November 25, 2013 Issue
The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information
Private Cloud and Managed IT Services for Small and Mid-Sized Companies
comprehensive Private Cloud and Managed IT Services to ensure small and
mid-sized companies seamlessly power and successfully grow their businesses.
As founder and CEO of Coretelligent, Kevin leads the charge at the intersection of business, technology, and finance. He brings over 15 years of hands-on experience in IT and blends it with deep knowledge of business operations and the economic dynamics inherent in creating real value. Steadfastly committed to a set of core principles for delivering service excellence, Kevin founded Coretelligent in order to help clients effectively maximize their IT investments. Today, Kevin is responsible for the strategic development and implementation of practical IT solutions and manages a team of experts who have become trusted advisors to the clients they serve. In 2012 and again in 2013, Coretelligent joined the ranks of the Inc. 5000 fastest-growing companies in America and its Top 100 in Massachusetts.
Prior to Coretelligent, Kevin held senior positions with a number of companies including CMGi, iPhrase Technologies, and IBM. In these roles, he focused on the design and implementation of highly efficient IT infrastructure and solutions, while addressing diverse business needs across a broad user base.
Recently, Kevin has been honored as an emerging leader by the Boston Business Journal on their 2013 list of 40 Under 40. Philanthropically committed to improving the lives of children, he sits on the Board of Overseers of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Better Business Bureau of Eastern Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island & Vermont.
Technology – IT Support and Management, Cloud Services
Interview conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine,
Published - November 25, 2013
CEOCFO: Mr. Routhier, your website indicates Coretelligent is reshaping the concept of outsourced IT. How so?
Mr. Routhier: Information Technology has traditionally been a “break and fix” business. When I founded Coretelligent, I wanted to focus on the customer experience. I realize that may sound cliché, but I believe that IT service is a people business—it’s about partnering with clients and building long-term relationships. Technology is the medium in which we support our clients and their productivity. At the core of our mission, and critical to our success, is for the Coretelligent team to work in collaboration with clients in order to achieve the best possible business performance. Any firm can go out there and fix the box. Any firm can come in with some technical expertise. However, if you are not strategically focused in a way that develops a true partnership with your clients then,I do not think that you are really providing additional value. Our concept for reshaping outsourced IT is to deliver superior customer service in all aspects of what we do—from consulting to private cloud services as well as out managed services. That is what our reputation is based on.
CEOCFO: How does that play out day to day? What is going to be different about a visit or a conversation with someone at Coretelligent?
Mr. Routhier: It really comes down to our people. We have extremely rigorous hiring standards. We look for people who possess a unique combination of technical acumen and technical expertise. The difference is distinct and both matter. One is about having the passion and ability to learn new and emerging technologies. The other reflects a history of skilled expertise on a set of existing technologies. Our engineers have the expertise, no doubt, but theyalso must have a real hunger for the future, a desire to uncover what’s next in order to improve IT operations and productivity for the clients we serve. We also look for another important quality:people who can communicate effectively. Whether an employee is working on our remote support team or our field support team, each client should always feel like ‘number one’, and get the support and understanding they need: Demonstrating we are empathetic to the situation at hand;we understand the frustration that they may feel when they are dealing with a technical issue; we are able to have a productive conversation about why the problem is occurring and put it in terms that clients can understand; and,werespond with practical and cost-effective solutions in an extremely timely way, exceeding their expectations.This is the Coretelligent customer experience.Our people are our greatest asset and it shows in how they interact and communicate with clients, and each other. It is not about “tech talk”. It is not about “break / fix”. It is about a proactive customer relationship and ultimately, a partnership.
CEOCFO: Is there a common thread among you clients?
Mr. Routhier: We began the company primarily focused on financial services, meaning private equity, venture capital, investment banking and hedge funds. Earning the trust of our private equity and venture capital firmswas a big win because it created the opportunity to work with many of their portfolio companies. The referral rate for new customers is very strong at Coretelligent and we have been able to really leverage that as part of our growth. Today, financial services comprises about thirty-five to forty percent of our business. The balance of our clients is well diversifiedand represents a range of sectors,such as emerging technology, clean energy, life sciences, and non-profits. We also work with construction firms, law firms, and real estate brokerages. The real common thread among our clients?Their loyalty.We consistently have a client retention rate hovering around 97%. We are proud of our success in building long term relationships with our clients.
