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 November 25 2015

Challenge met: manage a company separated into several sites (La Presse)

An article published in La Presse where our president, Stephane Rouleau, discusses the challenges of growing a business and the solutions we have found. MARTIN PRIMEAU, special collaboration, La Presse

An article published in La Presse where our president, Stephane Rouleau, discusses the challenges of growing a business and the solutions we have found.

MARTIN PRIMEAU, special collaboration, La Presse

Each acquisition brings its own set of challenges for the SME manager. And this is especially true when offices are geographically distant. Stéphane Rouleau, president and co-founder of Spiria (formerly Innobec), knows all about this. After integrating a Montreal-based competitor, the company set foot in Gatineau and plans to expand its activities elsewhere in North America.

It was in 2010 that Stéphane Rouleau decided to put his foot on the gas pedal. His company, software developer Spiria (formerly Innobec), was going to grow through acquisitions.

The first came the following year. The SME then got its hands on its Montreal cousin Logiweb and its team of 15 developers. The adventure would allow Spiria to familiarize itself with the integration process before extending its tentacles to the off-island market.

And let's say that the experience will have been rich in learning.

It was more difficult than expected," admits Stéphane Rouleau, president and co-founder of Spiria. There were some departures, but we learned a lot. »

What does he take away from the experience? He hammers out a single word as an answer: "culture". In his view, the meshing of the values of two merging companies is critical to the future success of the new entity, and he may have misjudged it.

But don't think that this experience would curb Spiria's ambitions. On the contrary. Its president now felt better equipped, and ready to take the next step: the acquisition of an office outside of Montreal.

REMOTE MANAGEMENT

Spiria was first considering Ontario, specifically Ottawa.

"We wanted to learn how to manage remotely, but also to understand how things work in another province," explains the company's co-founder.

He finally set his sights on Dium, a company located across the Ottawa River in Gatineau. "We realized that the cultural "fit" was very good with it, so we didn't hesitate for long. »

Despite this wise precaution, the new acquisition would bring its share of challenges. Challenges that arose from the distance that separated the employees who had to collaborate.

"When there were problems associated with a project that involved people in both offices, some people tended to blame the other quickly. »

- Stéphane Rouleau, president and co-founder of Spiria

"Others even asked to see the resumes of those they worked with in the other office. »

To solve the problem, the company purchased a Lifesize video teleconferencing system, a "high quality Skype," explains Stéphane Rouleau.

Suddenly, collaboration was easier," he adds. Communication is the key. »

Nevertheless, Spiria has learned from experience that it was better to limit the number of projects involving employees in its two offices.

"We changed our approach a little by going with a global thinking, but a local action," says the president of the company in the Mile-Ex district.

More here: http://plus.lapresse.ca/screens/07233335-56b1-4e05-8145-74908629ec8b%7C_0.html Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

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