QA Consultants Story
QA Consultants’ Beginnings
The founder: Toward freedom and a better life
Alex Rodov, the founder of QA Consultants, is a poster child for the Canadian dream. Like many immigrants, he was drawn to our political freedom and wealth of opportunities. When he immigrated to Canada from the Soviet Union in 1988, he had little knowledge of English, unrecognized educational credentials and a limited knowledge of the economic system. What he did bring was burning ambition, a strong work ethic, and the propensity for “out of the box” thinking.
As with other successful entrepreneurs, Rodov’s journey featured many achievements and more than a few hurdles. Through perseverance and a knack for quick study, he secured his first job in software development at Hummingbird, a leading enterprise software firm. His on-going dedication to project execution, personal growth and high ethical standards helped him quickly move up the corporate ladder, culminating in leading Bearing Point’s testing practice. Rodov’s penchant for unconventional thinking led him to conceive of a new, disruptive business model that would serve clients better, faster and cheaper by delivering higher quality testing services at low offshore prices. QA Consultants was the product of this vision. After careful deliberation and a crucial vote of confidence from his family and friends, Alex Rodov made the scary leap into entrepreneurship and founded QA Consultants in 1994.
Innovation for the Future
QA Consultants is a classic Canadian technology success story and a case study of how to disrupt a static industry. All it took was for a subject matter expert named Alex Rodov – unencumbered by conventional thinking – with the guts and clear vision to identify a market gap and commercialize a big idea.
Initially, QA Consultants had a successful albeit a simple and undifferentiated business. It provided testing resources for companies looking to outsource their testing requirements. Increasingly, clients complained about the hassles, time and costs of dealing with offshore (e.g. India, China) testing operations, and the lack of local and responsive service options. To address this market gap, QA Consultants began to rethink its core offering and delivery model. It could easily have evolved into another undifferentiated outsourcer, competing solely on price, although that would have been an expensive, risky and ultimately “me-too” solution with little chance of competing with the large players. Instead, Rodov turned the testing operation on its head in order to beat offshore testers at their own game. A groundbreaking local, expert and on-demand testing service, the Test Factory™, has a proven track record of delivering better testing results at lower prices and business risk versus Asian providers.
Innovation has not only centred on products and services. Operational and HR creativity has always been a corporate priority, with QA Consultants leading the testing industry by introducing unique training programs that accelerate employee knowledge and quickly bring best practices to every client. This focus on continuous training has also enabled QA Consultants to be among the leaders in employee retention and productivity. Furthermore, the company has retained its entrepreneurial spirit and flexibility within its rapid growth trajectory. Despite Canada-wide operations and an ever-evolving technology landscape, QA Consultants has maintained its original quick, informal and open approach to decision-making, which emphasizes tactical agility, information sharing and service responsiveness.
David versus Goliath in the testing industry
QA Consultants is not your traditional IT services firm but has emerged as the category-killer in the multi-billion-dollar North American software testing industry. Like the niche of a Best Buy or a Toys “R” Us, QA Consultants’ testing-only focus delivers local, turnkey and bespoke testing services onshore at lower rates than can be found in India.
Today, QA Consultants is a dynamic and rapidly growing IT services organization, North America’s largest dedicated software quality assurance and testing company. However, it wasn’t always a smooth ride. Articulating and communicating a new, testing-only model to cautious prospects and employees was not easy. A bootstrap business intent on growth necessitated making painful choices, favouring service, technology and training over rich salaries and office perks. Targeting Fortune 500 clients across North America, QA Consultants repeatedly came up against large, well-capitalized competitors with strong brands and client relationships.
Rodov’s unique vision, client focus, and hard work provided QA Consultants with the impetus for success and laid the foundation for profitable growth. Yet he knew that would not be enough. The addition of key managers in sales, operations, HR and finance helped sustain client growth and retention while building critical management depth, augmenting capabilities and attracting new employees. Furthermore, Rodov understood he could not flourish with a “me-too” offering and client experience. As a result, he prioritized innovation strategies that focused on dramatically improving client value and internal efficiencies. This was a unique approach to the mature testing industry, which had been relatively sleepy from an innovation standpoint since the early 1990s. To date, QA Consultants has spent millions on R&D to develop new testing methodologies, automation and internal processes.
The business results have been impressive, and QA Consultants is no longer a David in the industry. Thanks to the development of cutting-edge automation and methodologies, a learning-focused culture and a client-centric sales model, QA Consultants has grown rapidly to become the largest dedicated testing firm in North America, with more than 100 employees and annual revenues exceeding $14 million. In 2012, the firm was publicly recognized for this success when QA Consultants was chosen by the Toronto Board of Trade for its Business Excellence Award (Local Economic Impact category) and was a finalist for Deloitte’s Best Managed Award. Since 2014, QA Consultants has been listed consecutively on Clutch.co as part of their the Top Software Application Testing Firms list as a trusted provider for testing, consulting, and security needs.
With a leadership team that draws from backgrounds like Accenture, IBM, and BearingPoint, it’s no wonder QA Consultants is a trusted brand. As a Micro Focus Platinum Partner, QA Consultants joins a combined legacy of partners to meet the needs of clients to successfully deliver enterprise software solutions. In the ongoing effort to maintain our status as a leader in research and innovation, and with the continuing support of the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program, QAC founded, developed and built a large facility in Toronto devoted solely to testing. The Test Factory™ is a continuous quality test lab incorporating a precise combination of intelligence applied to advanced levels of automation. The Test Factory™ pairs the skilled labour and expertise of our staff (mostly computer science graduates) with our proprietary testing methodologies. This unique blend provides our clients with unparalleled and superior quality service.
In addition, various North American media outlets (e.g. Financial Post, Business without Borders, Customer Management IQ) have highlighted the company’s success in disrupting the testing space. The firm currently operates in a state-of-the-art facility in the North American Centre in Toronto, Ontario, with recently established offices in various parts of Canada. In 2015, the Dallas, Texas office was opened expanding the QA Consultants presence in the United States of America. QA Consultants’ client list reads like a who’s who of banking (e.g. Bank of America, CIBC, TD, BMO), insurance (e.g. Aviva, Equitable), retail (e.g. Loblaw, Canadian Tire), media and entertainment (e.g. OLG, Cineplex Digital), as well various government departments. A mandate to continuously improve and exceed customer expectations has resulted in the firm achieving a 95% client retention rate.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Paying it forward
Inspired by his modest upbringing and strong faith, Alex Rodov and QA Consultants have maintained an ongoing commitment to supporting QA Consultants’ employees and the community. This active and visible engagement can be illustrated by the company’s many activities within the Toronto community as well as its commitment to corporate social responsibility, for example, leading the creation of a QA Consultants United Way challenge. While fostering CSR is a reward, QA Consultants’ efforts have produced important business benefits. CSR initiatives have helped improve employee morale, reducing turnover and fostering a unique QA Consultants esprit de corps. Furthermore, CSR has helped define QA Consultants as an employer of choice in its industry, particularly for socially conscious millennials. In every aspect of QA Consultants’ operation, CSR has been firmly established as a key QA Consultants priority.
Finally, and not insignificantly, the firm’s success has benefited Alex Rodov’s adopted home as well as the local IT cluster. The company has repatriated more than 800 technical jobs, which otherwise would have been lost to India, along with millions of dollars in IT investment. As well, QA Consultants’ comprehensive internship program supports the Toronto IT cluster by providing valuable entry-level positions for new graduates.