Aongus Hegarty, FCMA, CGMA, President of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at Dell, Has Always Had a Fascination with Numbers and He Advocates Bringing This Analytical Approach to Business Strategy and Management
Aughney, Jim, Financial Management (UK)
How did you begin your career?
I'm analytical and I like numbers. I have continually wanted to know "what do the numbers mean?" But I've always been more interested in how the numbers help you understand and then drive the business strategy and operations. This analytical approach is one of the most important competencies in my career.
I started my career in IT while a student at NIHE, now Limerick University, where I graduated with a degree in business studies. I started work experience in the hardware division of Digital in Clonmel and joined the company after graduation.
I started in finance, where I completed my CIMA qualification before moving into developing and implementing a procurement strategy in print and media.
What made you decide to take the CIMA qualification and how has it helped you in your career?
It was partly because my first real mentor and supporter, John Curtin, who was involved in CIMA Ireland and worked with Digital, suggested it and because I liked the idea of gaining a qualification that was directly related to the skills needed in business. I knew that by using the financial acumen gained through securing this qualification that I would be well equipped to play a significant role in helping to shape the direction and success of whatever business I was in. The skill set was always more appealing to me than the benefits of a qualification that was more geared towards working in practice.
In all the areas I've worked, I've found having a knowledge of finance and analytical skills hugely beneficial. It creates many more options in terms of where to go next. For example, with Digital, I was able to move into the areas of procurement and then commodity management as a result of the core skills picked up in the qualification. That's also the case for the various roles I've undertaken in my 12 years at Dell.
As well as my role as EMEA president with Dell, I am active in CIMA and the Executive Council of the American Chamber of Commerce for the EU. I particularly welcome the designation of CIMA graduates as Chartered Global Management Accountants. The name reflects the fact that business is global now. CIMA is no longer the cost guy sitting in the corner.
How did you broaden your experience?
After a number of years at Digital, I joined Modus Media International, the subsidiary of Chicago-based media replication company RR Donnelley, becoming general manager for operations in Ireland at Dublin, Kildare and Limerick. My work with Modus Media was followed by a year with RR Donnelley in Amsterdam.
I joined Dell in 2000 and held a number of executive positions in sales and marketing before taking on my current role of president of EMEA earlier this year.
How would you describe the culture of Dell?
I have always been in the IT industry and admired the Dell Direct model. When I looked at the foundation of the company it was a solid, go-to-market model.
One of Dell's greatest strengths is that as a company we have listened and responded to the needs of our customers, which showed that more and more of them want to work with existing partners. It's about giving our customers choice, so Dell's go-to-market approach today also includes working directly with those partners.
We continue to work closely with our customers to understand their changing needs. If a company specialises in financial services we can now leverage the expertise that we have built with partners in financial services IT, as well as our own internal knowledge and expertise. It works well with our channel and partner strategy, giving us more opportunities to grow our business.
This evolution is a key milestone in Dell's history and demonstrates that the focus on doing what's right for customers and delivering what they want, when they need it, is still at the very heart of business decision-making. Twenty-eight years on and Dell, now a $60bn company, is still listening to what its customers want, and delivering, in a way that they prefer. …