Acquia Partner Profile: OPIN Software
by Reena Leone
At Acquia, our partners are an incredible part of our success. In this series, we’ll be profiling some of our premier partners, showcasing who they are and what they do, in their own words.
We had the opportunity to sit with Chris Smith, the CEO and founder of OPIN Software, a Canadian Drupal agency that often partners with Acquia on large-scale projects within government, sports and health care.
“At the beginning, it was just two of us. My role started as a developer, with a sales person by my side. Of course, since then my role has evolved. Today, I focus a lot on sales and scaling the business. I’m also responsible for ensuring the team is constantly learning and being challenged through their work.”
OPIN Quick Facts:
- Founded: October, 2011
- Location: Ottawa, Canada
- Number of employees: 20
- Top clients: Government of Bermuda, Canada Games Council, Government of Canada and the Canadian Museum of History
- Awards: Acquia 2016 Partner of the Year, Acquia 2015 Partner Site of the Year in the public sector category, 2014 International Summit Creative Awards
What’s your least favorite buzzword?
“Game-changer, disruptive, world-class, … I could go on."
What project / work are you most proud of?
"I’m very proud of the work we do with SOS Children Villages Canada. We started working with the organization in 2012. A large portion of our work for them was pro-bono; our job was to assist them reach their target audiences and increase donations to their cause. Since our involvement, we’ve been successful in helping double traffic to their website. This has increased online donations, which are used to support children who’ve lost their families in different parts of the world.
I’m also really proud of the work we’re doing with the Canada Games Council. The Canada Games encourages young athletes and students to pursue sports and a healthy lifestyle. As a National Partner of the Games, our contribution has helped broaden the opportunity for youth, parents, and fans across Canada to stay connected and up-to-date with the Games.”
What areas are you looking to expand or invest in in the future?
“Moving into 2017, we’ll be doubling down on our key verticals – government, sport and health care. We’re investing in expanding our reach, developing relationships, and informing decision makers of the value of open source, specifically Drupal.
From a technology aspect, our team will be focusing on furthering Drupal 8 core and key contributed modules. We will also continue investing in the local open source communities where we do business.”
What environments do you support?
“Today, we work with Drupal 8 as a variety of marketing tools depending on the needs of our clients.”
What role do customers ask you to play in technology strategy or selection?
“We specialize in Drupal, and leverage the platform to work with our clients and build a solution that meets their goals. We plan, design, build and deploy; that is typically our process.”
What tech trends are you most excited about?
“It’s awesome that applications are becoming more native in the way they feel. The increasing trend of client-side technologies in Drupal is also great. Especially in the world of Drupal, it will give us and similar agencies an advantage, but also adds a lot of value to clients in terms of a better user experience. I’m also excited about the trends in infrastructure and cloud. As organizations like Acquia move to more modern, powerful and flexible virtualization tools, it will decrease the cost and effort required to deploy complex solutions.”
What is most important to you / what do you value most as an agency?
“I see our company as an incubator for people. We invest heavily in our employees in terms of training and ensuring they’re always challenged, whether it be through obtaining certifications like the Acquia Developer Certification, or sending them to conferences so they can learn and eventually become thought leaders.
We hire a lot of graduates straight out of school, and really give them the chance to work on great projects. We’ve had the opportunity to work with big names, like the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics and it’s been great to see our young developers grow and deliver these amazing projects.”
What makes you unique?
“In line with our culture of continuous learning, everyone in our company, including our sales team, is Acquia certified.
We also have a strong focus on corporate social responsibility. Each year, our company puts over a million dollars towards supporting Canadian non-profits and charities, either through pro-bono work or sponsorships. We’re proud to help these organizations reach their goal. Clients who work with us can know that a large part of the money they put in will go back into the community.”
How would you describe the culture at your agency? What are the people like?
“I think our culture is empowering, trusting and open in terms of communication, and very knowledge centric. We value external learning, but also internal mentorship and learning from each other. It’s a fun and easy-going environment, but hardworking. “
What’s one random fact about your agency?
“We named our development teams ‘pods’ after a family of killer whales. A killer whale is basically a super smart, aggressive dolphin, so we decided it’s fitting for our development teams.”
Why partner with Acquia?
“Acquia is the largest Drupal technical support and infrastructure company in the world. They bring tremendous value to our clients, and their team is great to work with – very collaborative and supportive.”