The growth in UC fueled by BYOD, wireless technologies, and the desire for remote work options often require solutions that multi-task and integrate easily with existing applications. According to Gartner, 30 percent of BYOD strategies will leverage personal applications, data and social connections for enterprise purposes by 2016. These BYOD users want anytime-anywhere access, while the CIO needs to maintain vigilance over security and reliability. Conflicts may arise between internal stakeholders, pitting the CIO or IT Director as a mediator between user and management demands. UC providers need to understand the needs of the end-user and synthesize them with an organization’s strategy, security initiatives and budget. “Finding common ground is not always easy. This intersection requires intuition, analysis, and ingenuity. It plays into ITsavvy’s strengths,” says Mike Theriault, President and CEO of ITsavvy, which offers Unified Communications along with an entire portfolio of IT solutions and products.
Based on his passion for emerging technologies, Theriault co-founded ITsavvy along with Chris Kurpeikis in 2004 with a credo that their primary measure of success would be client satisfaction, and not revenue. “We started ITsavvy after watching competitors repeatedly dropping the ball post-sale. We responded to that and quickly gained a reputation for our client-centered support,” states Theriault. “We listen to the client’s challenges, assess their operations, and understand their strategies.” The expert team at ITsavvy recognizes that designing the right solution through upfront consultations is important. While every organization may have different obstacles and business drivers, ITsavvy ensures that their proposed solution completely satisfies client strategies, with an eye on ROI and TCO.
“We want clients to harness technology as a strategic tool for optimization, growth and competitive success,” says Theriault. Ongoing client education, like vendor events and webinars, is an integral part of that philosophy. ITsavvy’s summer webinar will focus specifically on optimizing the UC investment.
We see our roles not only as engineers but also as coaches and mentors, offering end-to-end support along with end-to-end solutions
ITsavvy realizes it can further help CIOs and IT Directors become more strategic through its portfolio of managed and hosted services, which help to off-load routine tasks and operational oversight to the provider. It is a growing trend, since it offers today’s lean IT operations optimal resource allocation. “We have responded by partnering with the top hosted voice vendors, bringing advanced technologies and a wide choice of plans to our clients. Our managed Network Operations Center (NOC) solution includes monitoring and management of the infrastructure that phone systems run on, so managed UC is a logical add-on service,” states Theriault.
Since its inception, ITsavvy has viewed UC as an application overlay onto a data network. ITsavvy’s end-to-end approach empowers a single team with the complete design, installation and support of a client’s UC solutions. To ensure successful deployment, a client environment is recreated in an Innovation Lab to beta test technologies prior to installation. Having one team follow a project from concept to deployment eliminates disruptions and mistakes that can occur during handoffs—a major advantage for ITsavvy and its clients. It also allows for a more holistic view of the infrastructure, helping to identify ahead of time how changes in one area will impact others. As Theriault explains, while an opportunity may start with a focus on UC, an appropriate solution would also consider variables such as the condition of the client’s network, the decision to implement on-prem vs. in the Cloud, and strategies like virtualization, security or contact centers. “We take into account all these factors that impact total business needs. Our UC data engineers are cross-trained on various industry trends. Many of our engineers hold multiple vendor certifications. Our vendor-neutral approach allows us to bring in a variety of solutions that can collectively meet the business needs of clients, today and in the future,” adds Theriault.
An example of this holistic approach was evident in a recent project for an ITsavvy client with stateside operations and plans to expand its casino business offshore. The client not only desired a phone system that could be networked seamlessly throughout the organization, but there were additional technology demands that proved quite complex. The client required more robust firewalls and wireless access points. In addition, any new UC solution had to allow the client to reuse their existing phone equipment as well as integrate any new system with a legacy Cisco Unified Communications Manager, a non-redundant Cisco Unified CME solution, and a Percipia Parallax Hospitality Suite software solution. The client also wanted to expand current data networks for the new facility to include additional Cisco core switches, firewalls and wireless access points.
Architecting Communication Strategies
In tandem with UC technologies that encourage face-to-face communication without the time, expense or travel, ITsavvy’s UC solutions include the capability for virtual meeting attendance anytime, anywhere. “To be competitive, it is critical for users to be able to share documents and make calls with video capabilities on their personal iOS or Android devices. We partner with Lifesize for video conferencing technologies that make meetings accessible from any device, application, browser or endpoint,” says Theriault. The company has built strong partnerships with global technology leaders that include Cisco, ShoreTel, Mitel, NEC, HP, Dell, EMC, and VMware, allowing the firm to become a true end-to-end solutions provider.
Simplifying the life of the IT department is the ultimate goal of ITsavvy. “We want to untangle enterprise IT,” says Theriault. “We create relationships with our clients by listening, collaborating and supporting their strategies. We often see our roles not only as engineers but also as coaches and mentors, offering end-to-end support along with end-to-end solutions.” That client dedication has enabled ITsavvy to evolve from a value-added reseller to a single source technology solution and service provider that offers IT products, engineered solutions, managed services, Cloud solutions, Unified Communications, and technical staffing. ITsavvy’s nationwide product reseller business has 46 distribution centers and best-in-class delivery times, enabling faster response times. The firm has $8 billion in daily inventory available, featuring over 1,000 brands.
In 2014, the Better Business Bureau—a nonprofit organization focused on advancing marketplace trust– bestowed ITsavvy an A+ with zero complaints. “It was the proof of our commitment to providing superior client service, industry-leading IT products and the most appropriate and effective technology solutions,” affirms Theriault.
With the global Unified Communications market forecast to grow at a CAGR of 14 percent over the next five years, ITsavvy sees a bright future in the UC arena, particularly in hosted platforms and managed services. As new technologies emerge, ITsavvy continues to address changing client needs by strengthening its vendor partnerships and by actively seeking acquisition of companies with niche expertise to enhance its solutions portfolio. ShoreTel, one of ITsavvy’s partner manufacturers, recently announced that its mobility platform will support the Apple Watch. “We will be able to offer the app to clients whose users want to integrate their office call and voicemail notifications onto an Apple Watch. We want to be a part of that kind of innovation,” says Theriault.