President & CEO
When Mitch McDermid launched Innovana, he had an evident vision of what he wanted the company to look like and what it could offer that was different from existing IT services and consulting firms. There was a clear need for a cloud-based services and business automation solutions provider that would address the needs of SMBs both from a pricing and service standpoint in Canada. Mitch and his team have been laser-focused on serving that niche.
One of the company’s most influential and innovative solutions is its Innovana Transformational Resource Acquisition Development (iTRAD™) program, which involves Innovana partnering with leading IT learning institutions across Canada to help students launch their careers. “Grads come and work with us, get real-world skills, and are welcome to go work client-side should they wish, which allows us to provide dependable resource supply chain management for our clients,” says Mitch. “The beauty of iTRAD is that it’s a made-in-Canada solution that utilizes our talent here at home instead of offshoring while supporting the growth and development of Canada’s IT industry.”
Another part of Mitch’s vision when founding Innovana was to keep the size of the firm SMB-friendly. “The biggest names in automation/AI implementation are great at what they do, but because they’re so big they’re also slower to move and react,” explains Mitch.
“I wanted Innovana to be agile and able to turn on a dime whenever needed to react quickly to our clients’ demands. That’s the level of responsiveness companies need to stay on the leading edge.”
A momentous step for Mitch has been to be involved with Indigena Technologies. Innovana is a 49% share owner of this 51% Aboriginally owned technology firm that provides the foundation to help Aboriginal youth and women grow their careers in IT across Canada. This endeavor will have a long-term, meaningful, and positive impact on career development for generations of Indigenous people. Innovana’s role is to provide Indigena with long-term strategic business growth and Technology support service infrastructure direction, with the long-term goal to develop Indigena Technology Inc. into one of the largest Aboriginal Technology companies in Canada and North America that supplies technology advancement not only to Indigenous communities across Canada but also open up a whole new opportunity for Indigenous people of Canada to develop their passions and professional careers in IT across Canada and contributing to the expansion of IT Growth as Canadians.
Becoming A Supportive Leader
For Mitch, learning to be a good leader is an ongoing process, starting with being a good listener. Giving everyone in the room a voice and listening intently before forming an opinion or making a decision is vital. A good leader understands the value of surrounding oneself with smart people and that a leader is only as good as the team, they create.
Being a good leader also means being open to new directions and approaches and taking accountability for your decisions. “I also feel deeply responsible for the people I am leading and am always careful to stay within the mindset that I am responsible for multiple things within the organization at once: the team, our company vision, fiscal growth, career development, and more, and need to maintain a healthy balance within the organization,” says Mitch. “My background as an elite athlete created an incredible foundation for my leadership skills. As an athlete, you learn how important it is to set goals and find a path to achieve them through hard work, discipline, focus, determination, commitment, and passion. These are all qualities I bring to Innovana every day.”
Building A Brand
A considerable achievement Innovana has attained is introducing one of the biggest grocery retailers in the world to the iTRAD program so they could grow their tech resources here in Canada rather than offshoring some of their support. This allowed them to become much more Canada-centric while decreasing the outsourced consulting costs to large IT consulting firms by 65%. This led to higher staff retention while reducing their head-count cost from $270K down to just $65K. “One of the other great advantages of hiring students is that companies enjoy greater long-term retention – on average between five to seven years,” he says. “Meanwhile, we support the students’ career growth with dev ops training and certify them on major platforms such as Microsoft, Google, Service Now, Workday, and more.”
Another success Innovana enjoyed was when they worked with a tier-one telco and internet provider to automate their centralized procurement process. The goal was to automate the P.O. process and approvals with greater accuracy. Before implementation, the firm could get a large order, but there was no tracking process for validating the receipt of a received order. This caused them to carry above $220 million in expense liability. Through automation, they enjoyed significantly greater sign-off, and accountability on orders received.
“But the achievement I’m most proud of is seeing my vision of iTRAD come to life and continue to gain momentum. We’re giving grads real-world opportunities to learn while making an income, contributing positively to society, and keeping IT jobs here in Canada,” says Mitch proudly. “It started with us developing partnerships with a couple of learning institutions in Ottawa and Toronto, and it’s growing. We have a partnership opportunity we’re exploring in British Columbia and have another Centre of Excellence – iGENESIS LAB, arranged with a prominent downtown Toronto college, which will focus on a complete 4 stage development operations environment to handle all aspects of managed services, cyber security, data management, and analytics, and complete services to support Microsoft, Amazon, Google suite of applications.” Innovana has also developed an Innovana Automation Office – iAUTOMATE – that will provide that unique opportunity to have access to complete automation vs. having to invest in infrastructure and personnel to support their in-house operations. This service will support SMBs and specific enterprise environments with enterprise-level service at SMB-friendly price points.
Innovana has two more iTRAD labs under development: one in Ottawa specializing in cloud/IT services for the federal government and one in British Columbia that will complement our iGENESIS lab in Toronto. They plan to expand their footprint into the US with locations in Houston (Texas), Raleigh (North Carolina), and Northern California. “We are also expanding our services into cyber security, and a few new technology platforms that will heighten the trend in Innovative Technology for industry,” adds Mitch. “We will combine this with our R&D growth with iGENESIS Labs to open up and expand software development and interesting new ways to utilize technology for Government, Retail, Travel, Entertainment, FinTech, Pharma, Telco and Business Operation advancement and innovation.”
President & CEO