Justin Copie says the COVID-19 pandemic has sped up business technology decisions by two years. For Innovative Solutions, this has translated into increased revenues and strong demand for its services.
âWe’ve seen some crazy things happen over the past year and a half when it comes to how quickly customers want to migrate to the cloud,â said Copie, CEO of Innovative Solutions. âThey didn’t want to buy hardware that they put in their office or in a data center. “
Copie’s company helps businesses migrate to the cloud, including managed cloud services, cloud native software development, cloud migrations, and security. Founded 30 years ago, Innovative Solutions has seen 100% growth in the first seven months of 2021. Copy expects the privately held company to surpass that mark by the end of the year.
At the start of 2021, Innovative Solutions had 60 employees. By the end of the year, it will have nearly 100 people, he predicts. The company has expanded to 14 cities outside of Rochester, attracting talent from across the country and Canada. Innovative Solutions currently has 18 open positions.
âIt’s absolutely amazing,â says Copie, who bought the company from Bob Titus in 2016.
Last week, Innovative Solutions opened an office in Toronto to further expand its customer base. She hopes to create and deliver services and products designed to meet the needs of Canadian businesses, with the goal of harnessing the power of the cloud.
The company, which moved to premises on East River Road in late 2018, decided to become an Amazon Web Services consulting partner, a group of companies that help customers accelerate their migration to the cloud. AWS, a subsidiary of Amazon, is a cloud platform that provides reliable, scalable, and affordable cloud computing services. Innovative Solutions is an AWS Premier Consulting Partner, a designation awarded to the most experienced AWS Consulting Partners and recognized leaders in their markets, with deep technical expertise and success with many customers on AWS.
âWe’ve built what we call a transformation strategy to get the whole business to pivot and turn to AWS,â says Copie. âIn December 2018, (we) moved to Riverwood, to our new office, and I stood up in front of everyone, all of our employees, and I said, ‘Everyone is looking at the room around you. See the bricks? These bricks were all laid here by Kodak, a company that has become completely irrelevant because they would notâ¦ pivot and move in the digital age.
âWe won’t be the next Kodak. We’re going to pivot our business, and we’re going to move forward. We’re going to bet on the best and we’re going to help our clients get to where they need to go to grow this business. And it was quite a whirlwind.
In January 2019, customers learned about the new capabilities of Innovative Solutions. Today, every employee is AWS certified, including the front desk receptionist.
âI wanted everyone to have context and know what we were doing,â Copie says. âThe employees have gone all out on this. ”
The move to AWS from traditional Microsoft offerings has worked in Innovative Solutions’ favor. Its customer base currently exceeds 500, more than double the 225 customers in 2019. The company recently hired Ryan Boyer as vice president of products. Boyer left AWS to join Innovative Solutions to oversee the development and monetization of products and services, a new role within the company.
âWhat we want to do is develop the business,â explains Copie. âBefore, when we addedâ¦ 10 new customers per month (for example), you could evolve by osmosisâ¦ Today, we add three, four new customers per day. So it’s so much faster that we have to move. We will have 1000 new customers this year. â¦ We needed someone to join us as VP of Products to help us create these products and bring these services to market quickly and obviously reliably because we want to continue to provide excellent solution to each customer.
While the move to AWS was fortuitous for innovative solutions, Copie recognizes the need to evolve intelligently. A company rooted in managed IT services, which still represent half of its activity, Innovative Solutions aims to achieve greater national and international presence. The company hopes to attract customers on the West Coast and overseas, and Copie would like to see that happen within the next year.
He also wants Innovative Solutions not to lose sight of customers’ personalization needs.
âCustomers want choice, and customers want us to tailor to their needs,â he says. âWe have to keep finding ways to do it while we evolve. These are big problems that we need to solve before they become the bottlenecks to the business. “
Copy, who has no plans to sell the business, expects to triple its customer base next year to 3,000. Employment is expected to reach 150 to 175 people, he said.
âThe reality is, this technology is changing so quickly, every day,â says Copie. âThere are so many things we have to keep in mind. It is our responsibility to do this for our customers. â¦ We know what is going on with insignificance and we have thousands of bricks surrounding us in our office to remind us to become insignificant and what is happening.
Smriti jacob is the editor of Rochester Beacon.