Advanced Technology Consulting (ATC) saw record revenues in 2017 for the fifth consecutive year. So what’s the secret sauce? Maybe it’s ATC’s carrier-neutral, solution-agnostic approach and its commitment to offering the highest levels of service and support in an industry – telecommunications – commonly ranked the lowest in customer satisfaction.
Or maybe it began with the advent of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), when voice conversations became just another app to run across the network along with Internet traffic. At that point, everything changed for telecom. It was the tip of the telecom spear. ATC was among the first to venture into this new world. No longer solely about dial tone and long distance, telecom now included the network and the cloud.
(This article appeared in the LEAD Magazine 2018 winter edition. View the pdf here.)
By providing professional telecom consultation and expertise packaged around voice, data and cloud services, ATC trailblazed to the forefront of this convergence of telecom and IT. Today, ATC is helping organizations, from the mid-market to the enterprise, create business value from areas that were once only considered cost centers.
With hosted VoIP, Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and network services as staples, ATC today continues to navigate the new IT world with its flourishing cloud technologies and cyber security practice, and its growing expertise regarding next-gen IT technologies such as Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN), Cellular Optimization, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Network as a Service (NaaS).
Keeping Up with the Pace of Change
“One of the things that differentiates us is that we invest a lot of time learning about the new products and services available in the marketplace as they pertain to technology,” says David Goodwin, ATC managing partner and co-founder. “When you look at cyber security, cloud computing or anything within the technology-IT space, things are evolving so rapidly that it is difficult for customers to keep up with the changes. We learn things on the bleeding edge, so we know them well enough when they become more mainstream or leading edge, and we’re able to counsel our clients, giving them a roadmap from where they are now to where they want to be. We can advise them on what’s coming and how it might impact their businesses.”
ATC’s unique, unbiased approach when introducing technology vendors is another differentiator. The company is never beholden to any vendor or solution.
“The depth and breadth of our vendor portfolio is incomparable,” notes Clayton Connor, ATC senior consultant. “We vet our vendors diligently so when we refer a customer, or submit an order or agreement, we know the vendors are able to meet our expectations. It requires some extra work on the front end, but it makes for a seamless implementation and a more satisfactory overall customer experience. We have 100-plus vendors in our portfolio, allowing us to align a client’s needs to a specific vendor’s specialty. So, we don’t want to know everything the vendors do, just what they do best. When we fit a customer with what a vendor does best, we know we have perfect alignment.”
Telecom and IT
The telecom-IT convergence, bolstered by cloud technologies and connectivity-dependent businesses, has spawned what ATC describes as “a motherland of ‘as-a-service’ solutions and outsourced technologies.” Hence, for companies short on IT resources, navigating that landscape can be extremely challenging. Enter ATC’s deep, segment-specific expertise, considered indispensable to organizations wanting to leverage IP-based solutions and build scalable infrastructures and growth platforms.
“We’re always looking for ways to be more efficient, using technology to benefit not only our customers, but ourselves,” Goodwin says. “Technology will continue to evolve at its current pace, or faster, which makes it harder to keep up, but it also provides us with more opportunities. The more the industry evolves, the more opportunities we have. If we were still selling long distance services like we did when we started in 1999, we’d be dead. But by learning new technologies and investing in the people and the time it takes to stay out front, we will always have a viable business. As we continue to evolve by specializing and being proficient in what’s available today, with an eye toward what is coming down the pike, we will always be the firm to take our customers from Point A to Point B.”
Strategic Differentiator and Growth Enabler
Key to ATC’s continuing success is the company’s commitment to educating local business leaders and C-level executives about the necessity to view IT and telecom less as a cost center and more as a strategic differentiator and growth enabler. While it may be commonplace and, certainly easier, to solely bid services to cut costs, that approach, ATC believes, only cuts viability and potential growth. Technology drives ATC’s go-to-market strategy, and the company’s focus on the ongoing process of “practice” development keeps ATC ahead of the curve, rounding out its value proposition – unmatched intellectual capital.
Although savings are always a part of the company’s approach, ATC excels at pinpointing technologies that create competitive advantages, short- and long-term, for their clients. Taking the strategic long-term approach for the overall well-being of a client may be a road less traveled in the telecom-IT space, but it’s what gives ATC its unique point of difference.
ATC, according to Goodwin, takes a visionary path when advising business leaders, educating them about the technology landscape, helping them understand existing options and demonstrating how making the proper technology choices today provides the infrastructure to positively impact their business for years to come. As businesses become more dependent on technology but more strapped for IT resources, ATC promises to always fill the expertise void when it comes to voice, data and cloud services.
“Our philosophy is to ensure success through our internal mantra to ‘schedule investment,’” Goodwin says. “Based on our management philosophy to always ‘sharpen the saw,’ we encourage all of our employees to set aside company time and resources to advance their knowledge base and develop their skillset on an ongoing basis. As a result, our accrued specialized expertise has greatly benefited a growing number of regional and national businesses.”
ATC’s expanding list of satisfied customers include St. Elizabeth Physicians, Miami Township, Mike’s Carwash, Jeff Wyler Automotive, Mike Albert Fleet Solutions, Ohio National Financial Services, Storopack, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, City of Covington, Kenton County, Sheakley, LendKey, Commonwealth Hotels, Lykins Energy Solutions and BD Capital Partners.
Community service and leadership also play integral roles in ATC’s continued success, Goodwin emphasizes. The company contributes time and resources to approximately 25 community organizations and non-profits, with charitable initiatives involving a wide array of organizations including The Wounded Warrior Project, Disabled American Veterans, The BBB Military Line, HeartChase, Goodwill and Mathew 25: Ministries. ATC also volunteers for Dress for Success, and leads fundraising events for youth sports and art organizations.
“By niching ATC in telecom and next-gen IT technologies while specializing in VolP, bandwidth and cloud services, we’ve pinpointed critical IT items necessary for business success,” Goodwin concludes. “By faithfully serving Greater Cincinnati clients, we’re deeply committed to making the region the best place to live, work and conduct business.”