With an exemplary reputation in his field, David’s vast experience as a technology consultant and solution architect has spanned more than 15 years in some of the most complex business environments throughout Canada and around the world.
David’s focus on creative solutions is based on a strong belief that traditional software development practices are flawed, and his team routinely demonstrates a better approach with open source, Agile methods and cloud computing.
Prior to founding Architech, David provided consulting services to telecommunications and banking clients including Telus and RBC Royal Bank. Follow David on Twitter @davidsuydam, or connect with him on Linkedin.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What is Architech? What’s your role there?
Hi, I’m David Suydam, President of Architech, Toronto-based software consulting, design and engineering firm. I started the company in 2004 and we’ve grown from a 2-person shop – with a dining room as our office – to a team of more than 85, occupying two floors of an historic building on Bond St.
Using an Agile and Lean approach, we create great-looking custom web, mobile and cloud applications. We offer turnkey services required to make applications successful including application strategy, design, prototyping, engineering, integration, deployment and support.
Your website states that staff allocate 90% of their time to projects and 10% to learning, growing and trying new things – why is this 10% important?
We asked our staff what they really wanted and the resounding answer was “time”. Time to learn, time to explore, and time to play with technology. So we gave it to them.
The 10% time represents much of the innovation within Architech – like our adoption of continuous delivery in our projects. By giving our team the time to learn, explore and play with technology, we were able to examine and chain together a lot of open-source software, figuring it out and making it work. It was a valuable lesson for us in how important it is to give people breathing room beyond their dedicated project work and allowing innovation to rise to the surface.
Your tagline is “Creating Software Joy™” – how does Architech accomplish this? OR What is the secret ingredient to “Creating Software Joy”?
We’re passionate about Creating Software Joy™ for our clients and their customers. Basically, that means our goal is to wow our clients in everything we do. We believe that software applications should make lives better. They should make people smile. Applications should inspire, enable, and just plain make sense. Our technology accelerates time to market, delivering shorter development cycles so clients can explore exciting new opportunities. From enterprise systems to mobile applications, we engineer software that is a pleasure to use, maintain and enhance.
How do you and/ or Architech feel about the lack of women in the tech industry?
Frankly, it’s hugely disappointing. And it’s representative of a long-term trend that I first personally experienced doing my computer science degree in university, when maybe 5% of my classmates were women. It’s relatively easy to hire project managers, human resources or finance people, but when it comes to female technical and development staff it’s a major challenge. I believe it’s diversity – whether gender, race, nationality, personal beliefs – that breeds innovation. And innovation is always top of mind for us.
In 2012, your team expanded by 100% from the previous year. Where is Architech headed in the future?
We’ll continue to grow, no question. But I’m really excited about our commitment to two things: first, furthering our mandate to be a great place to work. That means focusing on our culture, always looking for innovation and continuous improvement, and being steadfast about our Core Values.
Second, I want Architech to be known for more than just great custom software delivery. I want the company to be known for helping our clients become better at creating great software. That’s a rarity in the software consulting industry, as most firms want to keep clients reliant on them. Essentially, our vision is to help our clients transform their delivery capabilities towards software engineering best practices. We’ll help our clients move from traditional (heavy, waterfall, infrequent releases) to Internet-speed (faster time to market, automated, more innovation). Great delivery is about Agile, Lean, test-driven development, continuous design/integration/delivery, automation, cross-functional teams, the right mindset, empowerment, etc. It’s about user experience design. Technical excellence. Low dependency architecture. Open source where it makes sense. Using teams of experienced engineers that have already worked together. Asking the right questions. Delivering the right solution for the user’s needs, and learning from that experience to make it even better.
We see this as a legacy we can work towards, and something to feel really proud about achieving for our clients. That’s truly working in their best interests, and of course, Creating Software Joy™.
Software is everywhere, and there’s a perception and stereotype of “geek culture”. But today, software is in almost every human innovation, and certainly every great business. There are countless business grads and MBAs out there, yet there’s a shortage of people that really understand software.
So it’s really about sponsoring a great cause and initiative. I believe that people learn in different ways, and if Ladies Learning Code can help girls and women learn that computer science and software development isn’t scary or out of reach, and dispels some of the myths about what we do and how we do it (like cubicle farms), then that’s a cause we want to get behind.