The acquisition announced earlier this month not only grows the company, but also adds on to the company's expertise in integrating IT services, something Sinapse already did for the provincial government.
"They helped the Quebec government set up all the shared services, which Ottawa is now doing itself," says Paul Raymond, CIA's president. The firm is based in Quebec, but has an office in Ottawa. "So we think we have a really good experience in that area."
CIA is on a growth trajectory at the moment. Although the private firm did not disclose details on revenues or the amount of the acquisition, it noted it has recently opened a Toronto office and is considering buying more companies in the near future.
Western Canada is the most likely point of expansion, particularly in Vancouver and Alberta, because major customers such as Telus have a presence out west, says president Paul Raymond.
"Customers say if you keep working with us, you have to be out there. Vancouver and Alberta are two places they want us to be," Mr. Raymond says.
The combined 500-person firm is already hiring, including in Ottawa, to ramp up to an expected 150 more employees by the end of 2013. Project managers, analysts and business analysts are being sought right now.
Meanwhile, CIA is searching for companies to take over, with the firms' management teams eager to stay in place and grow.
Growth is possible in this tough financial market because of three things, Mr. Raymond says:
- Experience growing by acquisition in the executive team. Mr. Raymond himself used to work for CGI, an information technology and processes firm, and grew its presence in the U.S. northeast from nothing to more than $300 million in revenue, managing 2,000 employees.
- Restructuring the office support systems to include cloud computing, and streamlining operations where possible. "We did to ourselves what we said we could help our clients with," Mr. Raymond says.
- When markets are tough, he said clients tend to rely on consulting services for streamlining and automation. In rosier markets, companies are looking for opportunities to invest in systems that generate more revenues. "I'd say our business - if you do it well, which is always a big if - will do well in any economy," Mr. Raymond says.
"There’s a window of opportunity in the market right now. I think we have a perfect platform for growth, and we're looking at merging and acquiring companies that are like-minded to us, but where the management wants to stick around."