ITK Solutions Group: Bringing Top-Notch Industry Expertise to the Table
From its humble beginnings in 2009 to its breakout success today, one thing that has defined ITK's position in the highly competitive industry is a powerful combination: the "industry knowledge of their leaders" and their consultants’ ability to “leverage software to solve real-world business problems.”
First, there's Sam Coluccio, a partner, and co-founder of the company, who is more inclined toward corporate settings. He has established his process credentials as the architect of Microsoft's software implementation process methodology known as SureStep. Coluccio's determination to go beyond best practices to achieve real value for the clients is equally supported by another veteran, Chris Fibbe. As a partner and co-founder of ITK Solutions Group, Fibbe's focus is on value-driven results. With more than 20 years of entrepreneurial and frontline experience in the consulting industry, Fibbe has honed his big-picture perspective as a member of executive management teams and boards, helping them navigate challenging business scenarios including mergers and acquisitions.
"It's a process-first-and-technology-second mantra that helps us to achieve the desired outcomes for clients successfully"
Finally, the leadership mettle of this duo is augmented by Susan Alvarez, a partner, and VP of Consulting Services, who has two decades of experience in both the client and consulting sides of the house. Not only can she lead large projects working with CFOs and other C-level executives but she used to be a CFO in Retail. The different perspectives from this leadership team culminate into a unique advantage for ITK's clients. For instance, ITK can pinpoint the bottlenecks in a business process—even before evaluating the technology side of things—while they solve their clients' ERP, CRM, POS and PSA business problems. "It's a process-first-and-technology-second mantra that helps us to achieve the desired outcomes for clients successfully," says Coluccio.
ITK underlines the industry know-how of their leaders with a powerful team of consultants. The team comprises industry veterans from Microsoft, Lawson, and SAP with proficiency in successfully delivering some of the largest and most complex ERP & CRM implementations. "The bottom line is that we are a group of experienced professionals that deliver top-notch implementations by listening and understanding the clients' pain-points and by speaking the vernacular of these users," says Fibbe. At its core, ITK Solutions Group assists businesses to maximize the value of their ERP, CRM, POS and PSA implementations.
The Template Approach
ITK's focus on offering industry insights in tandem with best practices drives operational efficiency and profitability for their clients' sales, service, and support operations. With a focus on retail, telco, NGO, and PSA sectors, ITK stands out as a systems integrator by being focused on key industries and able to speak equally well with those: driving the digital transformation vision, where technology is headed and the day-to-day users. "In the last few years, discussion about cloud migration, integrated data systems, data accessibility, and mobility have become commonplace.
We are a group of experienced professionals that deliver top-notch ERP and CRM implementations by listening and understanding clients' pain-points
The company has shared its process openly with other SI/Reselling partners, but most are unable to use the Template Approach (also known as a Value Accelerator or Speed Implementation) because the users must have a deep understanding of standard business processes and industry best practices, which few resellers have. This is where ITK excels."We have a mindset during this portion of the engagement to focus on the process rather than the technology," mentions Coluccio.
A Cut Above the Rest
As processes are earmarked in terms of what will follow industry best practices and what will not, the client test system is built. ITK provides sample processes walkthroughs for every client. "We adjust the standard business process workflows (BPWs) so that the business has a complete understanding of each process," mentions Coluccio. "In summary, although we fast-track the implementation, and reduce investment and time without increasing risk, once the project enters the development phase, we are back in line with standard project implementation methodology." ITK implementation processes rest on a simple premise. We know industry best practices like few others. We also know the software (Microsoft D365/AX/CRM) we work with like few others. This allows us to rely on altering settings where many partners rely on costly customizations and the programming costs that accompany them to accomplish the same task. “To be clear,” Sam clarifies, “Sometimes our customers want to do things that can’t be done by adjusting settings, but what we do help limit customizations and the extra cost and development time.
Next, ITK analyzes the customer's systems, infrastructure, and run rate. This information is compared with the ideal software development and delivery model to understand the shortcomings and problems. ITK then identifies the required protocols, toolsets, and templates necessary to scale their client's systems, and they establish the 'true cost' of implementation, by taking the guesswork out of the entire process.
"Not every consulting company can deliver this. This approach requires superior consulting skills, both from a software perspective and a business process perspective, which is like a scalpel to the traditional ERP Implementation. When scalpels are involved, you will likely agree that it should be in the hands of a capable practitioner. The results can be profound— financially, from a time perspective, and speed to value," states Fibbe.
A Go-to Microsoft Partner
By leveraging its strong relationship with Microsoft, ITK has developed a clear understanding of the tech behemoth's working model to become a true partner. "In many of the circumstances that we are dealing with, we are coming in as a trusted and reliable Microsoft partner," mentions Coluccio. This has helped many clients reap benefits through Microsoft Dynamics' Finance and Operations solutions.
Coluccio has created and deployed the first comprehensive ERP/CRM implementation methodology, which was later adopted by the Microsoft partner channel and became the standard for all AX implementations. "Microsoft relies on us for the subject matter expertise and the professional skills, and we have been positioned in their ecosystem as a tier-one partner," he informs. What this means for ITK is that the company functions as the go-to partner for Microsoft to deliver expertise for its clients. This strong relationship works in favor of ITK as they are continuously updated on the latest happenings “under the hood” that Microsoft releases, which ultimately helps ITK in delivering more value to its clients.
'In The Know' of Making Clients Successful
What really differentiates ITK, beyond their process expertise, is how the company works as an extended support team for its clients. Coluccio describes it as being "the partner's partner," where ITK understands how to partner not only with clients but with Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) and other partners. Fibbe mentions an instance where ITK was selected for a critical position at Columbia Sportswear, a company that manufactures and distributes outerwear, sportswear, and footwear. ITK's had multiple consultants on the project, including Susan Alvarez who played a crucial role as the lead architect of the project, helping the client implement Microsoft D365 F & O at their stores. He mentions, "Susan's consulting expertise and Retail knowledge, along with her ability to work well with other teams, including the Columbia Sportswear team, the MCS team and Microsoft’s dev team helped solve some of the biggest client challenges."
With many such clients under its belt, ITK has been growing fast with a revenue growth rate of over 20 percent. Which is fueled in part by former happy customers becoming customers once again. Currently, the company is scaling its operations, and they aim to expand the PSA practice in the next 12-18 months. With a talented team that also knows how to integrate well with other teams, the company plans to grow while maintaining it’s company culture. "We make big decisions based on our values. Our values are not empty words put on a plaque behind our reception desk; they are a set of behaviours we hold ourselves to every day, in good times and bad," concludes Fibbe.