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CIO Profile - Aaron Quinn

Sharing his insights and perspectives, Aaron Quinn, Director of Business Transformation and IT at Cooneen Group, notes that while IT is a key driver of innovation in companies it must also present its business value. In 2021, Quinn was awarded as IT Professional of the year (Highly Commended) at the Belfast Telegraph IT Awards. 

What is your view of IT Departments in 2022?

Historically IT have been perceived as a cost centre and not the trusted partner they are, this is changing rapidly and the Covid-19 pandemic only accelerated this. As IT professionals when we gain our seat at the table, we need to deliver value.  Collectively we must gain confidence from the business to invest by returning on this investment.  

Strategy is essential but execution is key. Be flexible in your approach to the business though robust in ensuring you are setup for success, control the flow and quality of requests from the business and present innovative solutions.  Focus on adding value through your understanding of the business, applications and processes. 

Change the mind-set, success depends on IT initiatives clearly aligned to business goals. 

What specific professional achievements led to you being awarded IT Professional of the year (Highly Commended)?

I have led and managed numerous high-profile projects in my professional career. However, operating within the Global Pharma Industry brings both challenges and opportunity for business change, a learning curve which I embraced. Competently working cross functionally in a highly regulated environment delivering projects such as implementation of a Global Stability System while managing the complexities involved (i.e., Computer System Qualification and Validation) has been a significant professional achievement. 

Similarly, developing and executing a four-pillar strategy for IT within the Conneen Group was equally as challenging. Building from the basics, implementing a platform for technology enhancement and business partnering was a significant and exciting piece of work. Enabling lean and efficient processes overlaid with core technology, delivers business insights with data driven decision making.

Additionally, strategically selecting partners for integration and automation capability which can be utilised cross functionally, unlocking value and maximising return on investment. Working across multiple industries shows flexibility and provides you with a diverse skill set. This positively affects the culture of your organisation.  

What would you say to ICS members who are currently considering thinking about applying for CITP status? 
Pursuing and achieving accreditation, demonstrates I am committed to pursuing excellence in my professional career. CITP status provides additional opportunities by entering an elite professional network, recognising and validating your continuous improvement efforts. It gives employers confidence in your abilities and knowledge which combined with a business orientated mind-set can change the perception of IT in an organisation, drive tech investment and deliver real business change.  

Why are you an ICS member and would you recommend all IT professionals consider becoming ICS members in the future?  

ICS membership gives you access to a community of peers. I would recommend investing time in building your network, help others when you can and ask for advice when you require it. Rarely do you encounter an IT matter that is unique, use your ICS network to gain a fresh perspective on issues to aid resolution. It also provides an excellent forum to stay current with advancement in tech throughout many different industries and the impact to each business ultimately de-risking your investment and maximising success.  

The unique eCF tool allows you to perform self-assessment against the European Competency framework. Additionally, you can extend this capability within your own department and create appropriate progression frameworks. Advantageous in that it assists you in building a high performing team potentially identifying particular skillsets which you might not have realised existed. 

IT departments need to change the way they view themselves while assisting the business to move beyond their rigid stereotype that IT is a cost centre.  Yes, the business relies on IT to cover basic critical tech support functions. However, we must realise that IT is a key strategic player within a business to support growth, innovation, margin/overhead control, business winning criteria and collaborative working.  

Delivering business value is vital. To do so, take a step back and understand the ‘why’ it’s equally as important to the end goal as the execution or delivery.


Aaron Quinn became Director of Business Transformation and IT, Cooneen Group in September 2020. Prior to joining Cooneen, Quinn was Head of IT Program Delivery at Norbrook Laboratories. He held several senior positions with Sanderson PLC (Aptean) as principal Consultant UK and Ireland and previously ERP Program Manager UK and North America. Quinn started his career as a developer at Datos and progressed into increasingly customer/business centric roles, specialising in business partnering and analysis.  

Quinn holds a BSc (Hons) Computer Science, Chartered IT Professional ((CITP), specialty in Program and Project management), PMP trained, ITIL4, Convergence Essentials (BRM) and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certified. Quinn is a member of “The Association of Data Protection Officers (DPO), The Association of Service Management (SMF), The Association of IT Architecture (IASA) and the Business Analyst Association of Ireland (BAAI).  

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