Ciaran Kirk Staff Profile
Ciaran can you tell us about the origins of IMGS?
In 2002 IMGS was founded by Bob Stuart, our current managing director, as the Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial reseller for Ireland. At the time, the LGCSB (now LGMA) had selected GeoMedia WebMap as the preferred web GIS for the Local Authorities in the Republic.
I was hired as the first engineer in, to install and support the roll out of the solution. At the time I had no GIS experience and was a programmer, so it was a bit of a baptism of fire, but I tried to hit the ground running and the rest as they say is history!
In that first year we were also selected by the Irish Naval Service to provide their Fisheries Protection GIS System (in partnership with Hewlett Packard), which was our first major project and required us to expand our engineering team.
By the end of the year Intergraph had then asked IMGS to support their Utility & Telecommunications (U&C) division in Ireland with existing customers such as Eir (then Eircom), ESB Networks, BT Ireland, and the Dublin Regional Water GIS.
The U&C business was again another steep learning curve for us but we invested time in learning & upskilling and really understanding our customers business so that we could deliver an excellent support service.
Then in 2003 we were delighted to become the Safe Software FME distributor for Ireland (on the advice of a customer who recommended the solution – thank you Claire) which has been at the core of our business and projects ever since and is used by over 100 organisations across the island.
How has your role evolved with IMGS over the past 20 years?
I have had several roles in IMGS – Engineer, Technical Manager, Technical Director, General Manager and now Operations Director.
Over the years as our team has grown, I have moved more to managing and mentoring our engineers and doing less & less of the hands-on work (but I still like to get my hands dirty when the team let me)!
On our major projects I also support our customers by serving on project boards to advise the project team on ensuring project success. We have really improved our project delivery since our Delivery Director, Aoibhinn joined IMGS.
Aoibhinn has added some much-needed process to our projects but even with this improvement, projects will always have their challenges so usually my hard-earned experience can provide guidance where needed!
I have also moved towards the commercial side of the business over the past decade which I have really enjoyed – I love working with customers to solve their problems using our solutions. I am a great believer in science & technology and that technology can solve most problems (I think the last year has proven that more than ever)!
You recently launched the IMGS Data Intelligence Platform. Can you describe this offering to us and explain the change in company strategy this past 2 years?
As a company we have always understood the power of data analytics and visualisation through our GIS platforms from Hexagon and Safe Software.
But with the explosion of big data, we could see the enormous potential for organisations that want to become data driven across the enterprise, and we are really excited by the potential.
Aoibhinn who had come from the financial sector could also see how our FME ETL skills were of great demand and how we would easily transfer these skills to this area.
Our Data Intelligence Platform provides a complete data management and analytics platform that works across any industry who wants to become data driven.
We are delighted to be working with our partners Snowflake, Talend & Sisense who are disturbing the industry with game changing innovation in Big Data and AI.
It has again been a learning curve for us to embrace this new area, but I personally love it and I am so excited by the change (to the fact that I constantly bombarding the team with the latest cool changes, and they are amused with my excitement even at my age).
What do you see as the greatest opportunities for the business over the next 5 years?
The IT industry is changing. I feel the days of large multi-year projects with big capital software expenditure are over.
Customers are now looking towards more flexible SAAS solutions that require minimal development. The 2 – 3 year projects are being replaced with 3-month implementations where customers expect results next quarter not next year.
The move to the cloud has been critical in this SAAS approach, which has decreased the infrastructure costs and implementation times and provides huge scale and accessibility.
In the past years we have had several new BI customers who were able to onboard Sisense cloud as a full BI platform within a quarter. They were able to do this because the Sisense solution met their requirements off the shelf, could be provisioned next day and was easy to integrate with their existing systems and data flows.
This flexibility is what customers will demand going forward.
In IMGS with our partners platforms we have the cloud-based solutions and the agile approach to support our customer demands. So far in the 20s IMGS have already seen considerable growth through supporting our customers digital transformation and I expect this to continue as we all succeed together.
What do you enjoy about working at IMGS?
It’s a bit of cliché to say in a blog but we have great customers who, even though we have had our ups and downs, I have made some great friends with over the years.
I am truly proud of what we have done with our customers. For example, in a 6-month project we had supported Siro in rolling out their FTTH GIS system from green field to fully integrated solution – that was an extremely challenging project, but we did it by working closely with a wonderful team in Siro.
I have worked with customers across the country from ESB to NIE Networks, OSI to LPS, Dublin City Council to Shannon Airport Authority and I feel confident that I have made relationships that will outlast any software system and I have enjoyed every minute of it.
The other big thing in IMGS that I love – is the constant change. I usually get to be the first to get my hands on our new technology. This constant evolution means it’s never boring and as a tech geek I love the challenge of new systems (and I am loving our move to Sisense, as I said already).
Finally, the staff in IMGS make it a fun place to work and as the team gets younger and I get older I can safely say I laugh more today than I ever did (no coincidence this coincided with Garrett’s arrival a few years ago)!
If you could do another job just for a day what would it be?
I have always loved sport (never been much good at it) but as an avid Everton Football and Ireland & Leinster Rugby fan, being involved with one of these would be a dream come true for me.
Now that the world is opening up again, where would be the first place overseas that you would like to visit on holiday?
Before Covid I always enjoyed travelling to see our partners and attend the conferences and sales meetings and I really looking forward to that starting again (Las Vegas is calling for HXGN Live this summer).
Just before Covid I visited Tel Aviv to meet our friends in Sisense but didn’t get time to see the country and would love to spend more time there.
On the bigger scale I would love to go back to Cancun and have always wanted to see New Zealand (especially as I am a big Lord of the Rings Fan).
Find Out More
At IMGS, Data Intelligence and information are at the core of what we do. We provide solutions to automate data flows, visualise information and power data insights for a wide variety of customers included Local Authorities, Government Agencies, Utilities and Communications Organisations.
Our data solutions are built on our partner’s technology platforms and serve the citizens of Ireland every day, from managing water and electric networks to publishing key e-Government information through Government Portals. Through our market leading partners, we provide organisations with end to end solutions that drive operational and capital efficiencies.
To learn and to arrange an initial data session with us, please CLICK HERE to fill in our contact form.