Collaboration and motivation: a question of balance

View from the Boardroom | Thu 13 Apr | Author – Business & Finance
Tony O'Malley Fujitsu Ireland
Tony O’Malley, CEO, Fujitsu Ireland

Fujitsu Ireland CEO Tony O’Malley talks to Business & Finance about collaboration and motivation.

As a former captain in the Irish Defence Forces, Tony O’Malley’s is one of the more unusual career paths among Irish CEOs. Serving from 1986 to 1998 and seeing service in Lebanon, he retired to work in the private ICT sector.

That path has clearly been central to the formation of his management ethos. “I would consider my style as collaborative, which draws on my experience in the military and ICT sector to date,” O’Malley, now CEO of Fujitsu Ireland, acknowledges. “I believe that successful teams need input from all levels, as most will consist of a variety of skills, experience and indeed opinions.

“When managing teams it is important to outline what is expected from everyone from the outset: what you are trying to achieve; and respective team roles in achieving that end result. A collaborative approach ensures that a dynamic mix of different personalities, expertise and approaches can work effectively.”

Indeed, the global Fujitsu business is made up of 156,000 people – little wonder that O’Malley regularly emphasises collaboration among the Irish-based teams.

The Fujitsu Ireland headcount exceeds 350 – and every single member of staff is integral in exceeding customers’ expectations, he says. “Without the commitment, expertise and drive of each individual we wouldn’t be the innovative technology partner I’m immensely proud to lead.”

Every CEO has his or her own motivational techniques, and O’Malley puts the focus on trying to foster and develop an inclusive and rewarding work environment, and ensuring that his team is properly engaged. “For me, this is ensuring there are clear, definite goals for all. If someone is engaged and has bought in to what they are doing, the motivation becomes natural.

Whether it be active CSR programmes, competitive salary and benefits, opportunities to work globally and opportunities for future progression, I have found it is about understanding that everyone will have their own motivations. Discovering and meeting them is the ongoing challenge!”

Fujitsu operates in a unique industry, and O’Malley has identified some key managerial priorities. “In my opinion, one of the biggest challenges facing the ICT industry is attracting and retaining talent,” he says.

“As already widely reported, there is an insufficient number of qualified professionals to fill the current market vacancies. There are numerous ways of resolving these issues: promoting ICT-relevant subjects within our schools curriculum at an early stage, providing opportunities for employees to develop their IT skills through retraining/upskilling, competitive packages, culture of positive work life balance  – together these help to improve the attractiveness of ICT careers across the board.

“Another key challenge that needs to be addressed is increasing the accessibility within the sector for people to re-enter the workforce; in particular greater  female participation within the sector. In November 2016 Fujitsu launched Women’s Business Network to enable its female employees address gender balance and to promote the value and importance of its female workforce in a male-dominated sector.”


Asked to define success, O’Malley says that in professional and personal terms it’s all about balance. “From a professional standpoint the balance is between sustainable growth and an engaged workforce, delivering positive results and always seeking new ways to improve. This constantly evolving journey is what drives me to push ahead. On a personal level success is about making time for those important people in my life – being there for those significant milestones and recognising the importance this time spent has on you both as a person and as a leader.”

As for the future of his company, O’Malley’s vision is clear. “Fujitsu Ireland has a vision to be the leading IT services provider in the Irish marketplace and to be the partner and employer of choice.

As already widely reported, there is an insufficient number of qualified professionals to fill the current market vacancies

“We plan to achieve our ambitions by leveraging our extensive global and local capability for our Irish customers to help them grow their business, in some cases transform their operations or customer experience, and to position our customers to avail of the significant opportunity that the Digital Age presents.

“Moving forward, the commercialisation of our R&D programmes in big data, e-health and sensor technology will also be key to delivering Fujitsu’s vision of a human-centric intelligent society, a vision in which ICT supports innovative solutions to society’s problems whether by meeting the challenges of an ageing population through smart homes, or improving the connectivity of our cities into the future.”

Business & Finance, A View from the Boardroom

irish-life-health-vftbA View from the Boardroom, in association with Irish Life Health, features Ireland’s leading decision makers in business – those who provide effective leadership and are capable of understanding potential risks.