[Executive Interview] Michael Hadley, President, CEO, iCorps

Recently, YourDailyTech sat down with Michael Hadley, President and CEO of iCorps Technologies. Michael founded iCorps in 1994 with the mission of delivering and supporting practical, cost-effective IT services and IT solutions that would allow businesses to focus on their core objectives. Since the start, iCorps Technologies has been a pioneer in IT services and solutions, providing the best certified expertise in every aspect of technology – including Managed Services, cloud solutions, technology consulting, IT support, and application development.

Michael’s responsibilities include overseeing the company’s financial and operational performance as well as iCorps’ overall strategy. Over the company’s 22-year history, Michael has been effective in leading iCorps to become an elite IT provider in the Northeast and one of Massachusett’s largest IT firms. Prior to founding iCorps, Michael was a senior technology executive at CSC Index, the management consulting branch of Computer Sciences Corporation, where he managed worldwide IT operations including critical systems, telecommunications, networking, video conferencing, and technical support.

Today, iCorps guides some of the fastest growing organizations to become more agile, proactive, cost effective and competitive using the latest, most effective technologies. Most importantly, iCorps ensures that the technology fits their business – balancing need, timing, and critical readiness – to position them for future success.

What is the profile of the average iCorps customer? 

Our niche is providing best-of-breed IT services and support for long-term engagements. We realized everyone needed long-term service support and so we started up a management and IT services organization.

Our average client is a business of 30 to 250 employees, and we also support many companies in the 250-500+ range.  We’ve developed great programs that cover all industries, and we pride ourselves on offering both depth and breadth to our clients. Over our 22 years, we have gained much internal expertise in the operational areas of specific industries such as financial – private equity and venture capital firms – real estate management, construction, management consulting, manufacturing, healthcare and medical devices. Our client retention is amazing, we have some clients that have been with us for more than 20 years. We literally become the IT department within their organization.

Large enterprise organizations frequently hire us for short- and long-term projects or  specialized consulting to augment their internal staff or bring in outside expertise that they don’t currently have.  In recent years, we’ve seen an increased need for expertise in Office 365, Azure, Exchange and Active Directory. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we’re able to offer exceptional value there and we have a bench of consultants that can augment internal IT teams in those areas.

Everyone is talking about moving data and services to the cloud.  How does iCorps help customers assess and address what is needed when considering such a transition?

I think more organizations are starting to realize that moving business applications or infrastructure to the cloud requires strategy, planning and expertise. We believe that the cloud – both complete and hybrid solutions – play a strategic role in how businesses evolve and stay competitive. So, our first goal is to thoroughly evaluate everything.  We have a unique, structured assessment and analysis process to determine what technology is in place, what business outcomes are important to them, what data is projected with their business growth plan, and what solutions can be better leveraged to support their business model.

We create a long-term, strategic roadmap for our clients so that their IT systems can scale with their business needs and performance demands. The iCorps teams work closely with the customer to understand what is the best match of cost and performance for cloud-based services versus in-house options. We also ensure that once cloud services are implemented, that our clients are getting their ROI and using them to better their business as much as possible.

We have found that customers in 2015 and 2016 are very focused on converting legacy systems to hybrid or fully cloud-based platforms to ensure reliability, security and scalability. Our clients have peace of mind knowing that iCorps vets solutions carefully and would not recommend any solution we have not already implement ourselves to make our business better. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we certainly lean towards the Microsoft cloud because we know their ecosystem provides enterprise-class services that are secure and cost-effective for our clients.

What do you find to be a key differentiator iCorps offers in the managed service provider market?

When we first founded iCorps, we talked to Dr. Michael Hammer, who was considered one of the top 25 businessmen in the world at that time.  We talked about the core principles of the business being the guide to building the business. We decided we wanted iCorps to be about customer intimacy and doing the right thing.  Our goal was to foster long-term relationships by being a true trusted advisor and providing the best-in-class staff and services.

The only, and I mean only, way you can do that and differentiate your organization as a best-in-breed services provider is by hiring the right people and investing in retaining that staff.  We knew early on, the key to a happy client is by having happy employees serving these clients.  We made a commitment to take our time with each hire, to preserve and foster our culture within the organization.  We strive to retain long-term employees which translates into long-term clients.

We invest in our people.  We provide ongoing training, education and professional development for our staff. We make a point to provide monthly social outings and foster a sense of family within our team.  We also believe in being good neighbors, so we facilitate corporate and personal giving as we strive to give back to our community.  We donate to The Second Step, which provides housing and support services to women and their children who are trying to get out of domestic violence situations, and many other charitable donations.  We give to the Starlight Children’s Foundation and Hildebrand Family Self-Help Center as well.

At iCorps, our focus is about doing the right thing – with our clients, our people and our community.  We focus – in all cases – on always doing the right thing.

We understand iCorps was awarded Northeast SMB Champions Club Partner of the Year in 2016, Microsoft’s Northeast SMB Influencer of the Year in 2015 and Microsoft’s Northeast Cloud Partner of the Year in 2014. Tell us more about the practice standards that are met in order to receive these awards?

Microsoft certifications are maintained and we participate in the most current training and education opportunities.  We invest in being experts in our field by constantly training our staff on the most current technologies. In addition to hitting certain revenue goals, our clients have to provide testimonials to Microsoft on how well we are doing within their organization in order to receive these awards.  Our clients are continually raising their hand to express their satisfaction with the iCorps services and we’re thankful they take the time to do that.

We have a strong focus on productivity, efficiency and predictable IT spend. We know how to ensure technology becomes an asset, not a liability, by implementing it correctly for our clients.  When clients see this shift in how technology empowers their organization after engaging iCorps, they provide positive feedback to Microsoft and refer us to other businesses.  We are honored to have so many happy clients helping us achieve these awards.

With the rise in cyber phishing schemes such as ransomware, what steps has iCorps taken to step up its cyber security services and keep its clients secure?

We are certainly living in scarier times but fortunately, there are best-of-breed tools that are now accessible and economical for small and mid-size businesses. Right now, we are focused on helping our clients practice and understand defense in depth, especially as we manage data migrations to the cloud. There are three important layers of security preparedness: user education, security technology to protect endpoints and data backup and recovery. Education at all levels really is critical – we’ve had clients bring us in for lunch-and-learns to educate their staff because these organizations realize they have a huge responsibility to prioritize cyber security. Most importantly, we work to ensure business continuity so our clients can protect themselves from business interrupting attacks.  We stress over and over: back up your data. We’ve had clients get hit with ransomware and not have to pay the hackers to get their data back because it’s backed up and recoverable from the cloud. In the end, security and everything we do and stress is about being proactive. Businesses of any size really have no excuses anymore not to be.

Thank you Michael for your time today.  If our readers want to know more about engaging the iCorps team, what is the best way for them to connect with iCorps?

By web or phone: (888) 642-6484. We also send out a monthly newsletter with technology insights, tips and events. In conjunction with Microsoft, iCorps is offering fully funded Cloud Readiness Assessments to qualifying businesses. Visit here to apply.

Additional Resources

7 Data Security Questions to Ask your Cloud Provider (eBook)

IT Solutions, Support & Security Blog

Press Release: Microsoft’s SMB Northeast Partner of the Year

iCorps’ Client Testimonials

Connect with iCorps Technologies