Strategy, vision and passion! – A coffee with Frederick Micallef, Databyte.

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Frederick MicallefBy the end of this year, DataByte will be launching two flagship products in line with their strategy to becoming strong players with delivering cloud software solutions: a further improved version of WORKFORCE their HR cloud solution with extended HR functionality and a separate 3PL Managed Warehousing cloud solution. Whilst consolidating locally, DataByte will be eyeing international markets which they plan to address with marketing assistance from Gartner as their marketing partners.

CorporateDispatch caught up with Mr Frederick Micallef, the company’s Managing Director. Here’s how it went.

Frederick Micallef is a motivator. One sees it in his eyes as they glow when he talks enthusiastically about the business and his latest portfolio of software products. He portrays a passion that is almost contagious.

“Motivation keeps me going and the day my motivation stops will be the day when I will stop coming to work. I look at work as a reward for the strong collective effort of all my team. I look at the boldness and the strength of our products created by our team and this becomes a collective rewarding experience that makes us more unified. Winning a new client is rewarding for everyone. We see every new client as the reward token of our collective effort for all the team.”

“Business takes up most of my time, but I know my priorities. When I’m out of the office, I like to believe I’m good company. And I embrace humour because that has always been part of who I am. I prefer leading, but I nurture a great deal of respect for those who have been more successful than me and I do my best to learn from them. Perhaps I’m best described as a persistent and eternal optimist. My colleagues constantly ask me ‘why are you so positive and how do I find it in me to keep pursuing a client for so long? That’s because motivation, drive and positivity inspire me, as do people who walk that extra mile.”

Frederick remembers the setting up of DataByte as fondly as he does when he recalls the day he met his wife for the first time and the day his son was born. Definitely defining moments of his life.

“They are three of my fondest recollections. In fact, DataByte came quite as a surprise since my dream was always to go into software development. In the early eighties, it was difficult because there was lack of academic preparedness to pursue. I chose to focus on academic training to better understand the development of software in a scientific way. Eventually I started creating the first basic applications.”

“In 1982, Rank Xerox started importing computers to Malta, but these came without software for the local market. Through interaction with Joe Ross who was my mentor and co-founder in DataByte and who entered the IT world as a first generation professional even before I did, I devised the first payroll and inventory systems for these machines. Basically, we complemented each other and when some years later he was thinking of setting up his company DataByte, he wanted me on board with him as his partner. That was 1986!”

databyte workforce.jpeg

Today, DataByte’s flagship product is its successful WORKFORCE, a suite of cloud HR modules which includes HR document management, HR calendar systems, Time & Attendance, a Payroll module a Leave Management module and a new Facilities Management application. WORKFORCE is still destined to grow and will see other HR related modules coming in such as Rostering and Scheduling and performance Appraisal to mention the next 2 systems in the pipeline.

“Cloud computing is rapidly changing the dynamics of how and where, people organise their IT infrastructures. Businesses need to consider the cloud as part of a sensible and risk-managed approach. Because businesses remain responsible of their own data and the measures they take to protect it.”

 “The future is cloud technology. The industry knows this and they know we’re heading there. Today, we are at a point when we are being associated with those corporates who want to think big. We are currently penetrating the market both by way of our cloud software solutions as well as through the interfacing route of linking our HR suite to third party applications.”

“In fact, the speed with which technology changes has always been the biggest challenges we’ve had to overcome. Back in the very early stages we had to be experts in software development, in systems analysis, experts to consult on technology, hardware, communications and support. Today this is no longer sustainable, and the expertise needs to be spread within the more knowledgeable team that we employ.”

 What advice would Frederick Micallef give to someone starting off a business today?

“I’d say be totally committed to your business venture and to be focused. Know what you want to achieve and make sure you get there, be knowledgeable so you show you are a professional and be motivator to lead your team through. Never give up and carry on, no matter how many times you fall.”

Asked whether he has any regrets, Frederick does not need to think. “From a business perspective, perhaps my regret is that of not going into business development with a more hands-on approach at an earlier stage. By nature, I am a software developer and I’ve always preferred a more hands-on approach, so I know that had I given more time to business development, maybe the growth we are experiencing now could have come earlier. Now I’m doing less and less development and more business development. But I suppose, everything happens for a reason!”

Corporate Interviews are carried by James Vella Clark from Corporate Identities. 


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