Growth and Resilience in a Crisis: An Interview with Jonathan Legault
A lot of companies have responded to COVID-19 by using technology to transform their business. Some decision-makers invested in technology during the crisis to solve problems and create competitive advantages.
The firms that have come out on top have managed to evolve their business models. Some have even spurred faster growth. Investing in technology has not only put companies in a better position to weather the crisis, it’s also made them more relevant and resilient. Jonathan Legault, president of ITI, shares his company’s experience in these uncertain times and how they used it to their advantage.
What does it take to keep your business going or even boost performance during COVID?
I see two main trends. Firms that had already begun their digital transformation seem more prepared to be agile so they can seize opportunities and evolve their business models during the crisis. They’re more adaptable because they’ve already modernized their IT.
Other firms became keenly aware when the crisis hit that they needed to put money into making their business models more adaptable to better respond to new market realities.
In both cases the takeaway is the same: Don’t put your IT investments on pause. You may even want to invest more. The right solutions can solve issues and create competitive advantages, whether you’re modernizing operations or finding a smarter way to use data. Companies should have composable IT infrastructure that gives them the flexibility they need and the ability to adapt as their business scales up or evolves.
These kinds of investments will give new life to local businesses, make them more relevant, and in the process create more value-added jobs, which will lead to a better economic recovery.
How can you even think about growth in the middle of a crisis?
Take ITI for example. We had started a number of projects in recent years, and we kept our investments on track during both waves of the pandemic. First, we took a step back to reassess and make the necessary adjustments. When we crunched the numbers, we realized our strategic projects designed to fuel growth provided precisely the resilience and agility we needed during COVID.
Since we had focused on building a strong, scalable foundation, positioning the firm well, developing our expertise, and ensuring we could give our clients what they needed, we could continue on the same route. ITI was also fortunate to have a solid footing to build on. We’ve grown organically by making our existing clients happy, acquiring new large clients and partners, and offering the technology businesses need right now.
The uncertainty is not over, and it’s important to do a thorough risk assessment, figure out how to stay relevant and adjust your offering.
What should companies consider before jumping into a growth strategy in the current uncertain environment?
The uncertainty is not over, and it’s important to do a thorough risk assessment. Then you need to figure out how to stay relevant and adjust your offering. For ITI, our data is showing steady growth in IT infrastructure modernization solutions, which offer hybrid, composable capabilities for clients that need flexibility, mobility, and scalability. We’ve also noted increased demand for cloud, security, and networking capabilities. These are areas we have expertise in, so we are pouring extra effort into them as well.
Companies like us need to put together a robust, agile offering that they can continue to adapt. Then they need to continue developing their expertise so they stay relevant. For example, in our case our position lets us expand and adjust our offering to serve our clients as they grow, not just to migrate their IT environments.
You even rebranded in the middle of COVID! What kind of impact did that have?
Obviously we don’t recommend launching a new brand in the middle of a crisis, but we managed to do it! Our new brand strategy and our identity refresh were ready, and since we were already working closely with our clients through the crisis, we wanted to show them we were here to stay. The ITI brand was really motivating and inspiring for our employees, our clients, and our partners. It does a better job communicating who we are now and it makes more of an impact. It really brings our expertise into focus.
It’s also helping us find new markets. It makes it easier for us to approach prospective clients. The branding exercise and website redesign gave us a chance to have important conversations with the entire market and even our own clients, who were not necessarily aware of all our services. We’ve noticed a sizeable uptick in web traffic on our new site and interest in our firm.
How are you managing the next phases in the current context?
We’ll continue to invest in our expertise, which is one of our differentiators. We offer cloud services based in Quebec and we also created Orkestra, our new fully-managed infrastructure solution.
There’s also expertise in how we develop current talent and select new talent. Since the fall we’ve brought a strategic slate of specialists on board to drive future growth. Our team of experts is highly mobile, so we can protect our current position while developing intelligence on other markets. Now that we have a strong foundation in Quebec, we’re excited to expand into the rest of the country.We also just achieved the highest level of Enterprise Network certification with Cisco, adding to our other Security and Data Center Cisco certifications. I think this illustrates the high level of expertise ITI has to offer, making us a select partner for the digital transformation of organizations.
We’re getting started by building market insight with business development specialists such as Mark Pilon and Thierry Geoffroy-Laflamme. These new additions to ITI bring highly specialized expertise and a proven track record with the Canadian market.
Thanks to our team of dedicated humans, we’ve been able to stay focused on execution, despite the stumbling blocks and distractions that have cropped up along the way. We’ve stayed connected to our clients as we guide them through the storm. Our people have been adaptable and determined, and that has made all the difference.
Where will you set your sights once the crisis is over?
We need to focus on using our IT expertise to help our clients emerge from the crisis reenergized and renewed, by keeping a close eye on the market and our clients’ needs, continuing to advise them closely, and planning ahead. We’ll make IT accessible so local businesses can continue to grow.