CEOCFO: Do the majority of your clients take advantage of the full range of your services or is it more of an “all or nothing” offering?
Mr. Routhier: That is a great question. I firmly believe in something that we call “conversions”. When we started the company it was about offering support in one form or another. It was about consulting, onsite support,remote support, and project services. As we expanded the business and became more entrenched in our clients’ businesses, our goal was to look for additional opportunities to provide real value.One of the things we recognized with the emergence of cloud based platforms is that Coretelligentcould give clients geographic diversity with their infrastructure, provide the highest level of up time, and offer the flexibility they needed to scale and growth. More importantly, we could help them reduce their capital expenditures year over year and really move them to an operational expenditure or a subscription cost. So we developed the Core Cloud, a fully managed private cloud hosting solution. Today, we have clients that not only take advantage of our services from a consultative basis; meaning onsite, remote and project services, but they are also leveraging us for their entire infrastructure. Therefore, we literally deliver their applications and their hardware. All of the services they would traditionally buy on their own, they now leverage Coretelligentfor via subscription services. In effect, we have found a way to take different aspects of IT and the monies that a firm would typically spend and push that into a real unified value and offer. Overall, we do not force the issue moving from one service to another, but have the expertise and capabilities to recommend services that are most appropriate for our clients’ needs. It is really about what is right for their business,assessing their needs, understanding their business model, and how their business is going to scale. Then we devise a tailored engagement based on those needs.
CEOCFO: When you or a member of your team is talking with a prospective client is there an “aha moment”? When do they understand the difference?
Mr. Routhier: Our sales approach is really conversational. We never go in with a PowerPoint tech presentation and try to force people into learning about Coretelligent. When people give us a call, it is typically because they were referred and they have a business challenge or issue they are struggling with. About ninety percent of our client base has come through referrals. That speaks to our consistent execution and high quality of service. People feel very comfortable recommending us to their colleagues; whether they hail from the same vertical or acrossindustries. Therefore, when we come to a client there is typically a good reason for it. There is a pain point or something that they want to talk about, and we do a great job of listening. We ask questions about the business. We want to understand what their challenges are. We want to understand how technology has either helped or made those challenges more significant for them. Then we want to have a high level discussion of what some potential solutions might be, and how we can possibly help them.We come out of that first meeting, not with a contract or with some sort of commitment, but rather with a valuable conversation where it makes sense to follow up and engage based on a proposal for a practical and real solution to enhance their business performance on an on-going basis.
CEOCFO: What is the key to evaluating the new technologies? Everyday there is something else, maybe more than once a day. How do you get a sense of what to pay attention to and what could be on the back burner?
Mr. Routhier: Again, working with a large number of firms in diversified industries as well as a portfolio of venture capital and private equity firms in New England, Silicon Valley and New York, we get a holistic perspective of the technologies that are being developed and the companies that are emerging. We understand how their products and services are impacting the technology landscape as it applies to the various layers of infrastructure and application services as they become available.Our visibility into what is coming provides us with a unique position. We areinvolved in early conversations and engage and interact with these companies in the beginning stages, looking atbeta products. As a firm, we have the opportunity to be bothan advisor and a participant that will actively vet different ideas and help shape how those ideas might be brought to market. This is how Coretelligent is unique.Our relationships and our reputation helpus not only to add value to our client base, butcreate the on-going opportunity to stay on top of what is emerging in the technology world.
CEOCFO: Coretelligent recently added a New York office? Why now?
Mr. Routhier: We have always taken a very measured approach to growth. We started here in New England. We focused on building our presence here in the greater Boston area first and then eventually expanded to Rhode Island and New Hampshire and the surrounding states. As a natural progression of our growth, we saw that many of our clients had offices in Silicon Valley, and we felt that in order to service their business more effectively and efficiently,opening an office on the west coastmade sense. We have had great success out in the Silicon Valley area. It has been great for our clients and for our business.The same is true for the New York City area. We felt the demand and opportunity was right. People had been asking us about our expansion plans and whether we would consider New York. We finally made the decision this past year and it has been met with tremendous support from our clients, which we deeply appreciate. We have enjoyed healthy growth, even in a very short time, confirming this significant decision.
