Team Stories – Paul Dunleavy, Head of IT
Why our Head of IT is so key to Granby’s Success
With the rapid advancements in technology and the increasing reliance on digital systems, the role of a Head of IT has become increasingly important in organisations across all sectors.
At Granby Marketing Services, our Head of IT, Paul Dunleavy, has been at the forefront of innovation and digital transformation within the company.
Paul’s primary objectives are:
- To ensure Granby’s technology infrastructure meets the current and future needs of the company.
- To develop new digital solutions that will help the business to remain competitive and grow.
- To standardize and automate many of the company’s processes to improve efficiency and reduce business overheads.
IT and the effective management of data will always be a moving target
This is why the role matters and Paul has been instrumental in standardising and automating many of the company’s processes to improve efficiency and reduce business overheads.
His efforts to replace legacy systems and standardise the technology stack have not only made the company’s operations smoother but also paved the way for emerging technologies such as AI and machine learning.
“Early wins in the business were to take a lot of repetitive development activities we would do for clients and turn them into standardised ‘turn key’ solutions along with permanently ‘squashing’ bugs. This reduced our turnaround time and improved our effectiveness as a department to deliver higher value.” Paul Dunleavy
Challenges on the horizon
However, as technology continues to evolve at an unprecedented pace, Paul is the first to point out there are several major challenges that any Head of IT will have to contend with in the coming years.
“As technology continues to evolve at an unprecedented pace, we will have to contend with several major challenges in the coming years. These include the pace of technological change, the need to upgrade and replace IT infrastructure and systems more frequently, and the importance of remote working capabilities and agile technology infrastructure.” Paul Dunleavy
Paul says this means he and his team will need to adopt a proactive and strategic approach to IT investment, ensuring the company’s systems are fit for purpose in the long term.
Impact of Covid-19
And finally, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of remote working capabilities and agile technology infrastructure. Paul points out that Granby had already started rolling out Microsoft Teams. And the company had switched to a cloud telephony system that put us ahead of the game. But he acknowledges the organisation will need to continue to look at implementing systems suited to flexible working arrangements. This is a must to ensure the continuity of business operations in times of crisis.
An Unconventional Journey
Paul’s journey into IT is unique, as he initially aspired to work in the art and design field. However, he eventually shifted his focus to IT due to his natural talent for problem-solving. That, and his keen awareness of the commercial realities faced by many in the creative industries. He completed his HND at Blackburn College and pursued a degree through night school. But Paul’s passion for IT truly began when he wrote code for small games for the ZX Spectrum magazine in the late 80s. It brought him immense joy to immerse himself in the “creative zen” of software development.
All about Balance
When he’s not busy working on IT solutions, Paul enjoys weight training, fishing, and golf as a way to unwind and recharge.
And he believes these hobbies are a key part of balancing a successful career in IT with his personal life. Weight training brings with it discipline and the importance of perseverance in achieving goals; Fishing and Golf, on the other hand, are all about focus, patience and problem-solving – skills highly transferable to the IT world. And with three children, every day for Paul is a school day, he says it has taught him patience, at least!
“To be successful in such a dynamic and challenging role, anyone needs to possess not only technical knowledge and expertise but also excellent communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills. Paul has these qualities in abundance.” Victoria Pittman
Paul’s commitment to collaboration with his colleagues and finding solutions that work for everyone is clear. He has a close working relationship with his colleagues, especially Leon Robinson, our senior developer. Paul credits Leon with having an impressive array of technical knowledge and skills. Paul says Leon made a major contribution to the development of our systems. However, it is probably Dave Saunders, our Head of Warehousing, who sees most of Paul. This is because the pair are close collaborators on a daily basis, with SCOPe, our warehousing and fulfilment platform being such a pivotal part of the business.
We know this is a big issue for clients and as our Head of IT, Paul takes the security of our systems very seriously. We follow industry best practices and have held Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation for many years. Even though this accreditation is only now becoming a minimum benchmark for security. Additionally, we have measures in place to secure what limited customer information we hold for order fulfilment. And we automatically redact this for most clients when no longer useful. We have also developed a comprehensive business continuity plan and cyber insurance to mitigate any worst-case eventualities.
As he sets his sights on leveraging emergent technologies to keep Granby competitive in the future, Paul has his next challenge in mind already.
“My biggest frustration is when the status quo is accepted or something could be improved but people don’t ask, there is always an opportunity to think and work smarter. Helping people is what we are here for. There is so much creativity and innovation to be found by unshackling ourselves from daily tasks that are repetitive or add no value.” Paul Dunleavy
If anyone can find the solution, Paul can. There’s no doubt that Paul Dunleavy is an exceptional Head of IT and a valuable asset to the Granby team.