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With a broad range of technologists on staff, Miles Technologies helps clients tackle a variety of tough tech decisions, from network implementation to custom software implementation.

When Chris Miles was 12 years old, he began working full-time at a construction firm. Although such career precociousness might be startling to many, Miles believes it helped him see at an early age that hard work can bring a wealth of reward and satisfaction. It’s an attitude Miles now delivers to clients who utilize his consulting firm, Miles Technologies, which serves clients both locally in Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York, as well as nationally.

With a broad range of technologists on staff, Miles Technologies helps clients tackle a variety of tough tech decisions, from network implementation to custom software implementation. Miles chatted about what it takes to help small businesses get big results.

What do you do for small business clients in particular? I imagine firms of that size often need a different level of technology support.

What we do is to help them take advantage of technology, which is a very broad statement. In general, we help them increase their company’s productivity so they can become more competitive.

How does Miles Technologies help them do that?

We have different divisions to help clients. One is our IT division, which we call Mission Control. We monitor systems for productivity bottlenecks, set up systems for backup, and deal with viruses and security, that kind of thing.

Two other divisions we call Mission Possible, because we’re working on things that other people thought were impossible. In those divisions, we do software development and Web site development.

Why would small businesses need software specifically developed for them?

Many small businesses use their computers just to store data. But the brain inside a computer is called a processor, not a storer. It can be used for far more than what’s being done right now, so we build custom software that helps the sales department, for example, by setting up appropriate marketing triggers that draws on that processing power.

Sales can enter a contact, say, and then the software can set up a series of actions that have to happen in the near- and long-term future. It might cue up reminders to send email to the contact, or send email automatically. Basically, it uses the computer as a tool, not a storage device.

Do you find that you’re getting more requests for this type of customized software?

Definitely, it’s what more small businesses want. In the past, computers did little more than word processing and accounting, but now they’re able to do much more, they’re able to actually help the company run better. Having customized software is like having tools created just for your business. It can be very useful.

On my wall, I have a phrase: “I just want it to work, and so does our customer.” As complicated as technology gets, most of the time the customer just wants it to work, all day long. It’s our job to handle the complexity, including the viruses and power outages and network issues, so companies can simply get their work done.

Where do you see the need for your services going in the future?

We’ve really only helped the private sector, because there was such a need there, and that’s what we’ve been doing for seven years. In the future, we’re going to be looking at helping government agencies and schools, and those are areas where there’s a much longer buying cycle and different kinds of issues. We haven’t explored those customers in the past, but we feel that we have something to offer them.

Another thing we’re going to do it establish more relationships with vendors, so we can better serve our customers through those agreements.

How did you get interested in doing this work?

When I was 12 I got involved in computers, and bulletin board services. I found a bulletin board and chatted with the sysop, which led to me telling him I wanted to run my own. He sold me the software he wrote, and I started a bulletin with the sysop name Rocky Raccoon. It wasn’t much of a board, I just posted the weather, and stocks, even though I didn’t really know what stocks were. But it got me interested in computers.

At the same time, I was working construction after school, and eventually was doing it full time soon after that. When I was 17, I got my hand caught in a woodchipper, and when I was in the hospital I realized that if I was going to put myself in other situations like that, then I should be working for myself. I started my own construction business, and used computers right away.

As I moved into helping other companies with their technology, and eventually doing that as a living instead of doing it on the side, I realized that I’d always been interested in putting business and computers together. I understood the advantages that a company could have if they learned how to take advantage of technology, so that’s what we do, help companies to just do business better with technology.

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