In 2016, for the first time in Quebec, 51% of IT jobs were not in specialized companies like ours, but in traditional businesses such as insurance companies and banks. In fact, Industrial Alliance told La Presse again this week that one out of every five jobs in their company is in IT. So it’s imperative to react to this phenomenon, which will only accelerate.
– Paul Raymond, President and CEO, Alithya

Alithya, a Quebec-based digital strategy and technology consulting company, supports its customers in their 4.0 transformation, more precisely by upgrading their systems in order to digitally optimize their activities.

Twilight coloured the view of the river and city in the office of Alithya’s president when I met with him. The company, in contrast, is far from its twilight years, having grown by 500% over the past six years and celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2017!

In Canada, France and the United States, Alithya has 1,600 consultants in the areas of strategic planning, technology architecture, performance and organizational transformation, as well as in the implementation of digital solutions. Immigration enables them to hire 23% of their workforce, while 35% of their employees are women, which is higher than the industry average. Alithya clearly places great importance on the principle of equal access to employment. Recognized for their efforts, this award-winning company was named National Grand Prize Champion at the Prix Créateurs d’emplois du Québec gala last month, and its president was nominated for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year award by Investissement Québec in 2016.

Bold and creative

At a time when Desjardins was facing decline, the Quebec company offered to help all its employees interested in starting a business by offering them a first contract of two years. Many young IT professionals chose to make the leap. This is what gave birth to Alithya, a small business in Lévis that brought together 10 former Desjardins employees. Today, Desjardins remains a client and is now an institutional investor through Desjardins Venture Capital.

In addition to strong organic growth, Alithya has made five acquisitions over the past five years and they expect to continue this trend, particularly abroad. “We try to find companies that resemble us,” Paul explains. “Companies with superior quality service, excellent reputation, interesting brand, and motivated teams that take on the challenge of growth. As part of the Alithya ‘family,’ these companies can participate in projects that they would not have had access to before.”

This also allows Alithya to remain relevant and strong enough in an environment where, in order to survive, evolving is a necessity. The company plans to become a public corporation over the next two years in order to enable more rapid development in the United States.

“Just six years ago, in our industry, the Canadian market was made up of major players such as CGI and IBM, as well as very small and specialized regional companies,” relates Alithya’s president. “We are now the second largest in the country. And I see that our success and ambition have inspired other local SMEs… which is great! They have a world of possibility at their feet.”

Alithya invests in in-house research to find solutions that meet the needs of their clients, most of whom are engaged in financial services, telecommunications, manufacturing, energy, transportation, health care and government services. “It was by wondering how we could help one of our clients that we created the FintechLab, which we established right across the street,” says Paul. “After presenting a very creative solution, we built the Lab from scratch in six weeks, and now there are almost 300 workstations. It’s the kind of project we love,” he says with a smile that conveys the most genuine enthusiasm.

The quest for talent

“Our biggest challenge, which will undoubtedly be with us for a long time, is workforce availability,” Paul emphasizes. He was, in fact, at a conference with the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec that very morning. “In our baby boom context, the current workforce decline will continue for a few more years in Quebec. With 3,000 new IT graduates per year and 12,000 available jobs, international recruitment is essential, although insufficient.”

Alityha’s president is therefore involved in the CyberCap group, a local NPO that helps troubled youth with projects that focus on digital media. He is lobbying the Quebec Prime Minister to implement this program in all high schools across the province. He proves himself a model in the search for concrete and doubly useful measures to address this problem that affects the tech industry so deeply!

Source: Mélanie Pilon, writer for the Vitrine Star Tech

Be a part of technopolys!

23May 2018

When we changed our business model, which was a really major shift towards a new adventure, I didn’t know of any other company in Quebec City that had adopted this SaaS model. There were so few players we could consult to find out how best to go about it, that we decided to design and test a prototype ourselves.
– Johanne Devin, CEO and Co-founder of WebSelf

WebSelf provides website creation tools that are simple, powerful and affordable, or free, to more than 3 million users in over 165 countries. Offering maximum functionality to people who want to develop their own website without having strong technological skills, the platform makes it easy for them, whether setting up a showcase site or an online store. “Even though it’s a standardized environment, we offer great flexibility and many features that can satisfy at least 99% of our customers’ needs,” indicates Johanne.

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09May 2018

Our clients, such as festivals like Francofolies de Montréal or Igloo Fest, appreciate not only that our solution saves them time and money, but also that they know exactly where their festivalgoers come from. Are they only in town for the two days of the event or are they extending their stay to discover the city? How many nights? Alone or accompanied, and by whom? In short, it’s all this data that represents a compelling advantage for our partners.
– Andrew Lockhead, CEO and Co-founder of Stay22

Stay22, an aggregator that lists nearly 6.5 million properties in 200 countries, helps travellers find the best accommodation options near the upcoming events they plan to attend. “We’ve targeted the niche of event management platforms, business conferences, festivals and more, which sets us apart in the huge online travel solutions market,” says Andrew.

Through agreements with partners such as Airbnb, but also with systems like Travelport and HotelsCombined, Stay22 offers visitors a hub that bringsall search resources together in one place, greatly simplifying the planning experience. Everything is adjusted on an interactive map that integrates directly with the event organizer’s website, ticket office or other online destination where users find themselves.

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02May 2018

Up until 2010, we often wondered if we wanted to invest in product development. Like many companies at the time, we were focussing on services in order to finance potential products. In the end, we decided to let go of the idea of designing products, because our service offering was really solid. After that, our growth curve was impressive, turning our 23-person team into the 150-person organization we are today.
– Stéphane Rouleau, President and Co-founder of Spiria

When I ask Stéphane to describe Spiria and their value proposition, he explains that the management team is actually trying to update their definition: “After 15 years of existence, it’s important to revisit it… simply said, we’re a digital solutions firm. Our clients call upon us to solve the digital components of their problems, due to lack of knowledge, resources or time on their part. In co-creation with them, we develop the best technology to optimize their activities.”

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