CEOCFO: Do you see the need for additional offices in some of the other hot areas?
Mr. Routhier: It is tempting. There is opportunity everywhere. I think the hallmark of a good business is one that knows its limitations within its current scale. We have a duty to our employees and our clients to maintain a very high level of quality and service. I think what happens with services companies, when they expand too quickly, is that much of the time service quality suffers. We want to make sure that before we expand to an additional geographic location that we have made the right investments, we have the right people in place, and we have done all that we can to ensure that the quality of service that our clients have come to expect is not impacted. Our immediate plans are to focus on our three locations, continue to refine our model, and continue to provide great strategy and service to clients. Naturally, we will keep an eye on other possible locations in the coming years.
CEOCFO: Are there services you would like to add? Are there areas that you would like to be more involved in; perhaps mobile, for example?
Mr. Routhier: Mobile device security is a very interesting space.It parlays into the BYOD movement, the big Bring Your Own Device movement. Borne out of people working more independently from personal devices as a result of the cloud platform, both public and private, mobile devices are naturally becoming an importantfocus for businesses across all verticals. I think it is something that is going to become anintegral part of an IT services’ offering. Just like you are managing and building infrastructure for clients today on a base level, I think mobile device management and security will become a base level integration consideration as we continue to move into the coming months and into 2014. With other service offerings, we have certainly looked at a number of different technologies that we believe could benefit our clients. However, what it comes down to again is perfecting our core competencies and continuously refiningour current offering in order to provide the right set of solutions that will meet our clients’ goals and deliver significant benefit totheir business performance. We will keep our focus on 360 Support, Managed IT and Core Cloud. I think if we go beyond that right now we couldmake our core business vulnerable. But, of course, we stay on top of monitoring our clients’ needs and the changing trends in IT infrastructure design and business operations.
CEOCFO: What did you learn in your experience in companies like IBM that has been helpful at Coretelligent?
Mr. Routhier: Looking back through my career at the various firms that I have worked for, I think what stands out as a very consistent lesson is: whether your customers are internal or external, it is essential to approach customer service with a high degree of attention to detail, patience and communication. This is the recipe for success. I have worked for companies who have had a terrific internal culture and have had great clients, but ultimately have not communicated well. I believe that ongoing and clear communication drives success across the board for any business in any vertical. That is core value here at Coretelligent and is at the top of our list for best practices. I believe in encouraging a culture of transparency and knowledge sharing where honesty and open communication holds people accountable in making a relationship work. Even if it means over communicating with clients or employees, the outcome is always positive. Communication is one area that, over the years, I have been able to learn a lot from; both good and bad. I have worked for some terrific firms over my career, including IBM and prior to that iPhrase Technologies, which IBM acquired, and the experience really gave me the tools that I needed to build a successful business here at Coretelligent.
CEOCFO: As an Inc. 5000list company we know business is good. What is ahead?
Mr. Routhier: Hopefully, more of the same. We have been very, very fortunate, through a period of challenging economic times, to be able to create jobs and grow our business in all aspects—onsite and remote support, strategic services and our private cloud—while continuing to build trusting relationships with our growing client base. By staying focused on our clients and their success, we are confident we will garner additional success.
CEOCFO: Why pay attention to Coretelligent? Is there anything people might miss when they first look at the company that they really should understand?
I think it is hard to
differentiate between managed services providers. There are two hundred and
fifty thousand MSPs in the country. There are thousands of managed service
providers in New England. What is important to consider when exploring MSP’s,
is to take a closer look at the relationship: who are their clients? How do
they partner with them? What is their approach to the business? How long
have they done business with them? Is it a true partnership and the provider
acts as an extension of the organization or described more like a third
party vendor relationship? When you think of Coretelligent and you speak to
our clients, the overwhelming response is, “Coretelligent is a trusted
partner. They are an extension of our organization and they truly care about
our business; how the business works, how it will scale and what technology
makes sense. They help us understand how to leverage solutions that are not
necessarily the most expensive or tied to a margin or a number.
Coretelligent wanted to help us figure out our goals in the best possible
way, and not dictate what they thought we should have.” That pretty much
sums it up.
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