of any sector of the travel or tourism industry, with the possible exception of family-run B&Bs or farmhouses, which has not had to let people go. The numbers are down everywhere, from hotels and restaurants to cruising companies and car rental firms.

‘‘The Dublin Airport Authority has been talking about rationalisation, as have the airlines. Every sector either has let staff go or did not take on the additional summer staff they would normally have taken on.”

Valerie Sorohan, marketing manager of Jobs.ie, said there had been a noticeable drop in the number of travel and tourism positions advertised online this year.

‘‘Jobs.ie has five different categories of travel and tourism jobs: chef jobs, hotels, pubs, bars and clubs, restaurants and catering, and travel and tourism,” said Sorohan. ‘‘This year, the number of jobs posted has decreased across all five categories by 50 to 70 per cent year-on-year.”

Study and training

Nugent said the shortfall in available positions had prompted candidates in the sector to consider new training and study options. Overseen by the ITAA, the Travel Professionals Skillnet has introduced several new courses this year, including a DIT-accredited Travel Professionals Higher Certificate and shorter training programmes focused on specific aspects of the travel business.

‘‘The Skillnet has been extremely important, as it allows us to improve staff skills and help travel companies put their best foot forward,” said Nugent. ‘‘Consumers have become more demanding, and people working in our sector now need an encyclopaedic knowledge of routes and destinations, the legalities and complexities of travel, visas and passports and insurance issues.”

McKeon said upskilling was a viable route for candidates unable to secure work in the sector.

‘‘There are lots of terrific courses available from Fás, and more directly tourism-related ones from Fáilte Ireland,” he said. ‘‘Some are distance learning, some are six weeks, others six months. There is something there for every skill. In all jobs, even craft-based professions, there is always a further level you can go to.

‘‘Courses that teach supervisor’s skills are a relatively attractive option for people. It is hoped that they can come away with a better CV and, when normal times return, they should be more employable and able to command a higher salary.”

Related sectors

Sorohan urged candidates to consider looking for work in a new or related sector or profession.

‘‘In these sectors, customer service is of huge importance, and people can perhaps transfer their skills Individuals could look at customer service jobs, waiting staff positions or others,” she said.

Nugent said other consumerfocused sectors, such as retailing or marketing, could offer employment opportunities to individuals with a professional background in travel or tourism.

‘‘To work in a travel environment, you have to be an extremely good ‘people person’ with a broad range of knowledge,” he said. ‘‘Having worked in the travel sector is very good training for any customerfacing role.”

Nugent said many of the candidates who have lost their jobs as a result of the downturn in travel and tourism were relatively recent arrivals to the country.

‘‘In 2006 and 2007, our members found it more or less impossible to recruit the staff they needed here,” he said. ‘‘They found very talented travel agency staff abroad, and lots of people had good experiences employing them. There is certainly then some mobility in the sector.”

Sorohan said the number of candidates applying for positions posted on Jobs.ie had fallen.

‘‘This January, employers could have expected to receive 66 applications, but in June this year that went down slightly to 45,” she said. ‘‘That would suggest that non-Irish workers unable to find a job in these industries this year have moved to seek employment elsewhere.”

Protecting jobs

Nugent said employers in the sector were keen to protect as many jobs as possible.

‘‘Companies have negotiated reductions in salaries and different part-time or other working arrangements with their staff,” he said. ‘‘Staff are entirely aware of the realities of the sector and have been quite understanding.”

Staff unhappy with the redundancy terms offered by Thomas Cook, following the closure of its Irish branches, with 77 redundancies earlier this month, staged a high-profile sit-in at the company’s Grafton Street branch.

However, Nugent said most redundancies in the sector were proving less contentious.

‘‘We provide a legal advisory service for our members that covers employment law and personnel management and doing right by your staff,” he said. ‘‘It is a difficult area, but in most cases things tend not to become confrontational.”

Further redundancies
McKeon said that, with no end to the downturn in sight, employers in the travel and tourism sector could announce further redundancies.

‘‘Travel people tend to be optimistic and hope that a recovery will come,” he said. ‘‘The problem is that we are now entering the off-season, and companies will not have built up the strong cash flows this summer to get them through next winter.

‘‘Huge discounting has been great for the consumer, but has only kept things ticking over. The lack of availability of credit is really going to test the survival capacity of lots of good businesses this winter.”

Despite this, the number of hospitality positions advertised on Jobs.ie in the first six months of the year were up on the same period last year.

‘‘From January to June, there was actually an increase in jobs being posted across all the five travel and tourism sectors by an average of 44 per cent, which is promising,” Sorohan said. ‘‘It suggests that these areas were hit hardest by the recession last year, but this year there are signs that each of these areas are picking up.

‘‘At present, the hotels category has the most number of jobs listed, and chef positions are also quite popular.”

Government cuts

Last month’s Bord Snip Nua report recommended a €12 million cut to the government supported Tourism Marketing Fund and a €15 million slice off Fáilte Ireland’s budget.

