60 seconds with: Denis Canty, McKesson

Interviews, Ireland, Technology | Tue 24 Apr | Author – Business & Finance
Denis Canty McKesson healthcare technology
Denis Canty, Senior Director of Automation/AI Software Labs, McKesson

Denis Canty, Senior Director of Automation/AI Software Labs, McKesson, takes on the Business & Finance 60-second interview challenge.


Q. What was your first job?

My first job as a 12-year kid was working in the family business – a farm supplies store in Macroom, Co. Cork. Even at this young age, it gave me an opportunity to interact a lot with customers both in the store and out on farms. That experience taught me the importance of product value and of observing the market for new product ideas. I worked there for seven years and learned a great deal about business. I even got to hire a few school friends – I’d later learn that this was my first taste of people management!

Q. What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

Personally, it’s keeping in touch with lots of my schoolyard friends and marrying my wife Jenny. Professionally, it’s building the global automation software labs here at McKesson in the past year, with support from local and international leadership. It’s really cool to build something from the ground up for a Fortune 5 company.

We have an exciting mandate – how automation and innovative technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain, can really enable business value in the future. I believe AI is a huge compliment to humanity, as we are replicating functions of the human mind – I see opportunity not threat from this technology. This is one of the topics that will be explored in depth at this year’s Tech Summit in Cork – personally, I cannot wait to hear from some of the foremost thought leaders on the subject.

Q. How do you define success?

Growth – Mindset – Learning

Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

From my parents: When you fall – learn yourself, and when you succeed – recognise others.

Q. How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

I think we need the right balance of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation to be happy in our jobs. I trust people and give them the space to forge their own path, but I’m there to support them if mistakes are made. As Michelangelo said, “I am still learning”. I encourage a sense of pride in ‘being the CEO’ of even a small product release. I like to keep people informed of the big picture, which shows them extrinsic motivation aspects of things to aim for. Luckily, I love what I do, so when my team is happy, so am I. Having the trust of local and international

leadership really does help.

Q. If you could step into the shoes of one business person for a day, who would it be and why?

Within McKesson – it would be Rory Lankford. Rory is the GM of McKesson Ireland and VP for Finance in McKesson Technology, so learning more about finance would always be helpful for a techie!

Outside of McKesson – right now it would be Mark Zuckerberg – to see what the recent days and events have been like and how he is feeling about having to navigate these murky waters. Challenging times are the ones we learn most from, so to be immersed in a debacle such as the one he is facing – just for one day – would be invaluable in terms of learning.

Q. How do you relax?

I love sports – so I play soccer, go to the gym and swim to help me relax. I drink a lot of herbal teas and I am still an avid gamer due to my younger brother Dylan. Oh, and Netflix, of course!

Q. What’s your motto?

“Send the elevator down” – I’ve always been involved with schools/STEM programmes in technology and I provide mentorship when they find it useful. The upcoming it@cork Tech Summit is about bringing technology to everyone – I am co-chair of this event and one of the reasons I got involved was because I believe strongly in doing all we can to promote and foster an inclusive environment when it comes to technology. Advancements in IT have implications for all aspects of human life all around the world – so as ‘techies’ we have a responsibility to communicate these developments to the public at large and to bring future generations along on the technology adventure.

Q. What are your aspirations for the future of the business?

To continue to grow my team locally and globally, and more importantly, to grow the opportunities and career paths within the team. Innovation and emerging technologies are always fun and keep jobs fresh, however we need to tie them to true business value, so getting balance right is key.

Also, I’m committed to helping local leadership to continue to grow the local site – I’m a Cork native so it’s great to see a thriving technology community in Cork. Businesses such as McKesson and institutes like it@cork play a huge part in this.

I think we need the right balance of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation to be happy in our jobs. I trust people and give them the space to forge their own path, but I’m there to support them if mistakes are made.

About Denis:

Denis is a customer-centric technologist with a distinct interest in cyber psychology, our journey towards ubiquitous intelligence and cognitive intelligence algorithm design.

About McKesson:

We’re experiencing an era of unprecedented change in health care. New technology, new services and new ideas will be needed to deliver improved outcomes for businesses and patients. McKesson is at the forefront of that transformation.

The company works with healthcare organisations of all types to strengthen the health of their business, helping them control costs, develop efficiencies and improve quality.