By Drew Masters for TCAJoB
IT trends in the Tri-Cities are consistent with those of the United States in general – small to medium-size businesses are sourcing out to professional IT firms instead of handling issues internally, according to Byron Martin, Teknologize founder and 14-year industry veteran.
“Organizations and businesses are sourcing out as much as possible; there’s a lot of simplification in IT management,” said Martin, who launched his business six months ago in order to fulfill the need for a “proactive,” versus “reactionary” IT experience.
Martin maintains that most IT professionals have the same tools available to their clients, but the difference is in the process – how the company meets the technology support a business needs and wants.
“My approach is very different now from where I was previously,” said Martin. “It’s not just about computers and servers. Expectations are really high; technology is absolutely critical to business. Business comes to a screeching halt if the Internet is down. The way things used to be done is no longer acceptable in today’s market.”
To meet that higher level of service, Teknologize focuses on an aggressive, proactive approach to providing support.
“We have a whole recipe that allows the business owner to have worry-free technology so they can focus on their business,” said Martin. “And they are able to do it on a predictable budget. Our secret ‘sauces’ are the processes that we put together that provide structure for us and organization for our clients.”
Martin said one of the most difficult things for businesses to deal with is reactionary IT, which can result in huge, unplanned costs to businesses if they needed new server or had to replace a workstation, and the money wasn’t set aside in the annual budget.
“A big role we’re developing is a ‘Virtual CIO,’” said Martin. “This will help increase efficiency and reflect more profitability for the business.”
The service includes technology planning that avoids surprises and ensures predictable technology costs, he said.
Without a “Virtual CIO,” business owners generally call a computer repairman in emergency situations and pay at an hourly rate. This can be costly, said Martin.
Teknologize’s immediate goal is to build a solid foundation as an IT management company that specializes in small business network, server and computer support, ensuring vendor relationships and establishing account contracts, all while growing at a comfortable pace.
One of the keys in IT management is “the cloud,” said Martin.
“We have some solutions and services around cloud technology that will increase a business’s up time and decrease overall risk,” said Martin.
In a nutshell, businesses previously performed backups on media drives but many now back-up online.
An even more important layer exists, however.
“People now ask, ‘How quickly can we be back up and running?” said Martin. It’s all about continuity, he said.
“There are now services on the Internet that aren’t just back-up of client’s servers. Instead, it instantly runs a virtual server out in the cloud,” Martin explained. “If a server crashes, is damaged in a fire, or for any reason isn’t working, a client can log onto a web page and then get a fully functional server.”
In the past, businesses could be crippled for hours or even days if a server crashed. Now, employees can be back at work within minutes. That’s a big bonus for any business — regardless of size.
Martin believes the big players like Amazon, Google and Microsoft “are dumping billions of dollars into cloud services because you get a lot more reliability and consistency.”
“Plus, overhead is reduced considerably; you don’t have to invest so much into software and licensing, all of which are great for small- to mid-size businesses,” Martin said.
The healthcare field is one of Teknologize’s niches simply because of increasing demands by state and federal records regulations on providers, Martin said.
“We have a lot of medical clients, all on electronic medical records. They must have access to them,” said Martin. “We must narrow the down-time window; it’s vital to business.”
Teknologize focuses its work on helping businesses with 10 and 150 employees, Martin said.
Long-term goals include developing a nonprofit arm for young professionals trying to enter the IT industry.
“My plan is to develop an intern program and networking community locally and online for students entering the IT industry to connect with professionals that have been out there for a long time,” said Martin. “Another goal is to have a solid company with happy employees. I believe in the mantra ‘We work to live; we don’t live to work.’ I’d like to help provide a healthy balance for employees’ work and family lives.”
Martin and two full-time employees currently operate Teknologize, though Martin seeks employees for two additional positions – one in outside sales and the other as a network administrator. Martin said two possible office spaces are being considered and will be decided my mid-June.
Currently, all Teknologize operations and phone systems are “out on the cloud” and running smoothly.
Teknologize can be reached at 396-6641 or through the website at www.teknologize.com.