When Guild Software Inc. was founded in 2017, no one could have predicted that the company would be called on in the fight against a global health pandemic. The platform was originally developed as a licensing solution for registrars and members of professional associations and regulators, but when COVID-19 began to spread across the world, Guild jumped into action to help clients react quickly to get more healthcare heroes to the front lines.
The rapid surge in demand started with a request for aid from the Nova Scotia College of Respiratory Therapists, whose members are expected to be some of the most critically impacted and called-upon healthcare providers through the duration of the pandemic. Guild provided them with an immediate solution for assisting retired professionals with returning to practice. Guild started hearing from other professions including medical lab techs, medical radiation technologists, and physiotherapists. All of these disciplines have a role to play in fighting COVID-19, and all of the professional colleges representing them require accurate and up-to-date member files and licensing information.
Guild’s quick response to the pandemic has included several avenues for facilitating the movement of as many healthcare workers as possible to the front lines. By working with their clients to create emergency licensing groups, Guild is helping expedite getting new grads into healthcare professions, and in some cases, allowing third-year students to join in the response.
“As things are moving fast and fluid in this situation, we have had to become very reactive in addressing requests for changes to these new license types as our clients work to satisfy policy and legal requirements while reducing the barriers to workforce entry,” says Colin Gourlay, Guild’s founder and CEO.
Creating a Better Platform
A utopia of simplicity, automation and connectivity, Guild’s software changes the game for registrars and their members. It started as a client project at Colin’s first company, Electric Playground, when his team completed a small website job for the Nova Scotia College of Medical Laboratory Technologists. Once the website project was complete, the college asked Electric Playground to migrate all of their membership data to an online platform that would allow users to update profiles, process renewals and manage their members. As the Electric Playground team worked on the project, they realized that there was a major need for a highly customizable Association Management Software (AMS) in the professional regulation industry. They conducted a market study which came back with promising results, and after a small capital raise from friends and family, Guild was born in March 2017.
The Anatomy of a Stellar Association Management System
Colin says that one of the biggest advantages Guild offers to clients is the ability to customize the software so that it accomplishes exactly what’s needed, without the frustration of workarounds and compromises that can come with various out-of-the-box systems.
“I believe that a great AMS does exactly what the client needs it to do, and nothing more,” Colin explains. “It does what it needs to do simply and painlessly, and it exceeds the customer’s expectations in just how valuable it reveals itself to be.”
Guild’s platform directly uploads reports to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), a feature which has been applauded by government departments for its capabilities. The reports required for CIHI and provincial health and wellness departments are complex, non-delimited formats that used to take about three weeks of outsourced IT labour to produce. Guild takes a snapshot of a client’s database instead, at the same date and time each year, and produces a report stored in the report library that a registrar can download with a single click and submit to the correct department for review. It’s so quick and easy that government departments have started urging regulators to use Guild’s software to produce the reports.
Created in Nova Scotia and Thriving Here
In just three years, Guild has seen incredible growth traction from coast to coast in Canada, capturing 20% of the regulatory market in Nova Scotia alone. In several professions, the platform is now used across Canada and many national regulator associations are looking to purchase the software. Guild signed its first US client in 2019 and has been working on securing contracts with many American companies since then, with future expansion plans to Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.
“What inspires me most about the tech sector in Nova Scotia is being part of the renaissance,” says Colin. “This is our time. It’s our time to build world class companies that will be headquartered here, and will continue to employ thousands of Nova Scotians, and will bring many new Nova Scotians to our province. “
Colin and the team at Guild believe that the incredible cohort of start-ups in our province are improving lives daily, and some of them are even outpacing competitors in Silicon Valley.