By @SimonCocking

Business Showcase

Describe the company – the elevator pitch…

Aspira is a Consulting and Managed IT services specialist – an Irish company that delivers an International impact.  We provide expert consultancy in Project Management and Business Analysis, and as part of our Managed IT Services, we offer Software Development and Test Management solutions. It is a very broad service offering, backed by a world class team based in Cork and Dublin.

How are you different?

We differ from the norm in three key ways – our intense client focus, the deep expertise of our team, and the breadth of our service offering.

Aspira has an unremitting focus on identifying and meeting client needs – it’s what drives our day-to-day work practice. And since our clients really appreciate that effort, it makes it a very fulfilling place to work. Secondly, our team has a vast range of expertise – the people working in Aspira are seriously smart, with industry leading certifications and have loads of experience. And finally, the breadth of our services is huge – we really are a one-stop shop.

Where are you based?

Our headquarters are in Little Island, Cork and we have recently moved to an expanded custom-built office in the Docklands area of Dublin.

When was the company launched?

After working together in a multinational for years, in 2007, Colum Horgan and I took the opportunity to set up Aspira.

Why will the company do well?

When we founded the company, we set the explicit goal of treating our clients the way we always wished our suppliers would treat us. That has been a guiding principle for us ever since, and it defines a bunch of things that we will do and a bunch of things we won’t do.  For example, it means we act as flexibly as possible, we don’t make crazy commitments, we keep the commitments that we do make, we provide transparent billing, we don’t pull people off projects, and we don’t use our senior people to win a job only for our junior people to deliver it – the people who pitch for the job are the ones who will see it through.

Sadly, there are many bad practices in the industry, such as saying yes to everything and then failing to deliver. We espouse good project management practices and we provide training in these areas – it’s important to us that we live up to those principles.

What have been your biggest wins to date?

Aspira has won several awards in the past few years, including our recent inclusion, for the third year running, in the Deloitte Fast 50. Our recent appointment as a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) Direct Tier 1 partner – one of only a handful in Ireland – has also been a stand-out moment from 2016.

I am most proud of seeing our team’s incredibly hard work pay off by being the only Irish consulting company to win a place on an Office of Government Procurement Framework, where we have been selected alongside the Big 5 international consultancies. They are the companies with whom we can compete – and beat – for value and customer service.

What type of people (market segment) are you trying to attract to your product?

We work with enterprise clients, made up of multinationals and public sector or semi-state bodies. We work across market sectors, but have a particular focus on Energy/Utility, Financial Services and Medical Devices/Pharma.

Tell us about your team?

We have a diverse team of some exceptionally talented people. One of our big advantages in attracting and retaining staff has been the fact that we offer really stimulating and interesting work in a variety of fields. We try to match the roles to people’s career preferences and our work culture encourages the sharing of ideas and bouncing theories off each other.

Many of the projects we work on are challenging – in a good way – and require that we figure out solutions to very difficult problems. This means that the work is never repetitive and is very rewarding.

What are you long term plans for your product / company?

Over the past two years we have grown the range of services that Aspira delivers to multinationals, government and semi-state bodies. We have built up the Managed IT Services and the Testing and Test Management offerings.

At a strategic level, we are concentrating on developing further master service and framework agreement partnerships with enterprise organisations.  We have increased our international client base and over the next two years we may set up offices further afield.

What are your favourite tech gadgets?

My trusty iPhone never leaves my side. Panic sets in if the battery indicator turns red. I recently got a Virtual Reality headset, which is really cool, though somewhat disorienting.  I haven’t figured out a business use for it yet, but give me time.

Ever since my days programming a ZX81 computer and then a Commodore 64, I enjoyed playing sports games on computers, so I was particularly pleased to see the Aspira logo on the back of the Cork City FC jersey on the release of FIFA 17 on the X-Box and Playstation. That should be enough reason alone to upgrade from FIFA 16!

What tech gadgets do you wish you could use to help you?

I am trying to come up with a business justification to start working with drones, though our financial controller suspects I just want a toy to play with. I think drone technology could revolutionise many aspects of the way we do business.

We are also involved in a project which utilises 3-D printing technology which is another technological game-changer.  The pace of change is unrelenting and it is really important to embrace that change and take advantage of it rather than try to ignore it.

Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked?

One challenge I’d like to throw out there. When I started work, email was my natural communication medium – even though it wasn’t that long ago that people used inter-office printed memos to communicate with each other. The people going into college now don’t use email – they Snapchat or Instagram, or maybe Tweet or Facebook.

When those people enter the workforce, we will need to have a slew of social media-like business tools ready for their use. They will no more want to send an email than I was interested in typing a letter. It’s a huge opportunity for progressive companies.

How do people get in touch with you?

You can ring our Cork office at +353 21 235 2550, our Dublin office at +353 1 517 5777, email [email protected] or come chat to us over on Twitter @AspiraHQ.

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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