Consulting firms tend to target larger companies with deep pockets, but Epixx Technology Partners is a different kind of tech consulting firm, helping small businesses to meet their technology challenges.
Consulting firms tend to target larger companies with deep pockets, but Houston-based Epixx Technology Partners is a different kind of tech consulting firm, helping small businesses to meet their technology challenges. Co-founder Doug Shehan talks about big brothers, hodgepodge systems, and avoiding the irritants.
How did Epixx get started?
I had recently left a consulting firm in Austin and my wife was offered her dream job in Houston. I called my friend and current partner, Bob Hayward, to see what was going on in the Houston market. We talked at length and found that we both had the same idea about providing higher-end IT services to the small and medium business (SMB) market. Epixx was started a couple of months later.
Why do you think there’s a need for your services right now?
For many SMBs, Information Technology has become as critical as it has for the Fortune 500s. Whether for profit or non-profit, they have followed the lead of their big brothers in corporate America by refocusing on their core business requirements. Like their larger counterparts, most SMBs are looking for ways to eliminate corporate inefficiencies due to the current economic environment. Certainly, many SMBs are struggling with the problem of how best to streamline their business by better utilizing their personnel and technology.
How does the company set itself apart from other consulting firms?
To date, the small businessman has not had the opportunity to form a long-term relationship with an IT provider. Larger consulting firms have, for the most part, ignored the smaller companies and the “mom and pops” have basically been sold generic hardware and software. This accounts for the hodgepodge of systems we encounter in many small businesses today.
Epixx fills this gap by bringing a wide breadth of business experience and technical knowledge to its customers. Once we have built a relationship with our customers, they come to depend on and trust our business consulting as much as technical expertise. They know that every technology decision is based on sound business practices.
What are the largest challenges that you see in providing technology consulting?
For the SMB, there are two primary challenges that we typically face: First is the cost vs. value dilemma. Small companies that chose to integrate technology into their day-to-day operations typically deal with the same problems facing larger companies, only on a smaller scale. These problems must be dealt with. Showing our customers how to mitigate their risks with the most cost-effective solutions available is the first major challenge.
Second is jointly creating a long-term plan that melds the business requirements with technology. In this process, the customer gains an understanding of the best technical alternatives and we learn the business goals and objectives of the company. The result is a plan and budget that fit the specific needs and finances of the customer.
What do you like best about what you do?
What I really like is not only helping business owners realize their dreams, but also watching them gain an understanding of how technology can become an asset, rather than an irritant, in their operations.
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