15 Years of Breaking Down Doors

After working in New Zealand’s biggest city, Brent  Moran wanted a change, to escape the big city life of endless commutes. 15 years later that change sees him as Development Manager at More4apps.

While working in Microsoft Technology based IT roles in Auckland, Moran heard of a small company based in Hamilton enabling Oracle users to work better from a friend. “Microsoft was not seen as a big player at the commercial and enterprise-level, Oracle was where it was at – it had a much better perception and was seen to be going ahead. The opportunity to work with the original founders of More4apps came along and I decided to go for it. It was hard to find IT roles outside of the “main” centers and I was tired of the commuting thing, the Auckland thing.”

Moran was brought onboard to develop training tools such as videos and documentation for customers, along with programming. IT was not his original career choice, he studied and gained a degree in Physics. “I came out of uni with a degree that no one really wanted! Although at the time there was not a large demand for IT graduates either. 

I got interested in IT while I was working at a small manufacturing company. I was trying to obtain data from existing systems and I could see how much more efficient we would be if we were able to access timely and relevant information. This was in the late 1990s and then with Y2K looming it was easy to jump into a full-time IT role.”

Since joining the company Moran has been impressed by the focus on customer satisfaction. “Bruce Doig was very strong in this area and then it was reinforced by Brad Sayer when he came on board full time. I was also very impressed by the decision to hire an outside company to interview our customers worldwide. The insights gathered validated the work we were doing and the emphasis that Bruce and Brad had placed on customer support and satisfaction. It showed the benefits our products made to people’s work lives – not something that is often considered when working with multinational companies.”

Moran has also had the opportunity to travel and work out of the More4apps Newport office in America. “I got to see how different things were in the states and really see face to face the difference we were making to large multinational companies working with Oracle.” It also made him appreciate the unique working environment the Hamilton team has. “If I have a question or need something I just say hey Brad or hey Lily and they are there – our overseas team doesn’t quite have that and this is something we all work hard to minimize”.

Over the last few years, More4apps has invested in developing an agile working environment and breaking down barriers to collaboration. This focus is something Moran sees as a positive change. “It is great that we have been busy breaking down the doors between groups, this shift has transformed our teams and will continue to do that and I am excited to have been part of that.”

The door metaphor resonates particularly with Moran as he gives examples of a physical door between the development and functional team acting as a barrier to communication and collaboration. “We no longer have those physical barriers we work in an open environment with pods and the change in culture has been immense, no more “us vs them” More4apps has developed and grown into one team with a clear focus”.

He credits his growth in the role with the support given by the founding team or ‘the originals’ as he calls them and the ability for the team to bring on board talent when needed. “John O’Keeffe got me a Chooi – everyone needs a Chooi. Having Chooi onboard was probably the most important thing that enabled me to do the job. She helped me really get a handle on things, she helped me understand EBS from a functional perspective allowing me to focus on, identify, and solve limitations imposed on us by our unique EBS architecture”.

When asked what advice he would give his 18-year-old self he comments “don’t do physics do IT!” But he also has found that doing your research and learning from others extremely beneficial and urges others to try not to be afraid to upskill on areas you may not be as strong on. An example could be joining toastmasters to develop skills in public speaking. Don’t underestimate the value of soft skills!

His advice for those new to software development is that a software product is much larger than the code. Support, maintenance, documentation, and testing are a much larger part of the product than the code itself. And, the quicker the code is written usually the more costly the product will be in terms of support and maintenance. Also, it is important to understand that there is a big difference between software that needs to work on hundreds of sites worldwide as opposed to in-house software and software for single sites.

And one final piece of advice “If you can’t look after yourself – you can’t look after your customers”.

So what comes next for Brent and More4apps after 15 years working together. “I would love to see us really taking a leading place in the Cloud space, to continue to lead in customer support and fostering a team culture”.

Aandrea Murray
Aandrea Murray

Tech Translator

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