We had an opportunity to talk to Glenn Reilly, Chief Operations Officer at GCOMM, who has been with the company for the past 7 years. Glenn has recently moved abroad and is enjoying learning about new cultures. In this interview Glenn reflects on his time on the Gold Coast and shares his future plans.
What is your professional background? What did you do before GCOMM?
I have a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Melbourne University and two Post Graduate degrees in accounting and finance. On the Gold Coast I have been involved in several “food” enterprises, namely manufacturing and a retail franchise operation, as well as property development and running in partnership a boutique financial advisory practice.
How does working in those various industries compare to the IT industry? Has your job changed significantly?
They were very different industries with very different metrics but by understanding the individual company’s business model and that of the industry, finance orientated personnel can be of great benefit without having significant technical knowledge. In the IT industry, the personnel aspect of the business is very high as you have very educated, motivated technical people who you rely on. As the objectives of the stakeholders change, you need to adapt, so naturally my role has changed over time
When and how did you join GCOMM?
I started in March 2006 after applying for a finance position that was advertised. There were people at the company who were in charge of the operational side of the business so in the beginning I worked closely with Peter, GCOMM’s Managing Director, on LiveBackup, which was just a project back then. The management structure has changed several times whilst at GCOMM, not in personnel as the company is blessed to have an incredibly stable work force, but in terms of structure and financial objectives. Essentially, I have been running the administration / financial sides of the business as well as being part of the management strategic team.
How has your role at GCOMM changed over the years? You have mentioned this briefly in the previous question.
Every role changes and evolves. As I said, I was always involved in the operational side of the business, working on projects that will improve GCOMM’s processes, working with the administration team and looking after the company’s finances. Last year I was working on a remote management project that had the goal of ensuring GCOMM is functioning properly and communicating openly, even when the top management isn’t physically present at the company. When I started working on the project I never thought it would apply to me. But shortly after, my circumstances changed.
You have recently moved abroad? Do you intend to continue your career with GCOMM?
The decision to move away from Australia was due to personal reasons. My wife is English and after being in Australia for some 24 years was very home sick. She returned to the U.K. in February of last year. I thought she would be back shortly due to the English winter, but I was proven wrong. I wasn’t able to join her right away because I had to organise our youngest son who was about to attend a U.S. college in August. I was moving to U.K. in December and realistically thought I may have to leave GCOMM. However, after talking to Peter and Dan, they suggested I stay with the company on a full-time basis and utilise some of the tools we had developed in the remote management project. It really is possible to work from anywhere in the world, with the right tools, as long as the type of your job permits working remotely. I am currently in Belgrade, Serbia, working with Peter and the team that handles GCOMM’s marketing and I am enjoying my time here. There will probably be plenty of travelling in the future but I am definitely continuing my career with GCOMM and I’m looking forward to seeing how these recent changes will affect the company. For now, everything has been functioning well.
What are GCOMM’s main strengths, according to you?
It is definitely its employees. Most of them have been with the company for more than 5 years, many even over 10 years and considering it has only been in existence for 16 years, this is quite remarkable. GCOMM is very proud of its high employee retention rate. You spend more time with your colleagues at work than your family so it is really important to develop a comfortable and friendly working environment. I think GCOMM has that and it is great to be a part of the team. We operate in a B2B environment so long term customer relationships are absolutely vital. We have virtually no staff turnover, which helps to keep and develop these relationships.
What is one thing you’ll always remember from working at GCOMM?
Our parties! We always have a lot of fun when we get together; it turns into a memorable experience every time.
What are some of the most enjoyable things about your job?
Working with everyone at GCOMM has been great; it definitely has made the experience very enjoyable. I like focusing on the operational side of the business and making sure the company is meeting its stated objectives.
How about the challenges?
In the past year there have been many developments at GCOMM, with further developments to come. People generally don’t like change so incorporating many changes has proven difficult at times. This is very challenging but I think we’re on the right path.
Where do you see GCOMM in the next 6-12 months?
Internally, I am expecting we will finalise the software project we started working on recently. It will take quite some time for its development but we are hoping to have a new system at the beginning of next year that will simplify internal processes and make our operations far more efficient as well as hopefully, better meet our customer’s requirements. Realistically , even after the project is launched , it will probably take another 6 months for tweaking the systems but we are hoping to end up with the tools that will give us the competitive advantage and open up some new opportunities for GCOMM.
There will be some changes in the next 2-3 years with the NBN in Australia. GCOMM is ready to embrace this major change and continue to make sure our customers are getting the best service possible.
What are your plans for the future?
I will be in Belgrade until the beginning of April, when my wife and I are moving to Malaga, Spain for a while. I am expecting to do quite a bit of traveling within the next few years, mostly between Europe and Australia and I’m very excited about it.