Imagina portal and wireless possibilities

Enzo Blasi imagined a different business model for his company a few years ago.

Imagina Technology Solutions Inc., formally known as Beltron Consulting Services, had been focused on managed IT outsourcing services for businesses. Four years ago, the Montreal-based firm invested in portal and

mobile and wireless solutions and brought in strong, experienced people to help carry out its new direction.

Since then, Imagina has grown its revenues from $2 to $7.5 million and is looking to open offices in Toronto this year.

“”He is truly one of the last great entrepreneurs,”” said Louise Davey, chief operating officer of Imagina.

Blasi, president and CEO of Imagina, founded Beltron with a partner in 1984. He served as vice-president of its business consulting division until 1997, when he broke his division off to form an independent company, Beltron Business Consulting Ltd.

In 2000, Beltron Consulting Services became Imagina, which Davey says Blasi named after John Lennon’s song, ‘Imagine.’

“”We’ve held steadily financially through the last 20 years but more specifically through the last three years,”” said Davey.

“”We’re looking for growth. The worse we’ve seen is steady.””

Imagina added to its product offering in 2002 with the mergers of Collabora, a subsidiary specializing in Lotus Notes solutions and Be@com, a subsidiary offering e-procurement solutions. Its products and services also include e-business solutions in infrastructure, integration and development, Web content management software solutions and managed IT outsourcing.

Through its partnerships with IBM and Microsoft, Imagina offers solutions including IBM WebSphere technology, mobile and wireless solutions and Web content management software such as InstaDev, a Lotus Domino-based solution.

The firm’s investment in these technologies have allowed it to secure contracts with large North American companies including a $200,000 deal with Abbott Laboratories Canada. With Abbott internal resources, Imagina developed a B2E Portal solution based on IBM’s Domino and WebSphere portal technologies.

Through a user-friendly Web based interface to information applications and processes, Imagina’s solution, which leverages Abbott’s Domino and Citrix applications, provides employees with a single point of access. Its portal solution will eventually enable employees improved access to information via central data sharing. As well, its content publishing solution, InstaPub, which Imagina designed for WebSphere, gives publishing access to company user groups while maintaining the content’s integrity though approval workflow processes, security rules and document display control.

Now in the second phase, Davey says it is looking to use the enterprise portal to go outside of Abbott to reach customers.

In another recent project Imagina donated its research and development time to Moxxi.

A pilot research project run by McGill University Health Center (MUHC), Moxxi is mandated to investigate the use of computer technology in clinical interactions.

It developed a mobile solution, based on its Decisional Support System Framework (DSSF), a technological architecture that supports the deployment of interactive algorithms for mobile applications, to address the treatment of diabetes and asthma according to algorithms provided by Moxxi.

“”The tricky part is having a tool that’s not going to inhibit patient-doctor interactions, which is something they hold dear,”” said Davey.

Health care and pharmaceutical makes up 30 per cent of Imagina’s business while education is more of a strategic direction than profit centre as customers in that space are more willing to experiment, she says.

But the real gravy comes from the small and medium-sized businesses.

“”There’s a gap in the market for SMB players where companies like CGI are not interested to go,”” she said, adding Imagina matches the size of most of its customers, which she sees as an advantage.

“”We can go in an help them and take over their internal services. We’re able to know what their business needs are.””

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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