It seems so simple: you need more storage, so you expand your array. Sure, this type of quick-and-dirty, single-use solution to a problem can be the most convenient. Yet, a lone problem may be a symptom of something beneath the surface that is far more complex. And once you start changing one data center component, you invariably affect another. Without understanding how your systems intersect and integrate, you may be missing the real origin of the problem or opening up a bigger can of worms, and that can be costly. Now, you may be thinking, “How can I ever understand the Jenga puzzle that is my data center?” At that point, you should start searching for an IT partner with a holistic view of your IT operation, a partner who can help you utilize technology not as a Band-Aid but as a strategic tool to achieve business objectives. You’ll find that in ITsavvy.
Mike Theriault, Founder & CEO of ITsavvy
An ambitious entrepreneur from an early age, Mike Theriault has spent his career pushing the boundaries of the IT industry. In 2004, he co-founded ITsavvy after eyeing the need for a provider of end-to-end product delivery and IT solutions. Today, ITsavvy is recognized as one of the fastest growing companies of its kind in the U.S., and was named to CRN’s 2016 Tech Elite 250 list. ITsavvy is a natural progression of Mike’s technical background and leadership experience. In 1978 he founded Dartek Computer Supply, overseeing its phenomenal success. After selling the business to Systemax, he stayed on as Vice President of Operations and Technology. Among his many accomplishments was opening the company’s first retail store. Later, when Mike saw an opportunity for a hybrid IT provider, he founded ITsavvy.
ITsavvy: Driving the business value of IT
ITsavvy specializes in holistic IT. The IT provider’s end-to-end approach to technology includes Engineered Solutions, Managed Services, Cloud Solutions, Unified Communications and IT Products. The company understands that an IT department’s staff and budget are often pulled in many directions, so ITsavvy works hard to make IT easy. The key to ITsavvy’s growth has been its high-level of commitment to Service, Solutions and Satisfaction. The company has vendor-certified Client Executives who can act as a single-point of contact with clients, following deliverables from pitch to post-sale. ITsavvy can also bring in a team of experts who are cross-trained on much of the company’s services. This results in end-to-end knowledge in design, product recommendation and solution implementation. The company’s flat hierarchy means that when a team hits a critical challenge, any number of specialists can step in – including industry-leading experts like a Vice President of Service Delivery with a PhD in Technology Management – without the barriers of silos.
Discovery and assessments lead to the right solution
According to ITsavvy’s founder Mike Theriault, “Storage, for instance, is one of those tricky technologies that hinges on a web of other IT operations. The key to connecting the technology puzzle is identifying all of the pieces and seeing how they fit together. Common storage discussion themes often revolve around consolidation, performance and management, all of which are highly integrated. Typical client concerns: How do I bring together all of my applications under a unified storage and disaster recovery plan? How do I leverage new flash technology in my environment? How can I focus more on my business applications and less on my infrastructure? This leads to a more fundamental discussion about short-term and long-term business objectives. This might lead to a consideration of how storage impacts security. Maybe the conversation reveals a need for real-time storage analytics. Until ITsavvy understands what is driving value for the organization, we won’t propose a solution.”
To that end, ITsavvy has perfected the discovery phase with proprietary assessments and processes that disclose hidden cause and effect relationships. Solutions experts meet with decision makers and users who will be impacted by changes in the technology environment. The ultimate solution must bring value to all stakeholders, including ways to reuse existing technologies to maximize a client’s IT investment. One might think that makes logical sense to do your homework, look for efficiencies, and thoroughly study the client before suggesting a solution, but not every IT provider has that capability. It sets ITsavvy apart from competitors.
Designing Technology to grow with the Organization
For ITsavvy, an ideal client relationship is one that takes advantage of the IT provider’s depth of expertise. As an ITsavvy Vice President recalled, “One client in particular had been growing steadily through acquisitions, which resulted in many islands of data centers, each built by a variety of vendor solutions. Many people had come in and out of the party over the years, touching a piece and moving a piece. Securing and storing data was a messy operation. Yet, ITsavvy had been the IT partner throughout all of the acquisitions. Because our technology experts weren’t siloed, we were all working with the same knowledge. Because we are vendor neutral, we were certified to work on all of the legacy technologies. We helped the Chief Security Officer lock the whole infrastructure down.”
On the other end of the scale are start-ups, who have their own set of technology issues. ITsavvy’s advice when working with start-ups is to expect to outgrow their technology quickly. As for storage, ITsavvy advises a start-up to store in the cloud right off the bat. Start-ups should look for components that have scalability or that have pay-as-you-grow components. This can be a boon for seasonal businesses that may experience regular peaks and valleys of technology usage. Virtualization allows clients to add and remove services, such as virtualized desktops (VDI). ITsavvy’s wireless and bandwidth experts help small business hold down CapEx costs with BYOD initiatives. ITsavvy also works with small business clients that have all or portions of their operation remotely managed by the IT provider’s experts. The client may only need one IT person who serves as the contact person and runs reports. ITsavvy takes care of everything else. Start-ups in industries with compliance, SLA or eDiscovery technology mandates may find themselves overwhelmed quickly. Being out-of-compliance can have severe financial ramifications. ITsavvy’s data centers are fully compliant, relieving start-ups of one less thing to worry about.
Of course, technology plays a critical role in any organization’s livelihood. There is a significant amount of trust required for both IT provider and client, and as such, client/provider relationships tend to form strong bonds. According to Mike Theriault, “Many of our clients have been with the company since its founding. For ITsavvy, it means that tomorrow’s client relationship is more important than today’s sale.” It’s the reason why the company is more than willing to spend time upfront listening and understanding. It’s that kind of due diligence that ensures the client’s technology investment will become a strategic tool rather than a one-time cost. It is the reason ITsavvy has so many long-term client relationships. They have all grown together. They truly are partners.
Solutions that are Transformational
As for what’s on the horizon for ITsavvy, the company continually grows its partner base with industry leaders who enable ITsavvy to capitalize on combined strengths. This tightens relationships and helps the IT provider deliver insight that helps clients improve through efficiencies and analytics. Since ITsavvy believes that the knowledge hand-off is as important as the solution it prescribes, it regularly co-hosts webinars with its vendor-partners who are industry leaders like ShoreTel, EMC and Dell. This allows clients to gain first-hand product knowledge from the engineers who developed their solutions. It offers them a high level of access they might not otherwise have. ITsavvy wants to serve as that conduit between the product engineers and the product users. Teaching clients how to be successful is a primary step in the engagement process.
This is important because technology is a competitive and challenging industry. Client needs evolve, and ITsavvy strives to stay ahead of the curve. The company is continually on the lookout for opportunities to be transformational. Storage is one of those transformational solutions that can play right into ITsavvy’s strength as a full-service IT products and solutions provider. Of course, once you paint such a holistic view of the data center, things start to become very complex. That could scare off providers who don’t have the breadth of expertise that ITsavvy has. For ITsavvy, it’s right in their wheelhouse. When they are able to see the entire picture of a client’s technology, 10 times out of 10 they hit it out of the park.