Business Member Spotlight: The IT Guys

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Happy New Year, Texas! 2016 is going to be an epic year for your organization, your socially conscious business, and the nonprofit/social sector as a whole! How do we know? Because our New Year’s resolution is for TANO to be even more active in empowering the mission and activities of our members and their affiliates – this means YOU!

To that end, we are excited to showcase The IT Guys, a Texas-based provider of IT support, guidance, and solutions for your nonprofit organization. We had a chance to bend the ear of Mike Emerson the founder of IT Guys and self-proclaimed “Abiding Dude.”  Mike gave us a chance to learn how IT Guys can provide your organization with the same level of quality Information Technology infrastructure and support found in the for-profit world in an affordable manner, all with a Texas-sized outlook for growth and progress.  Did we mention the IT Guys will provide their services to TANO members at a discount? Read on and let’s jumpstart 2016 together!

TANO: What makes IT Guys unique?
MIKE EMERSON: Our holistic approach to an organization’s Information Technology health sets us apart from just about everyone else in the IT support market. How’s that so? Because there’s more to nonprofit IT than just computers and software. A big part of our holistic view focuses the financial side of things. After all, the greatest IT solution in the world isn’t of much use if an organization can’t afford it. And for that reason we’re committed to the nonprofit marketplace. We’re committed to bring to nonprofits the same level of IT service, reliability and dependability that large, for-profit, corporations can afford. The challenge is to deliver on this commitment in a way that’s financially viable for small nonprofits. And that’s exactly what we’ve done.

We’re not a hardware company. We’re not a software company. We’re a problem solving company. And a common problem among nonprofits is the lack of an affordable and effective IT plan. So, we designed our Information Technology Awesomeness Plan (ITAP) to provide nonprofits the latest computers & networking hardware, the best software, and unlimited proactive service — everything — for a fixed, easily budgeted monthly cost. We eliminate the large capital expenditures and the associated “battle of the board” that often go hand-in-hand with procuring big-budget technology items. We don’t want our clients to have to deal with the dilemma once expressed by one of our Executive Director clients, “Do I balance the budget or acquire the IT resources we need?” The IT Guys solve that problem — our clients do both.

Our ITAP approach is tailor-made for nonprofits. After seeing how The IT Guys delivered IT solutions like no other company she’d seen, the newly-appointed Executive Director for one of our client organizations commented, “You guys are never coming out of our budget!”

TANO: What are some lessons you learned while providing support for nonprofit organizations?
MIKE EMERSON: Every organization is unique at some level. We believe in standardization and the economies of scale standardization brings about. In fact, we’ve built our entire business model on that foundation. But we haven’t lost sight of the fact that there are no cookie-cutter solutions. The challenge is to deliver standards without forcing a client to completely change how they work day in and day out. And more than anything, to remember that we’re dealing with people. Non-technical people. We take a lot of pride in our ability to reduce complex concepts and tech-jargon to easily understandable, every-day English. We’ve been told by clients over and over again that they appreciate that about us. And that’s music to our ears.

TANO: Have you noticed any emerging trends while working with nonprofits?
MIKE EMERSON: The Cloud and what to do in that regard. No doubt about it. Everyone wants to know, “What’s the big deal with the Cloud? Is it right for us? Who do we rely on for Cloud solutions? How will the Cloud impact our organization? For the better? For the worse? Or is this all a bunch of marketing hype?”

Organization governance doesn’t want to be left in the technological dust — if the Cloud really is the panacea they’ve been lead to believe it is — but nobody wants to be a pioneer.

It’s easy to get buried under a mountain of claims, counter-claims, and jargon. And it’s easy to make some serious mistakes moving to the wrong cloud, or making the right move with wrong expectations. Make no mistake, we’re Cloud believers — big time. But we also realize that not everyone is at a place right now where the Cloud is right for them. Part of our job is to help organizations get “cloudified” at the right time, in the right cloud and in the right manner.

TANO: What is the biggest challenge IT Guys face at this time?
MIKE EMERSON: Easy — helping nonprofit governance to look beyond the status quo. There’s a certain inertia in every organization — for-profits or nonprofits, it doesn’t matter. That inertia keeps the organization going in a given direction because that’s the direction its always gone in. It’s just easier and — so the thinking goes — safer to stay with “what we’ve always done.”

Changing the status quo isn’t easy for any organization. It can be a huge challenge. The status quo is our comfort zone. We’re happy there. At least we try to convince ourselves we’re happy there, even if we’re not. Because change is scary. Change often involves taking a risk. And risk is terrifying.

We take a different approach to the holistic health of an organization’s IT infrastructure — with an emphasis on the financial aspects of IT. And sometimes it can be difficult to guide governance and staff to make the determined effort to look at IT in a different way — to change the status quo. Even if the change results in a better way than they’ve experienced in the past. But the results are worth the effort; clients of The IT Guys consistently say that our approach is the way IT support should be done even though it seldom is. And that’s the payoff for us; a satisfied client..

TANO: How can we learn more about you and your organization?
MIKE EMERSON: You can find me on LinkedIn, but I’m not the story. The real story is what we’ve done for our clients and what we have to offer. We’re always ready to listen and learn more about the nonprofit world, its unique needs & issues and try to find a solution that makes like easier and brings about a lasting difference.

We’d like to thank Mike and IT Guys for their time and passion on behalf of nonprofits throughout the state. If you’d like to know more (including how TANO members receive services at a discount), and connect directly with Mike, give him a call 888.574.5573, or please visit The IT Guys’ landing page on our site.  Let’s get 2016 started right!

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