Welcome to the first full week of 2020!
As we reflect on the closing of not only another year, but a decade, we wanted to share some thoughts about the significant changes that have occurred.
For a moment, let’s step back to July 2000 when Phil Miller and Joe Danaher started helping small businesses thrive by giving them a firm foundation in technology. This past decade saw tremendous growth and that initial great service turned their small business into 30 employees and 5 owners.
Integrity IT became a Trusted Business Partner and successful companies get attention. Phil received several offers a year from companies wanting to buy it. Some were venture capitalists wanting a great investment, some were competitors wanting to buy clients and shut Integrity IT down. Phil’s dedication to his employees and clients would leave those offers untouched. That same dedication made succession planning vital to his business strategy. Phil did not want to simply “close shop” when the owners wanted to retire.
One day in 2019, a business colleague introduced him to Mark Gerkin from The AME Group. That introduction became a significant event in 2019. It was hard for Phil to imagine finding a company that fit his core business values and service expectations. The AME Group also found an ideal company – successful with Managed Services and a robust Security Team. The two companies fit well together.
As you might expect, when an employee hears the company where they work is sold, they think they need to look for another job. The AME Group made it very clear that they valued each employee’s contributions to their job and wanted to make sure everyone felt confident in staying onboard. They bought Integrity for its service and reputation, which means its people.
Two Integrity IT partners were able to retire and three remain – Phil as General Manager, Joe as CISO and Bryan as vCIO. One full-time financial specialist working remote from Florida quickly found a new job but remains on contract with The AME Group to provide a smooth transition period. Our Human Resources was managed by a great company, Hanna Resource Group – our contract will run its course this year and we will miss our specialist, Allison Pettrey. Our backend services have moved to AME’s corporate headquarters in Vincennes, IN – so, finance and HR are managed from there. Our marketing coordinator’s position expanded in the new company.
The official sale date was October 1, 2019. In the two weeks before Integrity leaders along with AME leaders met with our clients to let them know about the sale and how the transition would impact them. We already had twice the usual project work hours on the books for the 4th quarter and The AME Group immediately sent assistance from the Louisville office to help stage and deploy the dozens of new workstations set to replace the End of Life Windows 7 units at many of our client offices. They also hired 2 new technical staff, solidifying their claims of valuing our employees. Needless to say, the 4th Quarter of 2019 has been busy and challenging for our technical staff.
Transitioning also had its challenges. Initially, and one of the biggest was managing email and calendars! Starting October 1, we needed to communicate with corporate and other AME sites and transition to their Office 365, but our recurring meeting and integrations existed in our Integrity account. A month of looking at 2 calendars soon smoothed out. We are thankful for Microsoft Teams, which makes chatting and collaborating easier. The AME employees have welcomed our employees with excitement and cheer, which makes the pain of change much lighter.
We will also transition our Professional Services Automation tool and our phones. Another great approach by The AME Group transition team is their desire to “do it right” instead of just “do it fast”. They have looked at our processes and workflows in detail to make a plan to move to their workflow or recreate our workflow in their environment. Some of our tools they like better than their current and will incorporate them into their environment. We will embark on training in this new year in preparation for the transition. Changing PSA tools will have a learning curve but the 3CX phone system will be a breeze. The mobile app set up in about 3 seconds as did the desktop client and a few test calls have been clear and easy.
Integrity IT was a great place to work and very generous to its employees, but nothing is perfect. There’s always room for improvement, which we strived for daily. The AME Group brings some very exciting things to the table. Their leadership has responded well to changes in the industry – staying on top of trends in technology and service delivery. They created an Employee Stock Ownership model of business, so each employee is given stock in the company each year, which has grown at an average of 14+% each year over the past 5 years and the company expects growth to continue. The AME Group prefers to keep its employees and with the ESOP and certification and training opportunities, each employee has a growth path and a nice retirement plan.
So what does 2020 bring for Integrity IT, The AME Group, its employees and clients?
Integrity IT will work to transition its brand to The AME Group. You will see changes in our advertising, webpage and social media and more as we combine the best of both companies. We value what we’ve created and will continue to be engaged in our local community. Our local staff will continue to serve our local clients and when we need, their expertise will assist clients across Indiana and Ohio. When our local team or client needs expertise, we have great team members in IN and OH to assist in Lexington.
The AME Group started acquiring companies in 2008 as a part of their growth strategy and Integrity IT makes the 12th company acquired.
Lexington will continue with the following services:
- Managed IT Services
- Managed Security Services
- Compliance Security Assessments
- Security Risk Assessments
- Consult and Design
- Healthcare IT / HIPAA Compliance
- Cloud Services
- Software Development/Integration
- Business Continuity
The AME Group adds the following service specialties:
- ERP (enterprise resource planning) Business Process Management Software
- Physical Security – surveillance, door access, intrusion detection
- Infrastructure – cabling, office relocation, racking systems, network design
- Audio/Video – conference rooms, multi-media systems, room design
- Voice – phones, call center
- Business Data Analytics
- Education IT
- Enterprise Lifecycle Management
- Value Added Staffing
- Print Management
We’d like to tell you more in person and discuss how we can improve your business technology and planning, contact us by phone at 859.899.8841 or contact us by email.