Chicago IT Consulting Firm Breaks With Tradition to Provide True Customer Service

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Infra-IT is the first Chicago-based IT consulting firm to bring flat-fee, managed IT services to Chicago. Fixed fee managed IT services allow small and medium sized businesses to plan their IT expenditures, and to perform regular maintenance that is often neglected in traditional IT consulting relationships. Managed IT services save the average company 40% on IT costs, while preventing lost productivity due to system downtime.

Chicago-based Infra-IT made a radical break with IT consulting tradition in October and instituted a program that allows clients to predict their annual IT budgets accurately—and lower them considerably.

For years, the IT industry has been providing services according to the traditional system: something breaks, and an IT professional shows up to fix it at an hourly rate. As most business owners and managers have learned the hard way, this kind of “crisis consulting” can be expensive, and can virtually bring work to a standstill. Worse, unpredictability makes it difficult to budget IT costs.

Edmund Scanlan, CEO of Infra-IT, says that after four years of providing traditional hourly IT consulting services, the company opted to “better align our interests with those of our clients.” That decision led Infra-IT to become the first IT service provider in Chicago offering complete, flat-fee, managed IT services.

For those who have struggled with multiple service calls at after-hours rates and day-long shut-downs, the program is startlingly simple: you pay a flat monthly fee based on the number of systems supported, and Infra-IT maintains your systems. Period.

Infra-IT provides desktop services, network support and CIO services, and provides those services proactively. That means no waiting around for something to break—the goal of managed IT services is to avoid system downtime and costly “fixes” and keep things running smoothly from the outset.

Donald Napier, CTO for Infra-IT, says that the proprietary monitoring system developed by Infra-IT “allows us to diagnose and fix issues before the client is even aware that there’s a problem.” That means the issue is addressed without any downtime or lost productivity.

Although Infra-IT is the first Chicago IT consulting company to offer full managed services, the trend toward such packages is growing across the country—and the world. IT research and information giant Gartner notes that the managed services market nearly quadrupled between 2003 and 2006. In the past five years, the number of managed service providers in North America has increased from about 200 to about 1,000, but Michael Lee, Infra-IT’s Business Development Manager, warns that not all IT consultants billing themselves as managed service providers offer the all-important fixed-fee program. Managed service packages that cap consulting hours each month can lead to the same kind of unexpected expenses businesses face with traditional consulting.


Tiffany Sanders


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