CGI: Leading the way in proactive technology

CGI: Leading the way in proactive technology

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Mina Atia
Halifax Chamber of Commerce
Communications Coordinator

Digital infrastructure allowed businesses to pivot during the extraordinary developments of the past few months.

Working from home, using a multitude of platforms to stay up to date and shifting business operations to online services are next to impossible without technology.

One of the largest IT and business-consulting firms in the world, CGI delivers an end-to-end portfolio of digital capabilities and capable professionals. The firm provides strategic IT and consulting services to help businesses integrate different systems and further develop their operations.

“We have been present in Atlantic Canada for nearly 30 years, and today we have over 400 professionals working and living in Halifax and a further 200 between Stratford, Moncton and Fredericton,” says Neville Ashleigh, Vice President of consulting services at CGI.

Founded in 1976, CGI embarks on a journey with its clients by successfully implementing their strategies through the best use of technology. Throughout that journey, from start to finish, the firm helps businesses reach their objectives and become customer-focused digital enterprises.

CGI prides itself for having an empowering work environment that builds careers for its employees. It believes firmly in the talent it houses and strives to be recognized by those professionals. They’re not just employees of CGI – they’re members.

“As a people-led services firm, we collaborate to strengthen our clients and our company through innovative ideas and outstanding delivery, while making a difference in the communities in which we work and live,” says Ashleigh.

Ashleigh has been a professional consultant for over 25 years, and has worked with CGI for 13, starting out as technical consultant. He was relatively new to Canada and looking for a job with a company that considered his previous experience and gave him opportunities to grow, all while recognizing and rewarding his successes.

He found exactly what he was looking for with CGI.

“While I may have been at CGI for 13 years, I have had many different jobs in several different industries and learned so many new and amazing things along the way,” he says.

“I have found that not only with my clients, but also with my company, the most important words I can use are ‘how can I help’; those four simple words go a very long way to finding opportunities and seeking out success.”

Ashleigh started out writing codes and solving technical problems, but he had his eye on leadership roles.

With the direction and encouragement of his managers, he was able to create and execute a development plan. He move into a development management role then became a project manager, running an entire engagement – moving from consultant to a senior position then on to a director.

“Something that has always been consistent with CGI is that whenever I have sought out more responsibility, the organization has gotten behind me to not only help me prepare for my next challenge but to help me find it as well,” says Ashleigh.

Three years ago, he became Vice President, responsible for business development and delivery for Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland clients.

CGI launched new initiatives in response to the economic hardships many Canadian businesses are facing. It’s currently helping a major Canadian bank automate financial relief programs to optimize costs and customer care.

The firm is developing process-automation solutions for said bank, through which the bank will be able to fulfill its strong commitment to helping customers through financial difficulties. At the same time, it will also increase the quality and speed of services and reduce risks and costs.


“The pandemic has, of course, created unprecedented business conditions. Fortunately, we have a resilient business model,” says Ashleigh. “Our diversified mix of critical services, industries we serve, and multiple geographies is helping mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on our company.”

In the early months of the pandemic, CGI helped Montreal Heart Institute carry out a major clinical study to find treatment for COVID-19. The study, funded by the Government of Quebec and called COLCORONA, was facing some challenges. CGI was enlisted to find quick and secure digital tools to manage the recruitment, selection and evaluation of almost 6,000 patients for the duration of 30 days.

Back in March, CGI collaborated with the British Columbia health sector leaders to digitize and automate COVID-19 information. The firm also worked closely with the Chamber of Commerce of Montreal Metropolitan to run a webinar on the impact of the pandemic on cybersecurity. It was a response to the increasing concern over the risk of growing cyber-attacks aimed at employees working remotely.

“Beyond the short-term reopening, which will vary in duration and approach, structural impacts to the different industries will require new business models and practices,” says Ashleigh.

“These may take the shape of evolving ecosystems, supply chains, and workforce modifications – all requiring businesses to make adaptations to their pre-COVID approaches.”

The firm launched the CGI3R initiative to share insights and services with clients to help them navigate the phases of the pandemic. The initiative is based on three phases: respond, rebound and reinvent.

“As many regions are emerging from the Respond Phase, organizations will start focusing on their Rebound and Reinvent priorities,” says Ashleigh. “Some of those priorities will be focused around specific themes.”

To navigate the priorities of the Rebound and Reinvent phases, CGI helps its clients narrow down their business focus to five steps. The firm supports them in enabling business agility; considering the future of their workforce and workplace; rethinking the IT supply chain; optimizing advanced analytics and decision making; and reaffirming cybersecurity and business continuity.

“Many changes will happen, and it is difficult to predict what the new normal will be. But one thing is certain, technology will be at the heart of it,” says Ashleigh.

< Back to Articles | Topics: Member Profile

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