6 mins | 1050 words
By: Randy Gaudreau
Global consulting and technology services provider Avanade has come a long way since emerging in 2000 as a joint venture between Microsoft and global professional services and consulting company Accenture.
Today, US-headquartered Avanade has about 52,000 professionals working in 25 countries – continuing to help businesses transform for the digital era. Their aim is to help clients get the most out of their technology through the Microsoft ecosystem, from CRM software, AI, cloud, application services or data technology solutions that can help them transform the way they do business.
“The foundational reasoning behind Avanade was to tackle the enterprise market with the Microsoft stack,” said Mathieu Couture, Avanade Ottawa General Manager, National Government and Public Services Executive. “Essentially, it’s taking the industry breadth and depth of Accenture, and bridging it with Microsoft technologies, and today, cloud.”
Mathieu seemed to enjoy a moment of reflection during the interview, after noting that the company he joined back in 2004 is already now over 20 years old and has grown exponentially here in Ottawa.
“That’s something I’m really, really proud of,” he said smiling. “I started in 2004 and we were, maybe a team of three people at that point. As we worked in this market, we developed a bit of a strategic growth plan around making this market here in Ottawa a sizeable one.”
“Today we have a team of 80 people in Ottawa,” he said. “And we keep growing.”
A trend of underusing powerful technology
Having a wealth of expertise in all things Microsoft has enabled Avanade to evolve and grow as a natural provider for government and crown corporations in the Ottawa area looking to modernize.
But even if clients are often adding Microsoft software to their infrastructure such as Office or Microsoft 365 or Power Platform because of the value it provides – that doesn’t mean they’re using the software to their full potential.
This unused potential led to another recently released initiative dubbed the Hatch, which aims to closely work with clients to quickly solve challenges and provide solutions.
“The Hatch is a virtual innovation centre,” he explained. “What we often see is clients will buy a whole bunch of software. Say, they bought Power Platform and they bought M365 – so they have Office and everything, but they’re potentially unleashing one per cent of five per cent of the power that is in the software.”
“For instance, Microsoft Teams, you could plug in AI and have your employees chat with an HR chatbot to ask, “how many vacation days do I have left?” And the chatbot could give you that answer. That’s the type of innovation the Hatch can unleash for someone – tailored in a way.”
Mathieu also made sure to point out that, Accenture and Microsoft are “viewing the Ottawa market as a priority,” and added that there are more projects on the way and yet to be announced that will further expand the Avanade presence here in Ottawa.
Where there is growth there are opportunities
As with any company, growth equals opportunity. And according to Mathieu, Avanade offers a unique environment to tech-based talent looking to refine and grow their skills.
“We offer an environment that I think it’s unprecedented, unmatched in terms of possibilities and refining your own skills,” he said.
“Usually when you come in, you could just have technical skills. But as you grow through a company like ours, you can add leadership, you can add all the angles of consulting,” he explained. “Helping you becoming a better version of yourself is what we do, and you know you’ll even ex-employees will tell you that. It’s probably the best in the business for what we offer,” he said.
“The sky is the limit. The only limiting factor to your own growth is yourself in a company like ours.”
To help those setting their sites on joining the Avanade team – we’ve put together a few points mentioned by Mathieu that you might want to consider:
Currently in demand at Avanade
“Always open is anything around Dynamics 365, so CRM, Power Platform, Portal. We’re always looking for anyone that fits that kind of profile and has experience in that space, including senior roles. And then second to that would be data and AI – that space is also a very in-demand area where we’re looking for architect level resources.”
“The big theme right now at Avanade, is everybody needs to adopt a growth mindset,” Mathieu said. “We don’t like to have a fixed mindset about people, about our clients, about the world, because that’s not how we grow.”
“And we’re all guilty about that,” he added, “so we’re training all of our staff, and our leadership into really operating in the grow area. And that actually means sometimes putting people into uncomfortable positions where they’ll have to learn. And you learn and you grow through that.”
Not Microsoft certified? No problem
Considering the specialization on Microsoft, you might think being Microsoft Certified would be a hard-line requirement to join the Avanade team. And generally speaking – you’d be right. However, as Mathieu explains, it’s not necessarily required to get in the Avanade door.
“You don’t have to be certified coming in. You have one year to get your certification done within your specialty, but Avanade gives you all the tools, the practice, the education and support you need to get that done.”
An opportunity to bring more than tech skills
“To me, the ideal candidate is someone that can immerse themselves into our customer’s business, and merge that with their technical abilities,” Mathieu said. “And the people that are really, successful in our consulting business are the people that can bridge those two worlds.”
“If you’re just a techie, you’ll still have a place,” he added, “but the people that are most successful can immerse themselves on the business end and merge it with the technology end, and drive outcomes.”
Multi-city job postings are commonplace – but there’s still a massive focus on growing Ottawa
“A lot of the positions on our website are listed that way,” said Mathieu about the positions on the job postings website that list more than one city as locations for the position. “That’s sort of an outcome of the pandemic. We’re not as city-focused necessarily because a lot of people work remotely.”
“But rest assured,” he added. “We’re looking to massively grow Ottawa.”
To see what opportunities are available with Avanade – visit their careers page here.