Mary-Ann Massad, Founded Knowsys Group in May of 1995. Having worked with several of the leading Canadian systems integrators and outsourcing firms for over 10 years, she recognized the opportunity to build a boutique IT management consulting firm. Mary-Ann assessed Canada’s IT market leaders as being consistently weak in successfully delivering large-scale program and project management. Her focus became turning her competitor’s weakness into making Knowsys Group a leader in large-scale program and project management.
This strategy was perfectly timed to the Y2K wave that was about to hit all businesses globally. As a result, Knowsys grew exponentially in its first 7 years of operation.
When Y2K projects began drying-up and the Dot Com bubble popped, Knowsys had to re-evaluate its sales and marketing strategy. Mary-Ann began expanding Knowsys’ services to focus on helping IT to run like a business. This meant providing portfolio and program management, business process transformation, and organizational change management services targeting Fortune 500 organizations locally.
This strategy paid off for another 12 years. However, when Off-shore outsourcers began exploiting Canada’s temporary work visa loopholes, displacing employees across banks and telcos (amongst others), Knowsys once again had to re-evaluate its market strategy. Highly-experienced and knowledgeable employees began to be viewed as commodities whose services were to be bought at rates more appropriate to India than North America. This was a do or die moment for Knowsys. Play the game and become a commodity? Or redefine the playing field and carve out new markets that were not being focused upon by the major players?
Mary-Ann decided to focus on forging new paths that were lightly travelled by her competitors. These new paths travelled in fascinating directions and arrived at the destinations of Managed Services, Fixed-price Management Consulting Services, and Systems Integration solely focused on maximizing/demonstrating ROI on IT investments or mitigating IT risk, and thereby helping customers to avoid unforeseen and dramatic costs and actually save money by getting out ahead of IT risk.