Ottawa’s Fastest Growing Companies: Decisive part of dynamic data security duo

Decisive tech
Decisive Technologies executives Mike Smith, Richard Losier and Joey Harrison. Photo by Mark Holleron

Each year, OBJ recognizes the region’s rapidly growing firms with its Fastest Growing Companies awards. The aim is to honour the city’s top performers for substantial, sustainable and profitable growth. Recipients are ranked by their three-year revenue growth. They must have had revenues of at least $100,000 in the first of those three years under consideration. Revenues must have risen to at least $500,000 in their most recent fiscal year. The companies will be profiled online in the coming days and recognized at a cocktail reception on May 23 at Kanata co-working space Head Office Ottawa. Click here for info.

It seems only fitting that Decisive Technologies and its sister firm, BriteSky Technologies, finished back-to-back on this year’s list of Ottawa’s fastest-growing companies.

Decisive, a data centre solutions company founded in 2001, came in at No. 10 in OBJ’s annual rankings with three-year revenue growth of nearly 103 per cent, while BriteSky, a cloud services provider launched in 2013, was right behind with a mark of just over 102 per cent.

The companies are really two sides of the same coin, says Joey Harrison, the vice-president of sales and marketing for both.

“They really kind of play off each other,” he explains. “What BriteSky did for Decisive was bring the cloud aspect, where we took our expertise in the data centre and we built BriteSky.”

Harrison says the two firms work hand-to-hand to tailor solutions to fit their customers’ needs, whether it’s providing on-premise hardware or backing up data in the cloud.

“We’re able to give them the best of both worlds,” he says. “We’re not really tied to one or the other.”

Decisive Technologies

Year founded: 2001

Local headcount: 35, with other employees shared with BriteSky Technologies

Three-year revenue growth: 102.92%

2019 ranking: #10

Decisive focuses on building secure data-storage infrastructure for clients. The federal government accounts for a large share of its sales, which is to be expected for a firm based in the nation’s capital.

But Decisive, which also made OBJ’s fastest-growing companies list in 2014, serves a wide variety of private customers, including several that have operations around the world.

Harrison says Decisive’s robust security features have always been a major selling point. Its latest offerings include custom-built, military-grade server infrastructure designed to withstand harsh conditions often found in industries such as defence, mining and construction.

Decisive president Mike Smith says a key to the company’s success has been its ability to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to the latest technology.

“Selling a server as a server is just getting harder and less valuable to the client,” he says. “You have to be moving up the food chain with your product offerings.”

And in a business where data sovereignty is a never-ending topic of conversation, the executives say being headquartered in Ottawa gives their companies a huge advantage over foreign-based competitors because it guarantees all customer data stays within Canada’s borders.

“That’s a big selling point,” Harrison says.

Decisive and BriteSky have a combined total of about 60 employees, a number that’s expected to rise to 80 by the end of the year. While about 35 officially fall under Decisive’s umbrella, the two sister firms regularly draw on each other’s talent, depending on a client’s needs.

Harrison says the calibre of that combined workforce is a big part of what separates Decisive and BriteSky from the pack.

“We all see where this can go, and it’s exciting,” he says. “It’s fun to come to work, and you can see that in the office.”

If Harrison and Smith seem to refer to Decisive and BriteSky as practically the same entity, it’s easy to understand why when the two operations are so intertwined.

“There’s nobody out there that’s really doing this,” Harrison says. “You’re either a cloud company or you’re an on-premise infrastructure company. We really cross all barriers to give the best outcome to the customer.”