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Logicalis president and CEO Terry Flood, a CPA and onetime chief financial officer of the company, didn't blink when the economic downturn walloped the solution provider business.
Instead, Flood saw opportunity in crisis and doubled down on the technology business, making a $10 million investment in cloud computing and funding more than 150 man-hours of sales training per week for the company's 100-person sales force. It's that kind of cool-headed leadership that has made Flood, the VAR500 2011 Executive of the Year, one of the most admired and respected CEOs in the technology solutions business.
Under Flood's steady hand, Logicalis has remained one of only a handful of independent solution provider behemoths to see dramatic growth during the downturn. The Farmington Hills, Mich., company ended 2010 with an impressive 29 percent increase in sales to $1.1 billion.
"While competitors were pulling back, we were investing," said Flood. "No one likes an economic downturn. But I was very comfortable compared to others in the industry. I knew what I was looking at. At Logicalis, we approached the downturn with confidence."
Flood, who joined Logicalis seven years ago as its chief financial officer, made sure that the company stayed focus on what it has done well for 14 years: providing best-in-class technology solutions that result in competitive advantages for customers.
Flood credits the entire team at Logicalis from sales to marketing and support staff for the "thought leadership" that allowed the company to thrive during the downturn. But it helped that as the technology decisions moved up to the CFO and CEO level Flood was in the sales trenches using his economic acumen to help close deals. "We literally got stronger as a company it seemed the tougher things got," he says. "It's great to look at a tough economic time and say that you grew through it."
One of the keys to Logicalis' success has been its ability to work closely with enterprise IT organizations to build detailed return on investment (ROI) financial models that helped win over CEOs and CFOs. That has also been critical in consulting engagements aimed at determining what IT functions should be outsourced or kept in house.
A comprehensive multi-year IT strategy/business plan allowed one Logicalis client to outsource 90 percent of its IT operations to the company. "The real driver was the thought process the customer went through deciding where to make investments focused more on their business working closely with Logicalis as a trusted, reliable, high-quality IT partner," Flood said.
The kinds of discussions that Logicalis had with that customer are examples of the "thought leadership" that has resulted in the company playing a pivotal role guiding customers as they make cloud computing decisions.
"We are helping our clients decide what (IT functions) should be kept in house or outside the IT house as they look at cloud, public, private and hybrid," Flood says. "The hardware decision of the past was a point decision. This is a decision about having a financially-sound, technically competent partner to go into business with on a daily basis for a number of years."
It's not surprising then that Logicalis is quickly gaining traction in the cloud computing market."The results we are seeing are great from our cloud offering combined with our managed services approach," says Flood. "If there has been a benefit to the economic downturn it is that it has created one of the most dynamic IT environments in the last 20 years. I am very optimistic about the future. The economy is going to go wherever it goes; the measure of whether we are good businesspeople is how we make our way through the economy--no matter what it happens to be."
By Steven Burke