The DigitalOnUs Team
The DigitalOnUs Team

DigitalOnUs expands into the burgeoning Ottawa tech market with an eye on the future of work

Bean bag chairs at the DigitalOnUs office

February 2019 might seem an eternity ago, a long-forgotten time before remote work was a necessity for many, but for one company working at the cutting edge of cloud development, the date marked its expansion into Ontario, Canada.

As a company built on three major pillars—Silicon-Valley type management philosophy with shared ownership, employee diversity, and the caring nature of an extended family—it’s remarkable growth and the opening of the Ottawa office signals that its formula is working.

Since DigitalOnUs’ founding in 2015, it has grown from a single Silicon Valley office to seven offices across four countries— including in the U.S., Mexico and Canada. This nearshore partnership model has seen them work with some of the world’s leading organizations, including Hashicorp, Google and SAP, and build out the entire cloud infrastructure for many of their partners.

“Our teams are working on cutting-edge tech projects, not legacy or maintenance work,” Suri Chawla, CEO of DigitalOnUs told us. “It’s the type of challenging work that excites people and allows us to attract the best technical minds.”

The Pull of Ontario and Differentiating DigitalOnUs

This pursuit of working with the best talent in the business is what brought Chawla and his team to Ontario. Alongside Ottawa’s position as one of the top 20 most livable cities in the world—and the 300,000 highly-skilled tech workers who already live in Ontario—Ottawa holds a special place for Chawla.

“I lived in Ottawa from 1979 to 1983, as I was the son of a diplomat,” Chawla explained. “I went to college here, which were some of the best years of my life and knowing how special Ontario is and how much it has evolved since my time made setting up an office here a head and heart choice.” But tech opportunities are coming to Ontario because the tech talent is already here. As a result, the DigitialOnUs team knows that the competition for talent is fierce and that they need to be clear in what they can offer potential employees.

“We feel we can offer three key benefits to working at DigitalOnUs,” said Viridiana De la Garza, DigitalOnUs’ COO. “One is exciting work, with the type of tech that attracts engineers; two, our compensation package is above market average as we’re making senior hires to ensure we’re delivering quality; and three, our culture. We don’t micromanage and we believe in real work–life balance, supporting our staff and their families.”

These benefits have been baked into DigitalOnUs’ work practices since day one and positions them well for a future of work that is almost certain to be more remote after the dust settles from pandemic lockdowns. One study from Gartner found that 82 per cent of companies will embrace remote work for their employees at least some of the time, with 47 percent likely to allow their employees to work remotely permanently.

A co-working space at the DigitalOnUs offices in Mexico

“For our clients, remote work makes no difference, as we’ve always worked remotely for them,” says Chawla. “We worry about our engagement and culture, which is why our internal teams are focused on finding ways for us to connect with each other through virtual workout classes, yoga, and possibly a magic show.”

DigitalOnUs’ experience virtually managing teams across North America gives them a leg up on their competitors who find themselves navigating many of these challenges for the first time. For the leadership team, finding ways to maintain a culture where leaders and project teams embrace the same values is crucial to their expansion in Ontario—especially with their ambitious plans to grow from 50 people in Ontario to 100 by the end of 2021, and a headcount of 200 by the end of 2022.

Elevating Ontario’s Tech Community

Alongside the estimated 200 skilled jobs that DigitalOnUs aims to bring to Ontario, the company recognizes its responsibility to add value through knowledge sharing to the province’s burgeoning tech community. Similar to their approach in Mexico, the team plans on launching meetups and workshops for tech professionals. Additionally, DigitalOnUs is in talks with several large Canadian brands as they look to elevate Canadian cloud infrastructure rather than simply offering nearshore services to U.S. partners.

A meeting room at the DigitalOnUs office in Mexico

Most exciting of all, however, is DigitalOnUs plans to support and inspire the next generation of tech professionals. “We want to give back to the community that welcomed us,” Paulina Macias Randolph, DigitalOnUs’ Brand & Marketing Manager, said. “We’ve made commitments to work with universities to hire interns and work closely with students.”

These initiatives, although beginning in Ottawa, are set to spread to the Toronto area in the coming years as immediate geography proves less of a barrier for talent acquisition.

With the future of work looking to be a more remote affair and the abundance of tech talent across Ontario ready and willing to roll up their sleeves, it appears that DigitalOnUs has found the perfect recipe for success in the province.

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