Remsoft, the Fredericton company that produces predictive analytics software for the forest industry, is moving to the cloud, leading to one of the strongest staffing increases in its 25-year history.
The company, which now employs 33 people, plans to add about eight to 10 personnel in the next year as it develops an end-to-end cloud-based solution for its clients based around the world.
“We’re really excited about what we’re doing now,” said Co-Founder and CEO Andrea Feunekes in an interview last week. “But we’re having trouble finding the right people. This is a constant problem.”
Remsoft began in the early 1990s when the husband-and-wife team of Ugo and Andrea Feunekes began to offer software solutions to forestry companies to help them manage their lands. Over the last seven years, Remsoft’s growth has accelerated thanks to its early development of a software platform that allows computational analysis of a company’s information.
The software analyzes a client’s forests. The age, size, growth rate and other aspects of trees are examined in order to predict the best times to do simple things like get logs to market or predict which of thousands of trees may fall and damage a power line. But the software has always been on the clients’ desktop computers, and now the company is transforming to the cloud. It’s a huge undertaking.
Remsoft has already introduced its first cloud-based solution for clients in the southeast U.S., but the company now wants to completely revamp its platform so everything is based on the cloud.
“It became clear to us that there was a lot to do,” said Feunekes. “This wasn’t just going to be a lift-and-shift job – we had to start from scratch.”
She added that the work is complex. In fact, since the beginning of the year Remsoft has been working with leading American consultants on the project, and they reported back that the undertaking is in the top 5 percent in the world in terms of complexity.
She said the complexity comes from the multi-faceted nature of the forestry industry – there are logistical consideration, developments in technology, a changing market for wood products. And on top of it all is the fact that it relies on biology and production can change with yearly rainfall or natural disasters. In their presentations, Feunekes and her partners note that it can take 80 years to grow a forest, so executives using the technology are often planning something that will reach fruition after they’re gone.
One thing that Feunekes noted is that there is a global shortage of data analytics professionals, and these people can be exceptionally difficult to find. The growth of Big Data in Atlantic Canada has only made that shortage more acute.
Remsoft hopes to add five people in the near future, and bring the total new hires to eight to 10 people over the next year.
“This is one of the biggest growth spurts in our history,” said Feunekes, adding it is the largest jump in such a short time. “We can’t take five years to get there. We have to get this done in two to two-and-a-half years.”