Justin Phelan is director of Keyhouse Computing Ltd, an innovative Irish software company that develops software solutions specifically for solicitors and SMEs in Ireland.
Keyhouse has the largest market share of the Top 500 law firms and in-house legal departments in the Republic of Ireland. Its software is constantly evolving and integrates closely with Microsoft Office, email and mobile platforms. Having specialised in the legal market for over 20 years, the firm has recently launched DocTopia, a new office software tailored to the SME market.
As Justin explains, “We have used our considerable experience in designing software for small to medium office environments to develop an easy and affordable document management and retrieval system for SMEs.
“It suits any small office that needs to have email and documents quickly and securely accessible in one place. To date, we have seen a lot of interest among life insurance brokers and IT service companies in particular but the product is adaptable to any small office setting.”
According to Justin, the firm’s long experience of and responsiveness to clients’ needs, both in product design and ongoing service, is what sets it apart. In fact, Keyhouse software incorporates many facilities that originated from client requests.
While he acknowledges the challenges facing all SME businesses in the current economic climate such as lack of investment funding, cash flow funding and stagnant markets, Justin says there are also challenges specific to the IT sector.
“IT companies must constantly invest in maintaining a command of all the relevant technology trends and techniques. To give yourself the best chance, you can’t keep doing exactly the same thing, even if successful. You have to keep improving what you do. Responsiveness, creativity, adaptability and persistence will all pay off.”
Within the IT sector, he rates Steve Jobs as an iconic industry leader. “I admired his tenacity, insistence on high standards of design and his sheer passion for what he was doing. Our industry is definitely poorer without him.”
Justin identifies mobile and cloud computing as key growth areas for the business in the year ahead. He also recognises the opportunities available to small businesses competing in today’s challenging marketplace.
“Delivering real cost-savings to customers must provide considerable opportunities. I think it’s also important to ensure that a business is ready to take advantage of any upturn in conditions. This requires re-thinking how products and services are developed and delivered. Now may be an opportunity to do this for many businesses. Move away from the business as usual mindset.”