The pandemic forced many organizations to take a close look at what they do and how they can do it better. For Praveen Ramachandran and George Philip, co-founders of AOT Technologies – winner of this year’s DX Award in the Small Private Sector category – global uncertainty led first to reflection and then to complete reinvention.
“Until recently, our primary revenue source came from services,” said Ramachandran. “We came to realize the risk in this, and would eventually decide to reinvent ourselves. We wanted to become a more products and solutions space company, and with our years of experience working with BC public sector and other big enterprises, we came up with an open source framework that could accelerate digital transformation projects.”
AOT Technologies found the right product by looking at its own pain points.
“Initially we were a services company, and that’s what we knew how to do,” said Philip. “Working with various BC government entities, we found ourselves solving the same problem over and over again. In the end it became a matter of creating a product that addressed the pain.”
Philip said this transformation from services provider to product-maker was the fulfillment of a long-held wish.
“It’s what we always wanted to do – to create our own products. So we took all this learning and experience that we had working with government, and turned that into a product called Formsflow AI, which allows governments to rapidly create business applications.”
Both Ramachandran and Philip said smaller companies like theirs do well to focus on culture – to building the kind of culture where people are happy and thus in the best possible frame of mind to innovate.
“It’s first and foremost about the employee,” said Philip. “We wanted to build a place in which we wanted to be. We wanted to create a space where there is a very strong work/life balance. Even if you go on our website, it is clearly written: people first.”
Ramachandran too sees culture as having been a key piece in AOT Technologies’ digital transformation.
“Some some companies say they are customer-first, but we are an employee-first company. We believe if employees are happy, they will take care of our customers.”
Philip was pleased to accept the award on behalf of his organization. “It’s recognition for the work we’ve done in the past year,” he said, “and I believe that it will make us more visible to Canadian CIOs and other potential customers who would like to use our free and open source product to serve citizens and their people better.”