itContracting Quick-fire Q&A: Business Solutions Practice Director

Have you wondered what it takes to become the Director of a leading Business Solutions practice? This week, we have a quick-fire Q&A round with Paul Gilbride, explaining his career path and outlining key technology requirements.

 

Name: Paul Gilbride

Position: I head up the Business Applications Practice in Evros. This covers mainly Microsoft Apps such as PowerApps, PowerBI and SharePoint

Tell me about your technical experience and how it brought you to your position at Evros?
My technical experience spans 10 years. Most of which I have spent as a Cloud Consultant covering Microsoft Technologies such as Exchange, SharePoint, Azure and EMS. I have a real love for technology and especially new tech. This passion and desire to spread the word, brought me to Pre-Sales and Management. I have worked with different people and different companies over the last 10 years and I am delighted to have been able to evolve and grow over those years. 

What are the key technology skill requirements for your position?
For me, SharePoint and PowerApps are the key tech skills.

However, understanding the over-arching technologies surrounding SharePoint and Power Platform are key. This includes Security, Authentication, Email Connection, Voice and new apps that can work with these tools.

How did you acquire those skills?
From starting to work on a Helpdesk you get a lot of the basics, then when you move to the field you get a lot more specialised. For example, doing AD Migrations or Email Migrations teaches you a lot about the basic building blocks of a company. Fixing Printers or Switches teaches you about the connectivity and hardware side of things. Finally, when you find you passion (SharePoint) you follow that, which I did for 2 years as Eir SharePoint Admin. This led to a move into the sector with an ICT company and learning about different versions of SharePoint. From there, Office365 took over and Evros allowed me to connect all the dots and become practice director of the Business Applications Team.

What was the most challenging part of the journey to your current position?
The Start. Not knowing anything and feeling so far away from being a Subject Matter Expert.

It only comes from being in those really tough positions. i.e. those overnight migrations because of connectivity issues or the “I’m going to be late home” calls because there was a snag in your Schema migration, and you don’t know enough to find the problem. Those days teach you the most. You never want to be in a position like that, so you work hard and learn more to avoid it.

What advice would you give to someone looking to do what you do?
In my role you always have to be looking at the overall solution and how it will be successfully delivered, sometimes you won’t always know exactly where different elements will land, you just need to know that they will if you have drive and determination. I tried not to fixate too much at the start of my career on what position I wanted and when I wanted it, that way I was open to things changing, which they will, and open to opportunities. Understand as well that there is always a learning curve and giving yourself time and flexibility. Half the fun is seeing what is coming next and challenging yourself to build your expertise on a new product or technology.

Beyond my technical background I really worked on my communication and presentation skills. In my role you need to be as comfortable talking to a developer as you are presenting a major solution to a board of stakeholders. For a lot of people this can be out of their comfort zone but just requires optimism and practice. The key is to avoid pessimistic views that could hold you back. You can genuinely achieve whatever you want, the reason people don’t….is because they believe the world is against them. If you decide to think differently, everything changes.

What certification or qualifications are useful for your position at Evros or on our client sites?
For me, a Degree in Computer Science helped me get my first job and MS Certifications (MCSA) helped enable my progression towards Senior Consultant. However, in my role, on top of those certifications, the most useful things have been optimism and passion.

itContracting is part of Evros Technology Group, Ireland’s leading Digital Transformation provider and has one of the most extensive partnership networks in Ireland including globally recognised brands and providers of industry-leading niche technologies. Some of the Evros partners include Microsoft, VMware, HPE, Dell, Citrix, Cisco, and Veeam.

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