Think Outside the Box


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Evolutionary thinking is what separates the true visionaries from the ordinary business owners and executives. In the IT market, you have two choices: You can be a follower or a leader. To lead, you have to be ahead of the game--innovative, creative and gutsy.

At Acolyst (formerly DataTech Enterprises), that innovative spirit has shone through recently in our launch of the COTS Integrated Solution Center, through which we aim to bring innovation to our customers in a way that differentiates us.

Before building the solution center, our CEO--my mother, Ellie Nazemoff--took the time to listen to client demands, analyze market trends and review vendor programs. Ultimately, we used that insight to restructure the company and better serve our customers. That also meant taking on a new name.

Our existing and potential customers don't want to spend hours and dollars trying to figure out how a boxed product will fit into their environments. They want to be able to visualize, touch and feel the entire solution and know it will effectively solve their business problem. That's where our solution center comes in.

This is not box-selling, and it's not about how many vendors you can partner with. This is about creating best practices and proof-of-concept using given technological building blocks--by innovating and leading the way to improving our business.

But it takes more than a solution center to succeed. It also takes leadership and having the right team in place to close the deal and service customers on a regular basis. To make this happen, you have to work as a team and market together with vendor partners--and allow them to market with you. We have generated our own marketing agreement that complements and enhances each vendor's partnership agreement.

Our strategy for innovation and being revolutionary involves listening, adapting and making big changes. If others don't get it and don't want to play in the same sandbox, guess what? It's their loss.

Once you commit to making change happen, you should jump in with two feet, run and don't look back. There will always be obstacles; that's what makes the journey interesting and fun. As my mother always says, "Success is defined by the pool of people who trust you and believe in you."

Valeh Nazemoff is the vice president of business development at Acolyst in Fredericksburg, Va.

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