Organisations like Atlantis face a number of challenges that can act as barriers to their core focus: in Atlantis’s case, development and delivery of their behaviour change solutions.
Typically, these include restrictions on headcount, hiring freezes and limited budgets. Not only do they slow down software development, but it means they can’t bring on board the kind of skill and expertise needed to fully develop quality software solutions.
One of the ways to resolve this is to collaborate with a partner that brings a ‘skill-add’ dimension to the project - instead of having full-time developers, an organisation can benefit from their partner's resource pool by bringing on an Architect, a Business Analyst, or a DevOps Engineer depending on the need.
Not only that, but if an organisation’s partner supports their digital and cloud-first initiatives, it enables business continuity during events such as Covid-19. John Ashley, Atlantis’ Director of Digital Strategy and Solutions, said this about the relationship, “With partners like Optimation, we'd already been fully in the cloud, we'd already been using teams and Zoom and different remote working capabilities. So, when we were faced with COVID-19, we just enacted our business continuity plans and we just carried on business as usual.”
Atlantis had been investigating ways of effectively scaling their organisation so they could focus on their core strengths: health psychology and behavioural change science. They already had a core technology team but needed the ability and flexibility to grow their resource pool and scale it to meet demand. This led them to start looking for a strategic partner who could work alongside them to explore and keep abreast of the latest technologies.
An RFP process was the beginning of Atlantis's partnership with Optimation, and the very smooth transition took place in 2019. Some of Atlantis’s team came over to work with us at Optimation, bringing with them particular skillsets. Innovation was achieved by co-designing solutions with the technology experts. “We had a couple of really good workshops around solutioning, and then the Optimation team would present ideas and suggestions around how they would craft a solution,” says John. “Then we work together on making those things real."
From Optimation's standpoint, the technology team from Atlantis and the joint sessions they had with our team meant a better understanding of the challenges Atlantis were facing. We gained valuable insights from them, and were able to better deliver new technology installations. Optimation General Manager David Norman also enjoyed seeing the teams work together. "It’s pretty cool, seeing our team spend as much time thinking about Atlantis's business as Atlantis does."
A positive outcome for Atlantis was having a team on board that were not only experts on their products, but who understood the organisation as well. Being able to check with Optimation about the viability of new solutions and knowing that we understand the inner workings of Atlantis’s existing suite has been a major plus.
The ability for the Atlantis to tap into the Optimation team to ‘skill-and-scale’ means that they can build a team to suit a variable customer challenge or one of their multi-market programs whenever needed. The flexible arrangement works well for both sides. Working with Atlantis allows our team to get deep domain knowledge and insight too, resulting in a composite team that cross-pollinates ideas, exercises creativity and continually thinks of ways to apply leading-edge technology to a business problem.
The partnership has meant a dependable, predictable cash flow for Atlantis because they can leverage their retainer hours for anything from specific customer projects, a business case to brand-new technology that they want to develop.
Atlantis now has a regular release cycle of their core products and are looking ahead to new projects. "We've got quite an ambitious pipeline of new developments that we want to bring into the stable of products over the next year or two," John says. "So, we'll be working really closely with Optimation to make those plans a reality."