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Canesto Founder: “AlayaCare Gives Our Clients the Best Platform to Secure Their Future Success”


In June, AlayaCare announced that Canesto Systems Inc. — developers of a leading contact and resource management software application for Home and Community Care — was joining the organization.

Canesto’s founder Doug Gowdy sat down with us and talked about his company’s history and work, and the decision to join AlayaCare after years of turning down discussions with other suitors. Here is what he said.


A company evolves

I launched Canesto in 1986 and one of our first clients was Mastermind Toys. We wrote the inventory system that supported their business for almost two decades as they advanced from a single store to become one of the largest toy companies in Canada. 

At the same time we were also engaged in the community support sector — East York Meals on Wheels in Toronto was one of the first sites to use the product we are best known for: CIMS-HR. As computers became more widely adopted we continued to take on other community services clients and increase our software’s functionality.    

Canesto grew through word-of-mouth referrals and we would go on to sponsor the Ontario Community Support Association’s annual conference for 25 straight years.   Now active in five provinces, we support a wide range of organizations from single user sites to large enterprise customers.

What Canesto does well 

The company has been driven by the desire to put the customer first at every turn. We enjoy helping people get the most out of their technology by delivering a level of software and support that belies the small size of our organization. 

We’ve been particularly successful in adapting to new regulatory changes introduced by the government. When the Ontario Healthcare Reporting Standards (OHRS) requirements were introduced, we implemented them quickly in our system, and we have received compliments on the quality of that work. We were the second vendor in Ontario to integrate the interRAI Community Health Assessment which delivered significant benefits to our customers as a fully-integrated component of our product.

Ultimately, Canesto is an agile company with the experience and technical capabilities typically found only within much larger firms.

Why AlayaCare? 

When AlayaCare reached out to me, I was still a decade or so away from planning for a successor at Canesto. Other companies had tried to approach me in the past but I didn’t believe that they were the best fit for our customers. Our clients have placed considerable trust in Canesto over the years, so we felt responsible to ensure that any change would represent a strong step forward for both individual sites and the sector as a whole. I was determined to ensure that any acquisition would benefit our customers’ wellbeing.

I saw a fast-growing, professionally-managed company in AlayaCare, whose values were in alignment with mine – a clear commitment to see their customers prosper. AlayaCare’s use of the term “Client Success Team” is not just a marketing effort, it’s their ethos. The entire organization seems focused on delighting their customers and they have built great teams that allow them to rapidly develop and deploy award-winning software.

Meanwhile, AlayaCare’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model is the best platform for the CSS sector from the perspectives of both security and client services and it represents a significant step forward for our CIMS-HR users. 

For all these reasons, I firmly believe that joining AlayaCare will provide solid opportunities for all of Canesto’s customers to seamlessly accelerate their adoption of the next generation of technology. And, together, we can advance AlayaCare’s pursuit of using population health data and the ability to perform data analytics to improve service outcomes for all clients.