Making it Microsoft

In creating a professional services business, Internosis realized that catering to enterprises that want to employ Microsoft technologies could be a boon to clients and firm alike.

Although there are plenty of technology heavyweights that provide equipment, software, and services, let’s face it: Microsoft is pretty much the alpha dog when it comes to corporate adoption. Its Office suite is used in over 95 percent of companies, and even with a host of competitors in the Web arena, Internet Explorer still boasts a majority of the marketshare.

In creating a professional services business, Maryland-based Internosis realized that catering to enterprises that want to employ Microsoft technologies could be a boon to clients and firm alike. Internosis provides business-driven IT services for Microsoft technologies in the enterprise, focusing on IT strategy, application development, IT infrastructure, and productivity service.

The focus has been paying off nicely. Besides its headquarters in metropolitan Washington D.C., the company has offices in Boston, Colorado Springs, and New York, and boasts clients like the U.S. Army, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Sunoco. Internosis CEO Robert Stalick talks about how the company found its purpose, and what tomorrow might bring.

Besides the fact that Microsoft is in so many corporate environments, is there another reason that you built your services business around the company’s technologies?

We made it a primary focus because Microsoft creates a rate of change for users that’s unparalleled. We do consult on other products and services, but we lean toward Microsoft because they’re such a market maker.

Internosis was started in January 2000, just when the boom started to go bust. How did you deal with it?

It’s true, we launched at the height of the frenzy. The company was the result of a technology services division purchase, and the owners decided it was a good opportunity to make the division into a company. When the industry started to sour, I can say it was one of the worst periods that I can remember in my career. All we could do is what other companies did, and that was try to stay strategic, and focus on our clients, and plan for the future. We were different from some dot-coms, I think, in that we didn’t have pool tables and so forth. I was old-fashioned, I guess, because I believe that if you need to decompress from your work, you should get out of the office.

What kind of effects from the industry shakeup do you see still having an effect on the scene today, and for the future?

One of the biggest changes over the past few years has been the reduction of the labor force. We lost a lot of entry-level people, who were in the early stages of their careers. On one hand, that was beneficial, because I think there were people who were in the industry who weren’t serious about the work and just saw an opportunity to cash in. So, we’re back down to having the best and brightest in the sector. On the other hand, we now have fewer people to absorb rising demand. Over the next three to five years this will become a significant challenge.

In terms of Internosis, now that the company has survived the past few years, what has emerged as a result?

We have a balance across governmental and commercial markets. We also have the belief that every project should have a predictable outcome. IT suffers from a horrible reputation which is largely deserved, and that is IT projects fail because they come in overbudget, overschedule, and with problems. If the construction industry performed at that level, we’d be living in rubble. But I think it gives us a great opportunity to show that it doesn’t have to be that way, there can be outcomes set and achieved.

It seems logical that every project should have a goal and a predictable outcome. Is that really not the case?

No, and it’s a marvel to me that it’s taken so long to get to this point, where people are asking for outcomes that can be measured. I think one change is that CFOs are becoming more involved in IT projects. These are people that are accustomed to expecting results and getting them, so when you put them n a decision-making role, you see a movement toward accountability.

Where does that leave the CIO in the process?

I think CIOs are much more anxious now about understanding the return on activity. They’re having to answer questions about ROI, so I think they’re beginning to be closer to the CFO mindset.

As the industry changes, where will Internosis go from here?

We expect to continue with the strategy that’s worked, and across the next couple years, I expect that our focus will continue to be predominantly on Microsoft technology. But we’ll also bring in experts on Linux and mainframes, and other areas of interest in the corporate sector. We see that our clients are challenged by multiple technologies, and we’ll try to anticipate ways to address those challenges by broadening our process to encompass other technologies.

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