Ingrid Gattari talks to Jason Rylands sales manager of Information Systems Technologies, a small integration company emerging as the complement to an accounting company's servicesARN: How would you describe your business?
Rylands: We are the IT wing of an accounting firm called Kennedy and Co. We operate as a separate company but are owned by one of the partners. Kennedy and Co. has many SME clients who need computing and networking solutions as well as accounting services.
We supply them with that total solution.
We also have our own clients which we refer to Kennedy and Co., so it's a mutual relationship.
Does your business have a special area of focus as an integrator?
Client satisfaction. Keeping the client for Kennedy. is crucial so we endeavour to provide a network and accounting solution the client is happy with. We mainly provide client/server solutions based on Windows NT.
What type of customer do you tend to cater to?
Small-to-medium businesses with between one and 50 users.
What differentiates your company from others in the same field?
Because we are part of an accounting company and not just an IT company, we have a range of skills to provide a complete solution for our clients. We are skilled as IT solutions providers and we can call in the experience and resources of Kennedy and Co. to set up a chart of accounts for clients where required. We excel because of our close association with Kennedy and Co.
Which vendors do you partner with?
We partner with High Tech distribution. We use Microsoft software with Acer servers and laptops. For our desktop solutions we use Kern Technology.
What do you look for in a vendor partnership?
A company who can value add and who can back up their products with specialist skills.
What new or emerging technologies offer the best opportunities to your company?
We have just branched into Web design and setting up intranets for some of our existing clients. We have started to incorporate Flash technology into our Web designs as well.
What is the key buying motive amongst you customers?
Mostly upgrading from an old computing and/or accounting system. For example, the Y2K problem and now the GST challenge.
What are the major challenges facing your company?
Trying to gain more clients that are not associated with or referred by Kennedy and Co. and to build up clients that require maintenance and other services so that we have a fixed turnover.
What are the main inhibitors to your business development?
Finding good and dedicated staff and then keeping them. We have to continue growing our customer base and business in order to keep good staff.
What piece of advice would you offer to other IT integrators?
Don't go for the cheapest-priced solutions because you burn too many clients using inferior out-of-the-box products when trying to match the cheaper prices on offer from the big retailers.