Lets start with where does Innovative Integration stand today. Innovative Integration Private Limited is a leading systems integration company specialized in security, network infrastructure, application delivery, optimization, data centers, storage, virtualization and data protection. Innovative Integration has strategically partnered with the industry leaders including Cisco, Netapp, Symantec, Palo Alto, F5 Networks, Bluecoat, IBM, VMWare, Fortinet and Citrix. Innovative Integration takes pride in stating that all its partners are leaders it their own technology areas and customers trust Innovative Integration to inform them on market transitions and technology innovations. Major clients, Innovative Integration serve, are from financial, oil and gas, health care, services, media, government, pharmaceuticals and education.
‘Innovative Integration was formed in 2007’, said Ahmer Ghazi, Chief Executive Officer at Innovative Integration, ‘I formed Innovation Integration when I had returned back from US and had gained some experience of the local market by working in a couple of IT companies’. ‘We are four partners but only I look after this business of the group primarily making all the business and technical decisions responsible for increasing shareholders value’. ‘ Basically, I am a network specialist.’ ‘I got a Masters degree from US in networks in 1998, have worked for CISCO in US and I also did my CCIE which was only 2000 people in the world at that time and it was a very high prized skill’, elaborated Ghazi.
Major Industry Issue
‘When I worked for the local companies, prior to forming Innovative Integration, I could see that the customer end issues were the same’. Ahmer told me.’ One, there was always a financial cash flow problem. We used to go into big projects with a lot of enthusiasm. You had to pick up the equipment from the principal on cash while the customer was and still is not ready to pay advance until everything is working. Consequently, there is a delay in the payment of salary’. ‘The other challenge was brain drain. You hire graduates and within a year the market value of them grows and they go to middle East, Australia, Canada or US. It becomes difficult to maintain these two issues within the margins that the company is making. And at the same time the customer required good and timely implementation. So, team was difficult to form and it was the trend of the industry. Nobody was happy with anybody. The supplier was not happy, the customer was not happy and we were not happy either.
‘I realized that the real ground issues were difficult to convey when the decision makers were non technical people.’ said Ghazi, ‘ When I formed Innovative Integration, we laid the groundwork of the company on very solid foundations. First of all, we made a principle that we will only partner with the leaders so that we dont have technical issues with the product. We understand that if the product is not good, the reseller can never satisfy the customer. So, we partnered with the best principals even though they were expensive. Secondly, we made a principle that we will not go into a project when the cash flow is not positive. Thirdly, we made a principle that we would not go into any illegal methods to get the project or to get the payment out. The advantage of making sound principles was that whoever works with us focuses on the solutions and professionalism. Another advantage was that we got consistent repetitive business from our customers. Fourthly, we never take loan and also we do not take credit. The reason for this decision is that if payment time is long, when dollar value changes we loose money for no reason. As a result, we cannot take a lot of projects. So our approach is conscious. One of the advantage is that we have 0 bad debts. This is the beauty of this model.
‘We have offices in Karachi and Lahore. We only opened office in Lahore and Islamabad when we got some business from some clients since our approach is conscious.’ said Ghazi. ]We have 25 customers and overall we have worked with 40 companies. We also go into support contracts which is good revenue for the company. I see that the growth will continue at the same pace, that is, 20-25% every year. Market may not grow but our share in the market is increasing’.
‘In these years’, said Ghazi, ‘I have understood that good hiring is most important to achieve objectives. We are more of an engineering company and less of a sales company and that is why we have repeat sales. Cross sales is very important to us. For example United Energies had good experience with our networks so they wanted to work with us in storage as well. Some times even customers recommended us to their principals that they should have us as their partners in Pakistan. We get leads through engineering resources.’