2013 Winner: Intellinet Corp.
- By Scott Bekker
- October 01, 2013
In mid-2010, Atlanta-based Intellinet Corp. was struggling. A tough recession in the technology services industry and a strategic plan that had not kept up with the changing marketplace had plagued the firm's productivity.
While Intellinet was a highly regarded firm with over 40 regional, national and worldwide Microsoft awards, revenue had fallen flat and was beginning to decline. Some years were profitable, while other years operated at a loss, resulting in a breakeven business. Over the years, employee morale suffered and Intellinet faced a crisis of identity and performance.
"When the recession hit and Intellinet experienced operating losses in the first half of 2010, the Board evaluated the company's viability and realized if Intellinet was going to thrive once again, it needed to reposition its go-to-market strategy, management team and overall operations," said Frank Bell, founder and chairman of the 20-year-old Microsoft-centric technology services firm.
For that task, the company tapped an internal executive to become its new president and senior partner. Mark Seeley had joined Intellinet in 1996, just a few years after the systems integration firm was founded. In addition to his experience with internal operations and key Intellinet accounts, Seeley was a proven entrepreneur, trained in strategy and process consulting from Andersen Consulting, who garnered respect from fellow executives as a strategic thinker and business-minded leader.
Seeley and his management team got right to work. The company had strong brand recognition as a result of over 5,000 client engagements in over 40 states with a great reputation for service, and also boasted a world-class profile within the Microsoft ecosystem with multiple Microsoft "Worldwide Solution of the Year" awards.
Seeley concentrated on the need for a long-term growth strategy beyond the company's core systems integration work. He and his management team laid out a five-year, five-pillar plan to carry the company forward and meet clients' future needs. The pillars were Technology Projects, Management Consulting, Cloud Solutions, Product Integration and the Intellinet Delivery Center.
Technology Projects and Product Integration grew naturally out of the company's historical business, and Seeley created a new internal review committee to ensure all projects met business requirements and used or created repeatable assets. Crucial, however, to Intellinet's strategic transformation was its move upstream to "lead with Management Consulting" -- a business alignment philosophy making Intellinet more strategic and valuable to its huge client base.
Intellinet also doubled down on its early efforts in Cloud Solutions, mirroring the 2010 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference messaging of "we're all in" from Microsoft, having already brought over 75,000 seats to the early Microsoft cloud. Intellinet saw the opportunity within the cloud and became an early Microsoft Cloud Accelerate partner. The final piece to Seeley's vision involved creating a new Intellinet Delivery Center, which would serve as the foundation for large-scale development projects and its managed services offerings.
"These five pillars have proven to be a successful strategy for our firm. The second half of 2010 brought about a new go-to-market strategy, financial stability and a purposeful initiative to become a world-class consultancy," Seeley said. "In 2011, revenue increased 11 percent and operating profit increased 810 percent. In 2012, revenue increased 26 percent and operating profit increased 83 percent. The growth in core services, as well as the additional gross profit provided by product incentives and stronger partnerships, have provided a strong foundation for Intellinet's further expansion into new regions and targeted acquisitions of other regional service providers."
"Throughout our turnaround and subsequent growth, we have remained committed to building a best-in-class company culture," Seeley stated. Intellinet has racked up over a dozen awards in the past three years, including having been named a 2013 "Best Small Firms to Work For" by Consulting Magazine. "This recognition validates the hard work in pursuing our vision of being a 'profitable, growing company that delights customers and provides an excellent experience for our employees.'"
With a solid focus on cloud solutions and linking all technology projects to their underlying business objectives, Intellinet has delivered 32 consecutive months of profitability and counting, and seems poised for strong growth in years four and five of the plan.
Read the full 2013 RCP Rocket Award winners feature here.
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Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.