Evidence of meeting #117 for Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was vote.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Clerk of the Committee  Mr. Michael MacPherson
Zackary Massingham  Chief Executive Officer, AggregateIQ

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Bob Zimmer

The room that you're in currently is in what building? Where are you currently?

12:30 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer, AggregateIQ

Zackary Massingham

In Vancouver, at our lawyer's office.

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Bob Zimmer

Okay. Thank you.

Next up is Mr. Picard, for seven minutes.

September 27th, 2018 / 12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Michel Picard Liberal Montarville, QC

Thank you. My name is Mike.

Let's forget about third parties' comments and impressions, and focus on what you do best, software development. You explained to us that the product you worked on is comparable to a CRM-type product. There are a number of those products on the market. Are those actual available products like a SAP type of tool, where you tailor all the functionalities to the requirements of the client, or are these CRM-type products on the market too restricted and therefore unable to meet the requirements of your client, justifying the fact that you had to develop your own software?

12:30 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer, AggregateIQ

Zackary Massingham

What we've seen, from working with organizations, is that the scope of work sometimes changes quite quickly based on new tools they want to use, and having a more open system that's able to integrate with other products, tools or services actually has its advantages.

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Michel Picard Liberal Montarville, QC

What are the biggest changes you can give me as examples? At the end of the day, in marketing you need to know possibly—without any specific importance or priority—names, addresses, where you live, the books you read and stuff like that. Are there significant elements that cannot be provided by actual available tools on the market?

12:30 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer, AggregateIQ

Zackary Massingham

I'm sorry. Can you clarify that?

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Michel Picard Liberal Montarville, QC

Well, for example.... Okay, I'll ask the question differently. Why didn't you use a CRM-type product already available on the market and just fine-tune it for the requirements of your client?

12:30 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer, AggregateIQ

Zackary Massingham

We have done that in the past. Certainly we did that in Trinidad and Tobago. We used a product for them based on CiviCRM, which is an open-source piece of software.

We have also suggested that clients use NationBuilder because it's a fantastic piece of software that volunteers can use quite readily. The reporting of NationBuilder leaves a lot to be desired, which is why some clients want other outside reporting functionality.

Then there are still some campaigns that operate with paper. You see the gamut based on the volunteers and the staff that are available. Where we come in is in helping those campaigns and their staff make solid technology decisions to help match the tools with their engagement strategies and available resources.

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Michel Picard Liberal Montarville, QC

Was your involvement to fine-tune something already available on the market, or did you start from scratch, based on known codes, to develop your own software that can be similar to what exists, with your own touch?

12:35 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer, AggregateIQ

Zackary Massingham

Certainly in some of the products that we've developed for ourselves, yes, we've taken the experience of the learning that we've seen from using other commercially available products and—

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Michel Picard Liberal Montarville, QC

How do you define the personal touch you have? Who decides what kind of personal touch you add to the software when you build such a software? You don't go by the flavour of the month. You need to add what is in fact required by the client or at least make sure that what you add to the software or what you develop yourself will meet exactly the purpose or the requirement of your client.

12:35 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer, AggregateIQ

Zackary Massingham

I think our internal development process really starts from recognizing what common questions our clients are asking.

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Michel Picard Liberal Montarville, QC

In order to do so, you have to understand your clients' business.

12:35 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer, AggregateIQ

Zackary Massingham

That's correct.

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Michel Picard Liberal Montarville, QC

So, by understanding the client's business you understand the use of the resulting product you're going to supply. You understand what they're going to do with that.

12:35 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer, AggregateIQ

Zackary Massingham

And what their users are experiencing while they're using it.

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Michel Picard Liberal Montarville, QC

Can you summarize for me what kind of agreement or clause you have in your contract to protect yourself—not the others, just yourself—against malpractice and misuse of your own product?

12:35 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer, AggregateIQ

Zackary Massingham

Which product? Any product?

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Michel Picard Liberal Montarville, QC

Yes. You give the tool to someone. If you sell me a hammer and I go on the street and start hitting people, you won't like being identified with the hammer you sold me.

12:35 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer, AggregateIQ

Zackary Massingham

That's fair.

The tools we have produced and licensed have been, again, as I've said, rather generic. The implementation of that, how they work with particular clients, is what adds the value to that. The overall solution is what adds value. To have a clause in a contract for a generic tool, such as a hammer, I can't say that one exists in our documents.

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Michel Picard Liberal Montarville, QC

In Brexit, for Vote Leave or other groups, would you categorize the tool you sold them as a very generic tool?

12:35 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer, AggregateIQ

Zackary Massingham

We didn't provide them with any tools. We provided advertising services to Vote Leave, and we helped them with some small development work on their own tool, which they had been developing long before we got there.

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Michel Picard Liberal Montarville, QC

So it's fair to say that, by developing the tool for the specific requirement of your client, you accompany your client along the way, understanding what they want and where they're going.

12:35 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer, AggregateIQ

Zackary Massingham

Yes, I think there's learning on both sides there. It goes from what they think they want, and then when the rubber hits the road, the reality of it is that users still have to be able to use it. The volunteers still need to be able to enter their pledges and such.