McKeon cautioned the government against implementing either measure.

‘‘The only thing that will keep jobs within the tourism sector is if visitors keep coming, so governments need to keep their marketing budgets in foreign markets,” he said. ‘‘It is a viciously competitive world out there, and if Ireland disappears from websites, trade promotions, media advertisements and all of that, we will lose market share.”

McKeon said discussions were under way with the government to give tourism companies access to the Enterprise Stabilisation Fund, which was announced earlier this month.

‘‘Foreign tourism is an export business, although domestic tourism is not,” he said. ‘‘We would be anxious to have the scheme extended to the travel and tourism sector.”

Future recovery
Nugent said the travel industry would recover quickly, once the wider economy stabilised.

‘‘What is good for the economy at large is good for the travel sector,” he said. ‘‘If the overall economy gets righted, it will kick-start growth for travel companies.”

When it emerges from the recession, Nugent said the sector would be leaner and more technologically advanced.

‘‘Travel is a very dynamic sector, and has been long before the recent fast economic growth and then sudden economic decline,” he said. ‘‘Our members are transforming their business models all the time and investing in the online capacity of their staff. ‘‘That is the way the sector is going.”

Written by dermot

August 31st, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Posted in Business,Travel

Irish have strong chance in Berlin World Championships

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Sunday Business Post – Business of Sport – Aug 16 2009

Read the article on the Sunday Business Post website by clicking here.

The Irish squad competing at the World Track and Field Championships in Germany is one of the most experienced sent to a major championship, according to Liam Hennessy, president of Athletics Ireland. Leading track stars such as David Gillick, Derval O’Rourke, Paul Hession, Eileen O’Keeffe and Robert Heffernan are all part of the 14member squad at the championships, which began yesterday in Berlin.

‘‘The majority of these athletes competed in the last World Championships in Osaka in 2007, and again last year at the Olympics in Beijing, so we are lucky in that respect,” said Hennessy. ‘‘There are some great athletes on the team – and you look to the likes of Paul Hession (200 metres) and David Gillick (400 metres), who have been so impressive this year.

‘‘Derval O’Rourke (100 metres hurdles) showed what she is capable of when winning a medal at the European Indoors, so she is hopefully going to be up there,” said Hennessy. ‘‘Then you have Rob Heffernan and Olive Loughnane in the race walking and Eileen O’Keeffe in the hammer. Rob and Eileen were both top six in Osaka and Olive was our best performer in Beijing, with a seventh place finish. I think we could see some great performances in Berlin.”

The team for the championships was decided following the Woodie’s DIY National Track and Field Championships earlier this month at Santry Stadium. It also includes Roisin McGettigan in the 3,000 metres steeplechase, Alistair Cragg in the 5,000 metres, Jamie Costin and Colin Griffin in the 50 kilometre walk, Deirdre Ryan in the high jump, Deirdre Byrne in the 1,500 metres, Michelle Carey in the 400 metres hurdles and Thomas Chamney in both the 800 metres and 1,500 metres.

However, Hennessy said that, given the standard of competition at the World Championships, the majority of the Irish team would be concentrating on improving their performances, rather than winning medals.

‘‘Getting a medal would be a great achievement, but we have to look at it realistically,” he said. ‘‘When you compete at this level in athletics – whether it is the World Championships or Olympics – it is extremely tough to win a medal. Everything has to go perfectly for an athlete, and we have to remember that this is a world event, so we are up against the best athletes from across the globe.”

He said that, if the Irish team could get a range of finalists and see some personal bests, ‘‘we would be very happy’’. ‘‘That would represent a very successful championship,” he said.

Funding

The focus on track performances this month is welcome for Athletics Ireland, after another year marred by familiar political struggles and funding controversies in the generally eventful world of Irish athletics administration.

Hennessy said that Athletics Ireland was happy with the government funding received this year, although the total amount fell from €1.34 million in 2008 to just over €1 million.

‘‘The money is down from 2008, but that is the same for the majority of national governing bodies and we just have to get on with it like anyone in business,” he said. ‘‘The economic downturn has affected everyone and sport is no different. We are lucky in that [Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism] Martin Cullen fought hard to ensure we were still able to get a similar amount of Irish Sports Council (ISC) funding in 2009, considering the amount of cuts that are happening across the board.”

According to widespread reports earlier in the year, the ISC suspended Athletics Ireland’s annual funding after disagreements over internal staffing and administrative issues between the two bodies, while former Athletics Ireland chief executive Mary Coghlan has alleged that ISC chairman Ossie Kilkenny and chief executive John Treacy were behind her removal from the position in June.

Coghlan is currently pursuing an unfair dismissal case in the High Court, and Hennessy said he could not comment on this issue. However, he maintained that any strains in the relationship between the ISC and Athletics Ireland had been exaggerated by the media.

