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Delphix Partner Spotlight on Alithya

For more than two decades, Alithya has provided expertise and innovative solutions in software development, modernization, and quality assurance. We spoke with Vice President of Business Development Michel Lacasse about the company's extensive work in modernizing the financial services and insurance industries.

Tell us about Alithya and the unique practices you provide to customers. 

In February, Askida joined Alithya, a leader in digital strategy and transformation. Alithya does business in 37 states and has four offices in Europe, so we have grown from a national company to an international company.

We focus on two complimentary but distinct areas: custom software development and QA consulting. We’ve developed a specialty in our customer software development practice for modernizing legacy applications. This in turn leads to large transformational projects that leverage our QA consulting practice.

For our software development practice, we combine agile methodologies and two technical stacks that include either open source and Java or the Microsoft Suite and .NET components. While we address different vertical markets, including telco, retail, service, and manufacturing distribution, we’ve developed deep expertise in the finance services and insurance industries over the last 15 years. 

We also help our customers create customized features for their ERP systems that don’t exist in their standard package. We drive implementation for QA best practices, create solid test plans for applications or projects, automate testing processes, and provide testing support for near-sourced application development teams. Once they reach the right level of maturity, they adopt Askida CT, which is our own product that orchestrates continuous testing.

Askida CT uses keyword technology to automate testing so a non-technical user can create the test suite, and complete the test environment configuration with Delphix. The integration with Delphix is seamless and the instant access to data creates a very powerful solution.

How do you differentiate your business in a competitive market? 

The reality is not many companies can tackle large projects or support application modernization in the vertical markets we address. We have 120+ people working in field, support, or engineering roles, which positions us as one of the leaders in the country.

We also provide our customers with a fixed bid model, while the main pricing model from most vendors is by time and materials—which can get out of control for projects that deal with massive transformations.

In what ways do customers benefit from Delphix and Alithya working together?  

About three years ago, we launched what is now a standard offering for our QA consulting group. For the first five or six projects, we kept coming up with the same recommendation: they needed an efficient way to manage test data. 

While many of our customers already have releases daily, the expectations for faster delivery is only going to increase. In turn, they needed a solution that delivers data when and where they need it because companies simply can’t keep pace if they are waiting weeks and weeks for a large database to be provisioned. As we sought out a solution, we learned about Delphix.

We liked the flexibility of Delphix’s virtualization capability, allowing application teams access to data wherever they are and at the right time to support continuous testing, which is a critical element of DevOps.

We knew the integrated masking technology was an important capability given all the new regulations worldwide, and it’s clearly changed the game for us from a competitive standpoint.

Realize that we are Delphix customers as well. The application teams in our QA practice love the product. Because a large piece of our business addresses finance and insurance companies, security is a top priority. We secure lower-level environments which is often part of a larger security and auditing practice. Being able to offer a masking solution means we can provide a greater value with our offering than our competitors.  

Our top priority for 2020 is to invest in a professional services practice built specifically around the Delphix platform. We are certifying sales and pre-sales engineers, so Delphix can rely on us for professional service delivery in the future.

We’ve had a great partnership so far. The Delphix sales and channel teams are always there to support us when needed, and having access to so many resources means we can offer training across our many field offices. Really, they are part of our business, and we work hand-in-hand with customers.

What is the level of cloud adoption among your customer base?

More and more of our customers are moving appdev to the cloud, so Delphix’s partnership with the major cloud players, including AWS, Azure, and GCP, is an important component of our overall solution. Right now, we are helping a large telco company establish application development in AWS, and the solution will include Delphix for test data provisioning and security in this hybrid model.  

While most customers we work with are using a hybrid model for appdev, we expect this to change in the coming years as cloud-native application development becomes part of their future direction and strategy.  

Which applications and databases do you leverage Delphix the most?

Most projects for custom development work are part of an ERP project, like Oracle EBS, MS Dynamics, Salesforce, or SAP. With regard to databases, we have a lot of customers running Oracle, Sybase, MongoDB, DB2, and SQL.

Besides application development on-prem and in the cloud, what are the other ways you support customers using Delphix?

We are seeing a growing number of business intelligence use cases, where we’re helping teams populate their BI environments using Delphix. The demand has grown so much that we now have a BI consulting practice using a variety of different products, like Power BI, Tableau, and others.

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