IV4 Inc. has managed to grow steadily over the years by asking a simple question of its more than 400 clients: Why?
The information technology firm wins business by creating trust, by learning about clients’ specific businesses and by listening for the real reasons why customers seek the company’s help.
Once a client’s problem is understood, the technology part of the job takes care of itself, IV4 officials say.
“The core philosophy is to be their partner,” CEO Michael Spoont said. “The philosophy is to understand their business, understand how we can help them meet their business objectives and provide a solution.
“The technology is kind of the easy part, quite frankly. Understanding the business and delivering the optimal solution, that’s what we do better than—we think—pretty much everyone else.”
IV4 recently was named to the national 2013 CRN Next-Gen 250 list, which highlights up-and-coming providers making a mark in the tech industry.
In 2014, the company expects 10 percent revenue growth and plans to add two employees. Soon the company will launch a new website with a new look, more content and a better representation of the firm’s business model.
The company is the product of a May 2011 merger between Spoont’s previous company, Networks.com Inc., doing business as Visory Group, and IV4 president Richard Gleason’s previous company, Integrity Networking Systems Inc.
Timing was a driving force behind the merger. When the companies merged, the momentum of cloud computing began to strengthen in the tech industry. That created a need in both companies for a larger team to compete effectively.
“We said maybe we should hitch our wagons together, and a lot of that was influenced by the cloud and the changes in our industry,” Gleason said. “It was hard to come up with a cloud strategy, being a couple of smaller players. We thought it would be a good idea to get a little size to us (and) get a little Thruway expansion going.”
The company has 38 employees based in its Perinton and Syracuse offices. Some 90 percent of its clients are in New York.
The firm works with a range of businesses, many of which have their own IT departments but need extra support because of a lack of time, resources or particular expertise, IV4 officials said.
“For some of our larger customers, they already have an IT strategy,” Spoont said. “Their staff is managing the direction in which they’re going, and they’re coming to us because we have certain expertise in house that they lack. Typically (the) IT group handle(s) the day-to-day very well, but we do the big projects regularly.”
The IT and consulting firm has focused on building out its consulting team to better serve clients. The company’s offerings include cloud, virtualization, security and managed services.
Big data and concerns about security and privacy can create blurred boundaries for IT services as companies seek to use data in new ways, Spoont said.
“What we’re seeing is that information technology is going outside of the realm of just the traditional IT department,” Spoont said. “You’ve got marketing, for example—social media. … There are lots of initiatives going on that are IT-based but outside of IT.
“IT wants to make sure that things are secure, but the business unit wants to make sure that they can get the data when they want it, where they want it and the way they want it.”
Security always has been important in the IT industry, he added. What is different now is the openness of information and the accessibility that people want for information.
“There’s always this balancing act between I want access to my information but it needs to be secure,” he said.
After the merger in 2011, a fire that destroyed the local office in 2012 and a shift to focusing on larger clients in 2013, this is the year IV4 plans to focus on execution and efficiency.
“(A) big point of emphasis internally, especially in 2014, is just doing what we do but doing it better,” Gleason said. “It’s all about execution this year. Each year in our existence, we’ve had something going on, and so we have told the employees 2014 is all about us.
“We’re not looking to expand this year; we’re not going to have many new service offerings. This is what we’re doing.”
The Rochester Top 100 program is presented by the Rochester Business Alliance Inc. and KPMG LLP. Launched in 1987, it recognizes the fastest-growing private companies in Greater Rochester. This year’s Rochester Top 100 event will be held Nov. 5. For more information, go to rochesterbusinessalliance.com.
IT consulting, engineering, services and product fulfillment company
Top executive: Michael Spoont, CEO
Employees: 38 (21 in the Rochester area)
2013 ranking: 25
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