InfoSystems celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. 25 years ago, mobile devices barely existed. The mass adoption of laptops and smartphones has completely changed the way people work. Other big influences on IT services include physical document digitization, automation of manual processes with software, growth of data and ways to use data, the introduction of viruses and cyber security threats.
“What hasn’t changed in 25 years is what we really do for our customers,” says Josh Davis, Director of Marketing at InfoSystems. “We solve business problems and challenges with technology. We help make businesses more efficient, intelligent and secure, as well as resilient, profitable and more competitive. We’re an innovator in cloud services, especially for a company based in a smaller market like Chattanooga.”
Trend sat down with Davis for tips on staying relevant as times change.
Trend: How has InfoSystems been an innovator in cloud services?
Davis: InfoSystems President and CEO Clay Hales has launched two cloud service companies. APSU, Inc., and ZPX Cloud, Inc., offer architected stacks of IT infrastructure (PODs) within top-tier data center facilities. These PODs deliver high levels of compute power, speed, storage and up-time- the types of systems built by Fortune 500 companies. InfoSystems gives access to these highly-engineered environments to smaller companies.
The big difference between us and other regional cloud providers is that they are mainly hosting on the same type of servers, storage and networking equipment that their customers would own. We’re giving customers access to higher power equipment and a greater range of technologies. We also provide something that the big public cloud companies can’t offer, which is personal service and direct access to our engineering team. We don’t think the overseas call center model is the right way to provide customer service when a company needs help with business-critical IT systems.
T: How have cloud services changed and how has that impacted you?
D: Today, customers are likely to pay a monthly fee for always-on IT services delivered from our infrastructure.
Another major shift has been the transition from companies having a fully-staffed IT department and handling the majority of their IT management and support in-house, to using companies like InfoSystems as a managed IT services provider.
The new model makes sense because of the remote monitoring and management technology available today. We have a Network Operation Center (NOC) in our building staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The same technology and resources we use to monitor and manage our high-end data center equipment is what we use for the equipment that our customers own. So companies don’t need to hire a huge IT team. They can use InfoSystem’s resources for the routine tasks of monitoring and management, keeping their own team lean and focused on more strategic endeavors.
It’s been difficult for IT companies to transition from a traditional model of selling equipment to the new ‘as-a-service’ model.
Older IT companies have struggled to adapt and new IT companies who specialize in managed IT services have popped up. These companies gravitate toward selling third-party cloud services from major technology firms like Google and Amazon, which are referred to as public cloud or hyper scale cloud, for their ability to provide almost limitless space.
Newer companies lack the experience with traditional IT systems. Companies like IBM still have a dominant presence in larger companies and traditional industries like manufacturing, distribution, retail and finance.
InfoSystems shines in the hybrid cloud approach, which allows great flexibility. Whether on customer-owned equipment, in the InfoSystems Cloud or in one of the public hyper scale clouds, InfoSystems helps customers keep their trusted systems running on the newest technologies and maximize their existing investments instead of requiring expensive, risky migrations from one platform to another.
T: What is your most popular service?
D: Our most popular services are our free services. Yes, that’s right. We give services away. InfoSystems performs free IT assessments for companies who may want to do business with us. We offer several different types of assessments including network assessments, data storage assessments, security assessments and cloud migration assessments.
We also commit our senior-level resources to perform assessments because it allows us to demonstrate our abilities to companies who don’t know us. We don’t think there are many other companies out there whose senior-level personnel do free work on a regular basis, but we feel like that has set us apart and helped us earn a fantastic reputation around the region.
We’re well-known for our high-level engineering services. Our technical team has always had more senior-level engineers than entry-level support technicians. This comes from our commitment to building things the right way the first time. Our experience has been that if you don’t cut corners, you save money in the long run.
Higher quality systems that are well-engineered will not only outperform lower quality systems, but they encounter fewer issues and break-downs.
T: Have your featured technology partners changed over the years? How has that impacted what you do?
D: In our early years we were an exclusive IBM Business Partner for servers and storage. As the technology and market has changed, it made sense for us to become a multi-vendor reseller. Over the years we expanded partnerships and brought in new technical resources.
We now partner with many top-tier server and storage manufacturers like Dell EMC, HPE and Cisco. We have also added business partners as new technologies have been developed, such as VMware for virtualization, Nutanix for hyperconverged systems and Zerto for disaster recovery solutions.
We maintain strong partnerships with our vendors by investing in high quality personnel and making sure they receive constant training and certifications. Microsoft invited us to be part of a special program for companies who demonstrate high skill and growth in their Office 365 platform.
InfoSystems provides customers with additional resources from our partners. At no extra cost, we help with assessments, system design and validation before a sale is made. Smaller IT companies can’t provide these benefits from these kinds of relationships.
T: What celebration plans do you have for your 25th birthday?
D: We’re sponsoring the Chattanooga Technology Council’s April social event and making it a big birthday party.
Two of our employees, Fred Cobb, VP of Cloud Operations, and Rob Ashcraft, Senior Account Executive, are in a band together, The Bo Ashby Band, so we’re bringing them to the Signal for the ChaTech social to make it something special. It’s a free event with food and games open to the public (age 21+). Register here.