As a premier provider of innovative business and technology consulting services, the company implements best-of-breed technology solutions to help their clients stay ahead of the competition. The company is powered by a team of business professionals, innovators, designers, engineers, and web developers who work together to help clients boost their operational efficiency. Envision Technology Advisors’ humble beginnings centered around providing local customers with technology consulting services, including Y2K preparation to a variety of businesses in and around Rhode Island. Since its inception in 1998, Envision Technology Advisors has grown to over 50 employees. Today, they provide a variety of state-of-the-art technology solutions and services. Whether it’s helping businesses along their digital transformation journey, implementing cybersecurity best-practices to protect against malicious requests, or mobilizing a business continuity solution in less than thirty days, Envision’s expertise and knowledge in the technology consulting sphere is unparalleled.
In an interview with CIO Applications, Envision Technology Advisors’ Founder & CEO, Todd Knapp, and Director of Marketing, Jeremy Girard, share their insights on the value proposition and the industry-grade managed services the company offers in the IT space.
What are the challenges clients face in the IT services landscape, and how does Envision Technology Advisors address them?
Knapp: Like many businesses, most of our clients face the same basic issue of needing to “do more with fewer resources.” Clients are looking for smart ways to make better use of their employees by outsourcing run-of-the-mill tasks to free up their time. This is where the role of managed service providers comes into play. While most MSPs only concentrate on carrying out these run-of-the-mill tasks, Envision Technology prides itself on being what we call a “DSP”, or dynamic services provider. We help our clients do more than just monitor and manage the technology they currently have in place. We develop solutions that are tailored to each client’s specific business environment, learning and understanding the challenges that are unique to their industry. We strategize for both the present and the future, creating roadmaps for our clients that clearly lay out their technical priorities today and down the road. In a nutshell, with our services, clients can convert managed services from “expensive and complicated” to “affordable and easily consumable.”
Going beyond Managed Services challenges, a lot of our clients seek out our help with security and compliance initiatives. We see a lot of companies implementing cybersecurity training via lengthy instructional videos. We believe this is an ineffective training method. Not only is it difficult to track whether all employees have watched the videos, but it’s often the case that employees aren’t giving the videos their full attention.
Our journey is powered by constant change and an exceptional team, which is why we have been successful over the last two decades
What is the methodology that you follow while onboarding clients?
Knapp: The managed service industry is focused on fitting every client into the same box, regardless of the fact that each client is unique in their own way. We construct managed services around our clients’ unique requirements. What truly differentiates us from other MSPs is our aversion to contracts. Unlike the 12/24/36-month contracts favored by other MSPs, our approach is to earn business through monthly agreements with no-termed contracts. We’ve also built a process to provide transition assistance and we assign a dedicated project manager to guide our clients through the onboarding. If a customer seeking out our services is currently on contract with another MSP, we offer our services free of cost by buying out the balance of their current contract. This not only makes changing service providers easier, but it also facilitates client transition and experience. We don’t want to force methodology on our clients; rather, our goal is to develop a managed services partnership that prioritizes their unique goals and challenges.
Girard: Alongside the transition assistance program, we also invest in our clients by getting them onto our services without charging them extra for the initial setup. That’s an initial investment we make in them and their businesses.
Could you share a use case scenario wherein you helped a client overcome their challenges?
We primarily do business with mid-market companies. One of our retail clients has 165 stores (franchises) throughout New England, and each store independently handled their technology domain. The client sought a unified experience for their employees and their customers that would be easily manageable across all 165 locations. Upon onboarding the client, we sat down with their senior executives to learn more about their business requirements and design a managed services solution tailored specifically to their needs. We retrofitted the client's entire IT infrastructure within five months, enabling them to roll out a new point of sale (PoS) software, wireless infrastructure, and cybersecurity for PCI DSS obligations. We also set up a cloud-based backup and recovery system and a business continuity plan for the client. Our team delivered both pre- and post-implementation support for each of the client's branches, allowing them to more seamlessly and efficiently manage their business operations.
What differentiates Envision Technology Advisors from its competitors and what are some milestones that the company has achieved recently?
Knapp: There are two unique aspects of our company that drive us ahead of the competition. First, we have a team of committed, motivated, and intelligent experts who are the driving force behind the business. When people care about what they do, it’s hard to fail. Secondly, we are believers and advocates of change. Unlike other companies that function in the same fashion for decades, we keep innovating to boost productivity. Our journey is powered by constant change and an exceptional team, which is why we have been successful over the last two decades.
In terms of organizational milestones, we had a good run in 2018 from an internal process, workflow development, and financial point of view. We succeeded in our digital transformation efforts that included moving all our internal communications out of conventional tools and into cloud platforms for seamless workflows and efficiencies. At the same time, we have rolled out new service lines in mobile app development and programming, expanded our concierge configuration services, and enhanced our business management platform.
Girard: We are proud to say that our employees have voted Envision Technology Advisors as one of Rhode Island’s best places to work for the past ten years in a row.
How do you envision the future of Envision Technology Advisors?
Knapp: We have a number of exciting updates coming up in 2019. We are rolling out a new analytics view for our managed services offerings. This will allow customers to track the status of their open requests with us in real-time, as well as monitor the performance of their environments using dashboards that will be deliverable through mobile devices. Envision is also looking at expansion of data analytics as a service. Apart from this, we are all set to introduce our second-generation cloud platform that will heavily focus on edge cloud.