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The power of the pod


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To build better custom solutions for its clientele, ACA runs under a pod system. These pods are independent business units of different sizes that can offer their own products and services to customers. This means that each pod can specialize heavily in whatever domain it works in, and only has to deal with its key competences.

“The decision to change to a pod-based firm was made in 2015, because we were experiencing rapid growth and needed a structure that supported our agile and lean practices, as well as our self-driven teams,” explains Ronny Ruyters, CEO.

Presently, the business has nine working pods. The first is ACA Mobile. This pod helps customers explore, build, deploy, secure and support mobile enterprise applications. The second, ACT, specializes in UX/UI work, branding and print design. ACA Blockchain offers blockchain and ledger services.

“Both of these areas show great promise with their ability to create records that are nearly impossible to change,” adds Mr. Ruyters. Next is Product Management. This pod helps take the stress out of building a software-based product. Since these types of products are expensive to build, the team helps customers get it right the first time.

From discovering the needs of end users to designing a good solution to scaling that solution, this pod does it all. Fifth in the list is Amplify. This team is comprised of Atlassian software experts. Atlassian is well-known for products such as Jira and Confluence. This group shows clients how products within this line can help make their business better.

The sixth pod, Coin, handles digital content. This group helps customers minimize paper workflows, unite information in a service platform, keep digital content organized and much more. Then comes Collectiv. This team is comprised of consultants and Java experts. The group ascertains the needs of the client, creates amazing designs and gives them evolutionary architecture.

The next pod, IT Match, offers excellent outsourcing and consultancy services for businesses and freelancers. Finally, OpsKlaar does everything related to the cloud. From migration, optimization, management, security and more, if it goes on in the cloud, this team has it covered.

ACA’s unique pod structure is far from the only thing that makes this company stand out from its competition. “We are not just a ‘yes’ firm,” says Mr. Ruyters. “If our customer wants something that we know won’t work or isn’t a good fit for them, we make our opinions known.”

Ronny Ruyters, CEO of ACA IT-Solutions NV
The advantages of our podular approach are specialized expertise, high-quality solutions, flexibility, innovation and autonomy. Ronny RuytersCEO

What the business wants is to plan together with its clients. Making money is not the end goal; having satisfied customers with business solutions that really work’s. This attitude even extends to which companies and projects ACA works with or on. The firm – and its pods – are selective when it comes to taking on new clientele. This selection process is not in place because the company has an ego, but because all projects are taken very seriously.

ACA recognizes that it may not be the right IT firm to handle every particular issue. “Our pods are highly specialized and knowledgeable. This leads to very involved projects and IT solutions,” adds Mr. Ruyters. For 16 years, this approach has been in play, and it has led to 89% of all projects reaching production and running effectively.

Furthermore, there is an open level of communication between employees and customers. Daily contact to give updates and answer questions is the norm, something that the company’s customer base appreciates.

However, none of this would be possible without having employees who the entire group can depend on. ACA has worked hard to create a professional and motivating workplace, an area where teamwork, open-mindedness, information sharing and peer recognition are highly valued.

The company even participates in a kudos program through the platform Bonusly. Basically, colleagues can give each other points for being extra helpful, coming up with a great idea, bringing in a surprise round of coffee and so much more. The more points a person accumulates, the bigger the reward they can select.

One truly special award within ACA is getting to drive a Tesla for an entire weekend. To promote team bonding, employees also get to enjoy a weekend away together doing fun activities, eating delicious food and participating in teambuilding challenges.

“We want to attract people who have a sense of excellence and professional pride, who work hard and like to have fun,” states Mr. Ruyters. Looking ahead, there are some exciting developments happening at ACA. Holacracy, an operating method of decentralized management made up of self-organizing teams, is currently being tested.

The firm is also experiencing pretty rapid expansion, and is hoping to have 300 employees by 2021, through organic growth and small takeovers. “We’ve always been innovative in every area of the company, and we aren’t planning on slowing down. We want to grow together by realizing solutions that make customers and employees proud,” sums up Mr. Ruyters.

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