‘‘There are no issues with the ISC and we have our full funding for 2009,which has helped us to invest in a range of programmes – from high performance right down to grass roots and participation level,” he said. ‘‘We work very closely with the ISC on all aspects of athletics. It has been integral to establishing the programmes and structures we have implemented and the success we have achieved in recent years.”

Brighter prospects

After the World Championships conclude on August 23, Hennessy said that Athletics Ireland’s focus would switch to the European Cross Country Championships, being held in Santry in December.

‘‘Hosting the Spar European Cross Country Championships is a huge honour for Irish athletics,” he said. ‘‘We are hoping to put on a great event for the athletes and the spectators. It is a huge undertaking, but everyone is fully committed to making this a huge success, from Fingal County Council to the Irish Sports Council and Dublin City Council. We are all working together on the event, as we have been for nearly two years now.”

He said that Ireland would have a strong team at the event, with a possibility of success for the home team.

‘‘What makes the event even more exciting is the strength of the Irish team we are going to have there,” he said. ‘‘With athletes of the calibre of Martin Fagan, Mary Cullen and Fionnuala Britton we will have a team capable of winning medals. For these athletes to be able to compete in a European Championships in front of their home crowd will give them a huge boost.”

Written by dermot

August 31st, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Posted in Sport

Peachy chance to solve staff issues

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Sunday Business Post – Recruitment page – Aug 9 2009

Read the article on the Sunday Business Post website by clicking here.

A Donegal company has developed an innovative online service to help companies to manage staff in different locations. Due to launch this month, Nvolve’s PeachyPeople.com website combines three tools for communication, training and people management.

Barry Harper, chief executive of Nvolve, said the product would appeal to companies with far-flung, mobile workers.

‘‘The whole concept of teleworking and the distributed workforce is very prominent at the moment,” Harper said. ‘‘Many companies are cutting costs and have people working from home. If companies want to grow, they have to go into Britain or Europe. Peachy People.com has been developed to meet these trends.”

Harper drew on his own personal experiences to design the Peachy Performer element of the site, which also includes Peachy Learner and PeachyConnect.

‘‘I used to be HR manager for Nortel in Galway,” he said. ‘‘We did an annual performance appraisal, which was seen as a form-filling exercise and just got over as quickly as possible.

‘‘With PeachyPeople.com, managers or individuals assign different objectives, which can be reviewed or updated every week or every month. Managers can run reports showing the progress of all outstanding objectives, giving an overall snapshot of how the business is performing.”

The Peachy Learner toolset helps employees to share knowledge more effectively. It also provides access to Nvolve’s e-learning products.

‘‘It allows users to share learning objects such as web links and reports, videos or webcasts, while also having a catalogue of 500 e-learning courses that users can take at any time,” Harper said.

Peachy Connect facilitates communication between employees with free peer-to-peer phone calls, video conferencing and online collaboration.

‘‘I can hit a couple of clicks and everyone gets an e-mail with the correct number to dial and the password to enter the teleconference,” Harper said. ‘‘If I want a web conference, it is the same – only everyone clicks on a URL. If I want to see your computer screen, I can.We can collaborate together on a document. It is all about saving people time, making them more productive.”

Harper launched a test version of PeachyPeople.com late last year, and was spurred on by the response it received.

‘‘It got picked up by some prominent blogs, and we now have over 500 companies registered – spread across retail, hospitality, professional services, finance, biotech and many others, including the Hilton Hotel Group, Fexco and Digiweb,” he said.

Peachy People is delivered using the software as a service (Saas) model, which means that it is accessed on internet browsers.

‘‘I am here in Donegal and you could be in America, but with SaaS it makes no difference,” Harper said. ‘‘The information is displayed extremely fast and your browser is turned into a desktop-like application.”

Users can access the basic package for free, while additional functionality is available to buy.

‘‘Every account gets 100MB of free storage space, but once people start using the application, they will generally need to purchase more storage space from us,” said Harper. ‘‘Twenty user web conferences are free, but if you want 50 users, there will be charges. The e-learning courses in the ‘knowledge bank’ element will be offered at a cost. Some companies may never need to move into the paying versions, however.”

Peachy People users are encouraged to provide feedback and suggest ideas to improve the service.

‘‘If users come to us and say they want a recruitment tool, then we will look to add that,” he said. ‘‘Eventually, the user community will determine the feature-set.”

Harper established Nvolve in 2006.The company has six staff at its headquarters in Letterkenny and 15 developers based in India. Recently shortlisted for the Small Firms Association’s Innovation Award, Nvolve has also received equity funding under Enterprise Ireland’s high performance startup scheme

‘‘We are looking at going to the market for venture capital funding later this year,” said Harper. ‘‘We already have companies registered from Germany, South Africa, Australia, South Korea and Japan. Our aim is over one million daily users within the next 12 months.”

Written by dermot

August 10th, 2009 at 11:44 am

Posted in Business