27 Apr 2017

It’s all about reaching your goals with John O’Donnell

Can you tell us a little about your role at Vanderbilt?

As part of the product management team, my role within Vanderbilt is highly flexible and very rewarding. I work closely with our marketing, support and sales teams on projects that deliver solutions to our customers in line with their needs and requests. I also work alongside our R&D teams helping to create a roadmap for our solutions. Some of these teams are based in our Dublin office; others are located at our offices throughout Europe.

What do you enjoy most about the role?

The solution. It’s such a buzz to enable a solution that helps a customer to enhance their business. As the security market becomes more complex in an age of connected devices and cloud-based solutions, close relationships with the customer is essential. It is a really exciting time for our installers and us.

I am also heavily involved in the SPC System, which has now become a benchmark for intrusion security and we continue to deliver new features and enhancements for our customers. It is truly rewarding when we get to see the deployment of solutions that we have developed as a team.

I actually do feel that I am quite spoilt as a product manager because the teams around me manage to progress solutions at an incredibly fast rate, which means that we are always ahead of the game and ready to meet any challenge.

What challenges do you face in your role?

The main challenge of any product manager is to fully understand our customers’ business in order to develop a solution that truly suits their requirements. We are regularly releasing new services and solutions onto the market, such as the recently launched SPC Connect 2.3 and soon to be released SPC 3.8. The SPC Connect 2.3 is an enhancement of the SPC ecosystem. We are continuously looking to improve the performance and services we offer our installers. Within SPC Connect 2.3 we have enhanced the ability to review actions taken by installers so that for audit purposes there is a clear record of who performs which action. SPC 3.8 contains many feature enhancements; installers love using SPC because of its ease of use and flexibility. We have two key goals in relation to SPC 3.8. The first goal is to reduce installation time, and the second is to listen to where installers need enhancements for special use cases and some simpler feature to help enhance the installation and protection offered to our customers.

What has been your favorite project so far?

If I had to choose a project it would be the SPC 3.6.6 release. It was a major milestone for Vanderbilt and helped set the foundation for SPC and integrate all the teams throughout Vanderbilt. This was a large undertaking, however, having seen the market response to the enhancement of the system, it makes the hard work worthwhile. We changed the market with this release, which has enabled our customers to work and operate in a completely new way. We undertook a redesign of the communications and users’ systems and structures, the end goal was to reduce installation time, maximize security and to prove a flexible system could facilitate a domestic system through to a multi-tenant structure with variable access and intrusion permissions.

Can you tell us about a memorable activity or a notable project you have been involved in?

It has to be the release of SPC Connect 2.0 allowing us to provide solutions via the cloud. We knew at the time that we were creating something special - something that will change how security evolves.

How do you see the industry changing over the next five years?

The IoT (Internet of Things) is hugely important and we are ready for this. Over the next five years, we will continue to see the consumer become more security conscious, not only about physical security but also digital security. We see this more and more with highly detailed questions on encryption and protection on both the SPC system and the ecosystem serving it. We also see the demands of customers changing; they want instant support and resolution of issues, which in turn is changing the way we work.

And finally, can you tell us how do you like to spend your time on your days off?

I have just bought a house so I am becoming a DIY expert. When I have time off from this I enjoy watching rugby - Ireland and Munster. At the moment both teams are in great form, so, alas, the DIY is suffering!