Who are we talking to?
Darragh Fanning, founder and chief executive of Celtech Software.

Who do you work for and what do you do?

I am the managing director of Celtech Software. Celtech is a progressive and innovative retail software solutions provider. Our core application, ab-initio, is the only true-real-time multi-channel solution for retail and wholesale chains. It supports food, convenience, entertainment, consumer electronics, and specialty stores. Customers include Xtra-vision here in Ireland, East of England Co-op Foodstores in the UK and Batleys cash-and-carry.

How is business?
It has been a challenging time but thankfully business overall has been good. Despite competing with some of the world’s major multinationals, growth has been strong since we setup in 1992. We now deliver real benefits to some of the largest retail and wholesale organisations in the UK and Ireland.
It has helped that we have worked with some of the world’s leading technology providers to develop innovative solutions to the challenges our clients face. For example, we were the first to pioneer real-time and centralised point-of-sale technology in 1999. This is now the pre-requisite for multi-channel retailing and was the foundation for our cloud-based software-as-a-service solution.

What are the challenges at the moment?
One of the main challenges as an indigenous company is being recognised on the international stage for our innovation, particularly in a highly fragmented and saturated market. Fortunately our reputation for delivering large projects and forward-thinking solutions has helped us a lot. Another major challenge is to deliver growth while remaining profitable and without the need for external investment.

In business terms, what could make your life easier?
As we are based in Dublin we find that attracting world-class, experienced management skills can occasionally be a challenge.

How would you describe the business community you operate in?
Celtech is headquartered in Dublin’s East Point Technology Park, which is essentially Ireland’s answer to Silicon Valley with a number of multi-national and Fortune 500 companies including Google, Yahoo, Cisco and Oracle. The IT market is very active and is suffering from a skills shortage at a time when we are recruiting at all levels to support our growth strategy.

Who’s your business hero?
Sir Richard Branson. He has consistently challenged conventional thinking and focused on delivering a differentiating customer service.

What do you get up to outside of work?
I enjoy sailing and spending time with my family so when weather and time permits I can be found doing just that.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
A real guilty pleasure of mine is watching engineering programmes on the Discovery Channel, I really enjoy shows that teach me how to do things.