Imagine you are the CEO/owner of a small- to medium-sized business (SMB) about to embark on your strategic growth plan for the next three to five years. You call on the key members of your executive team for input – Sales, Operations, Finance, and Human Resources typically come to mind. As an owner of a small business, you may be wearing the hats of most or all those roles. But what about Information Technology (IT)? What role is IT playing in your organization’s strategic planning?
In larger organizations, IT departments are commonplace and typically have a “seat at the table” when it comes to strategic planning. For SMBs, however, the costs of having an in-house IT team may not be feasible. This is where Standards I.T. CEO, Dan Slusarchuk, COO, Ryan Tisserand, and their team of specialists come to the rescue.
At Standards I.T., their SMB clients are afforded an entire IT team focused on the following key areas of information technology:
Chief Information Officer (CIO) – Bridging the gap between IT and business objectives to set up effective working relationships between all departments within your organization.
Project Management – Initiating, planning, and executing specific projects that have definite outcomes and managed risks.
Support – 24-hour support comprised of remote Help Desk, systems monitoring, vendor management, and patch management.
Infrastructure – Hardware, software, network resources, and services required for the operation and management of an enterprise IT environment.
Analytics – Organizations may apply analytics to business data to describe, predict, and improve business performance. Specifically, areas within analytics include predictive analytics and enterprise decision management.
Development – A process that includes planning, implementation, and evaluating programs to automate performing a task or solving a problem.
These key areas are what Standards I.T. offers in their business proposition as Information Technology as a Service (ITaaS). Under the ITaaS model, Standards I.T. “places great emphasis on the needs and the outcomes required by the business to improve employee productivity and both the top line (revenue) and bottom line (profitability).”
The vision for Standards I.T. started in 2012 when Dan took on his first and only client. That vision was then cultivated into the ITaaS model when Ryan partnered up with Dan in 2014. Dan and Ryan met during their time at Foundations HealthCare and left in 2014 to form Standards I.T. as a fully operational business. In 2015, they joined the Francis Tuttle Business Incubator, the Launch Pad, in Edmond to gain business experiences with other start-up businesses. Their journey at the Launch Pad resulted in standards that Dan and Ryan developed to grow their business with purpose.
Upon graduating from the Launch Pad in 2017, Dan and Ryan hired their first employee and moved into their new offices in Downtown Edmond. The duo has not looked back. In fact, they have experienced 65% year- on- year growth since. That rapid growth resulted in the expansion of their offices to accommodate the additional employees they hired to meet their clients’ needs.
So how do they do it? They have a simple philosophy to form a business model for IT to have a “seat at the table” when it comes to strategic planning for a business. That seat at the table is realized through their ITaaS model of providing an “effective IT Department” to small and medium-sized businesses, as well as “line of business” organizations within a larger enterprise.
To deliver an entire IT department to its clients, however, Dan and Ryan are very intentional with the types of businesses they serve. They call it their four business filters.
Location – First, their clients have to reside within a 50-mile radius of Standards I.T.’s offices in Edmond. This is important so that they can respond to on-site client needs in a timely manner.
Size – The ideal client is a business with 20-100 employees. This ensures the consistent delivery of managed services in Standards I.T.’s value proposition.
Annual Contract – To add value with that seat at the strategic planning table, the client must agree to an annual contract. This is imperative for the IT function that needs to grow at the same pace as their client’s growth.
Governance – Finally, their ideal client needs to have a focus on governance when it comes to their IT requirements. Tracking their clients’ goals and measures for success are a key part of that governance philosophy.
Once a potential client is qualified, the Standards I.T. team has a defined flow, which they call “How We Do It.” These steps, which are described in detail on their website, are:
- On Boarding
- Governance Council
- Project Management
Having intentionality in how Dan and Ryan structured Standards I.T. also led to a few other principles for their business. For example, a Standards I.T. client will have a dedicated specialist to focus on their every need. Achieving this dedicated focus results in a Standards I.T. specialist having no more than eight clients. Keeping this client load low ensures the level of reliable service their clients come to expect.
Dan and Ryan also recognized that “analytics is very much a part of and crucial to the ITaaS model.” As a result, this year Standards I.T. created a separate Analytics service to provide their clients with the option of analyzing their collective data. These analytics could provide their clients with deeper insight into their business from a revenue growth or cost efficiency standpoint.
The most unique part of the Standards I.T. business model, however, is how they spend their Mondays. Dan, Ryan, and their team of seven specialists do not bill out for any work on Mondays because that day is spent together focusing “on” the business versus working “in” the business. Half the day is spent as a team reviewing all their clients, one-by-one, “to make sure they are getting the proper care that they need.” The other half of the day is focused on the company and its processes and governance.
From a single client in 2012 to over 20 clients, today, Dan and Ryan envision their growth taking them to 25 employees. That vision includes growing their analytics service for their clients. Once that is completed, they would like to replicate their business model in other markets outside of the Oklahoma City metro. It is evident that the standards Dan and Ryan have curated over the past six years together has been done with purpose and intent, which will serve them and their clients well.
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About George Glover
George serves as a trusted advisor to high-integrity CEO’s, owners, and key executives, through the CEO and Key Executive peer advisory groups he leads. With 24 years in mining, steel manufacturing and construction, George possesses broad corporate level and direct business leadership experience from privately to publicly owned domestic and multi-national companies. Having lived in the United States, Mali, Australia, Malaysia and China, his exposure to diverse leadership styles and varying team dynamics has deepened George's appreciation for effective leadership and business culture.
George holds a BS in Accounting and Finance from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Golden Gate University. George moved to Edmond in 2014 with his wife, Holly, and children, George and Caroline.