After nine years of laying foundations, Rob Sussman says Integr8 IT has big plans for its tenth year

WINNING the overall individual award in last year’s African ICT Achievers Awards, Rob Sussman, CEO of Integr8 IT, says he’s “deeply humbled”. On the same night, Sussman won top CIO/CTO and top ICT young entrepreneur as well.

Both Sussman and Integr8 IT have won a number of awards over the years, including several African ICT Achievers Awards. Sussman says he won top CIO five years in a row, and has won young entrepreneur a number of times. He has won several other entrepreneurial awards as well, he says.

The awards have helped to improve the company’s reputation, Sussman says. Word of mouth is one thing but “it’s different when you go for an award and they judge you against the industry’s best”.

What differentiates Integr8 IT is that its growth has occurred organically, Sussman says. “We set out to build a long-term company.” And although it is no longer a new company, being in its tenth year, it is still very young, he says. “Our mindset is young. The oldest person in our company is 40. The company’s got a very long lifespan.”

JUST THE BEGINNING

“But the most exciting thing about the company is what we’re about to do.” Sussman says this year represents a turning point for the company.

Sussman says the company is looking at offering a number of different products. Things like “software as a service, Web 2.0, very Internet-based. Very off-premise and hosted. What we’re giving to the market is what the market is ready for.”

Integr8 IT is also looking at expansion. He says for the past nine years, the company was expanding organically, building itself up. It’s been “nine years of growing, nine years of getting our roots and our fundamentals and putting our business in place.

“We are actually at the point where we are going to start penetrating the industry aggressively now.” This year, the company will start a foray into Africa and also the public sector. “The public sector has been exposed to poor service delivery at exceptional margins. The private sector generally has benefits of working with companies with exceptional service at a very low margin. We can take our delivery mechanism and our model to the public sector.”

As for Africa, Sussman says while the company is planning to expand northwards, it has faced some offers from overseas companies trying to get a foothold in Africa through a South African IT company. “We’re getting a lot of interest from companies coming from India and China,” he says. “We need to resist those temptations.”

The company is considering a number of acquisitions this year. “We want to be the one buying, not the one selling.”

DOWNTURN TURNAROUND

Despite the worldwide economic downturn, Sussman says 2009 was Integr8 IT’s best year. “Every year is our best year,” he says, because the company has a sound model. The company is annuity-based, therefore it grows slowly over time.

However, Integr8 IT also saw an opportunity in last year’s downturn. Companies were putting projects on hold. “People weren’t spending, so we launched an asset rental service.” Not just assets, but software and labour as well. “We built a business over the back of the downturn.”

“The future is strong,” he says.

A full list of awards and accolades is available on the Integr8 IT Web site www.integr8group.com.

Iweek, Author: Patricia Pieterse

Issued:

7 Apr 2010