iCorps Technologies Sees Massive Growth Driven By Office 365

Boston-based iCorps Technologies has gone from 0 to 100 when it comes to Office 365.

Driven "significantly" by Office 365 growth, as well as IT support, outsourcing and projects, iCorps has been growing at more than 25 percent a year, and CEO Mike Hadley said they expect to grow the $15 million business more than 30 percent this year.

In recognition of their growth, iCorps was named Microsoft's Cloud Partner of the year for the Northeast region earlier this year. The award recognizes a channel partner's commitment to Office 365 solutions as well as superior partner performance and customer service.

The key to iCorps success when it comes to Office 365 is how it approaches customers with the technology, Hadley said. The company started with what it calls an Office 365 Readiness Assessment, where iCorps goes into a client and evaluates Internet, connectivity, security, and other factors that would affect the deployment. Instead of coming in just making a quick sale on Office 365 and floating by on the recurring revenue, Hadley said that iCorps works to build up the systems around it that will make it a success.

That's the place most solution providers go wrong with Office 365 with the initial deployment, Hadley said. While it's easy to get Office 365 up and running, he said that if solution providers don't plan carefully and set up a methodology, it will be a failure.

"It was really on adding value to our clients, that's how we did it," Hadley said. "Then we take that same approach in the sales process and where other people are going in there and just trying to ram Office 365 down people's throats, we're doing it very methodically, very well-thought out, very successfully."

That approach, combined with cost savings, means clients are buying into the cloud solution more than ever, Hadley said. He said he tells clients to "stop feeding the beast," referring to Exchange as a major infrastructure cost that "you continuously have to feed."

"I think more and more it's easier for them to buy in, especially when they start doing the math...To me, Office 365 allows you to really pull that out, that big infrastructure cost, the big total cost of service, and it definitely helps you in other areas of your business like compliance and keeping current on Office and it allows you to start using it as a business tool going forward," Hadley said.

Pushing hard into Office 365 didn't mean a major business overhaul, Hadley said, because the company has been focused on managed services since it was founded. The changes that the company did need to make was educating its consultants, teaching them about the inner workings of the technology and how to have those conversations with clients.

However, while having a focus on managed services made the transition easy, Hadley said that iCorps doesn't package the solution with its managed services offering Encompass. Instead, he said that the company sells Office 365 as a service separate from its managed services offering. He said he sees too many companies bundling them together, an approach he thinks establishes either the client or the MSP as the loser.

"Everyone's into this managed services kick, but really you should only be doing that in the areas that make sense...things that are top of mind, that people have to worry about, that you can take the ease from a client and there's no losers," Hadley said. "I think that model is flawed. You don't create two winners."

He said that iCorps offers a fixed price managed services offering, which includes scheduled proactive visits, help desk and account management but does not include emergency support or projects.

"One of the things I think is great about us, if you don't mind me saying, is we're all about keeping it proactive, keeping you up and running, versus reactive. Our entire model has always been based on that," Hadley said. "That's where we've evolved our support programs...and we continue to evolve it."

Next up, Hadley said iCorps is looking to do more work and more services around Azure, One Drive and Share Point. The company is also looking at Amazon and Intermedia as cloud options for clients, depending on their business need. While he said 60 percent of clients are still on-premise, Hadley said that "everyone's talking about some level of being in the cloud."

"We're seeing significant growth. We expect it and hopefully we'll get above even where we are right now by the end of the year," Hadley said. "We have big plans for next year."