Microsoft Partner ITS Predicts 20 Percent Growth In 2023

“We can really branch more toward the co-managed area,” Michael Coopersmith,CEO of Microsoft partner Integrated Technology Systems, told CRN in a recent interview.


Michael Coopersmith, CEO of Microsoft partner Integrated Technology Systems, sees more Microsoft automation offerings and co-management services for customers as key parts of growing his business in 2023, he told CRN in a recent interview.

The company, also called ITS NYC, generates about $4 million in revenue and employs about 17 people. With 20 percent growth in sales from 2021 to 2022, Coopersmith predicts the company can achieve at least that same growth in 2023, he said.

“We feel we have solutions in place now where basically we can really branch more toward the co-managed area, toward the 50-to-350 person [business] where they have got a one-or two-person IT staff,” Coopersmith said.

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[Related: Microsoft Partner NB Technology Projects 23 Percent Growth Thanks To Cloud, Cybersecurity Push]

Microsoft Partner Integrated Technology Systems Talks 2023 Growth

He continued: “Expanding in the co-managed area, if we can turn around and sell to a company and say, ‘Look, you need to replace 50 laptops. Great. Ship them out to the employees. Have them turn them on and wait two hours and the laptops are baked’ – that‘s a value add.”

Coopersmith talked to CRN about his company’s investment in Microsoft vendor partner Nerdio, which announced a $117 Million Series B round of funding earlier this month.

He also talked about navigating Microsoft’s recent partner program changes – from new commerce experience (NCE) to partner capability scores used to determine what Microsoft designations partners receive now that the classic “gold” and “silver” partner status designations have ended.

Coopersmith has provided IT support to New York and the tri-state area since 1994, according to his company’s website. His career started in accounting before getting into business technology and IT.

Here’s what else he had to say.

How did you become a Nerdio partner?

We were in the desktop-as-a-service business for a while. We were looking at moving that to Azure … Couldn‘t make it work. 2018, 2019. We were tracking on the RDmi (Remote Desktop modern infrastructure) solution. … There were a bunch of players, [we] looked at Nerdio. … The Windows Virtual Desktop was on its way.

So we kept conversations open. We kept talking to them. And we did our first Windows Virtual Desktop, which is now Azure Virtual Desktop, at the beginning of November of 2019. So right before the pandemic started. … So basically the pandemic hit and we just started exploding with doing more of them. … On the [Nerdio] portal, it allowed us to build out, almost zero touch.

So that was the initial piece. And it allowed our lower-level engineers to work and manage the stuff without having to give them keys to the kingdom into Azure, the Azure backend, or build out a whole bunch of custom rules that are prone to errors to limit their access.

For all of Microsoft’s strengths, basically, the Azure portal can be extremely complicated. And the Nerdio portal made it really easy for us. So it was a no-brainer at that point.

So desktop-as-a-service remains an opportunity for you even this long after the peak of COVID-19?

When we looked at a lot of clients, some of them, they were working remotely or they came to us and said, ‘We‘re going to be hybrid 100 percent of the time.’

When they said they‘re going to be hybrid, we’re like, ‘OK, it makes no sense to put any servers in your office, because in essence, your office has become a mini-data center.’

So we talked to them about the merits of going to Azure Virtual Desktop, where we could remove any dependence on the office. And that was our big movement.

My view was, in an office, you could go to the circuit panel on a Thursday, turn off all the circuits in your office, put it dark, and if everybody was working from home, nobody would ever know the difference and walk into a dark office on Friday.

So that was my thinking and what I‘ve sold in a lot of cases. On top of it, you get into security. Anytime you talk security and you’ve got on-premises equipment, you’ve got a different level of issues than you do with all of the Microsoft pieces around it in the cloud. … We came up with the idea that it’s your office without walls.

What should people know about Integrated Technology Systems?

We‘re based in New York City. We play in the SMB [small and midsized businesses] market, basically 10 to 250 users. We’ve got a few that are bigger.

Our primary business is the professional knowledge worker. So we don‘t deal with medical offices. We don’t deal with dental offices. We don‘t deal with manufacturing. … If a client is totally SaaS [software-as-a-service], they just need typical old SBS [Microsoft’s Small Business Server].

We put them in SharePoint, we put them in Intune. We put them in the whole nine yards.

When they have traditional line-of-business applications, which even includes QuickBooks stuff, and we talk about moving servers out, we introduce the Azure Virtual Desktop solution right now. … We‘re talking to a prospect today. It’s going to be hybrid. They‘ve got a lot of their field people who will need file stuff. They want QuickBooks. They want to get it out of the office. They want to stay on a desktop product. We’re putting a small Azure Virtual Desktop into the quote for the mix.

We‘re selling a solution, not selling Azure Virtual Desktop [by name]. Not selling Nerdio [by name]. We’re selling the solution of ‘you can work from anywhere, anytime, anyplace, easily.’ … (Vertical specialties include) law, accounting, financial services. … Medical device companies because they’ve got a lot of field workers. … We‘re about 16, 17 people. We’re about $4 million in revenue.

What are Integrated’s plans for 2023?

We‘re going to invest heavily into automation. … We feel we have solutions in place now, where basically we can really branch more toward the co-managed area, toward the 50-to-350 person [business] where they have got a one- or two-person IT staff.

But the knowledge base tends to be narrow – they know what they know and they don‘t know what they don’t know.

And so we’re feeling like with some of the offerings that we‘re coming up with, we can add value. … We can take you out into the cloud, we can do it securely, we can put security around it, we can put compliance around it.

How has Integrated fared with the new Microsoft partner program changes?

We’re working on our partner score. … It‘s an interesting piece, though. … [Our distributor] is Ingram [Micro]. … We’re an SMB Alliance member, and so I can make a phone call and get something done. … [For NCE contracts], what we decided to do was we played it in the middle.

We went to the annual contracts with the monthly commitments. So we are explaining to them that, ‘Hey, you bought 25 licenses. You bought 50 licenses. Until your next contract renewal, you can‘t go down from that license piece.’

However, you‘re paying for that on a monthly basis. … I’m a believer in being transparent. I‘m also the board president of my building here. … So I’ve learned the fact that clients understand B.S. If you‘re telling them, ‘Hey, this has been put on us, and this is the best we can do.’ If they’re good people they‘ll [understand] it. … Some of our Azure spend on some of our small SMB clients doesn’t count in the new partner program because then they don’t meet the minimum requirements.

Is Integrated growing geographically and growing its offerings within the Microsoft portfolio?

We have, actually, a worldwide reach. We hired an MSP out of Germany for one of our bigger clients we do some work with. We‘re working around the world.

Our focus is the SMB where we‘re the primary IT department in the New York City market. That’s a value-add there.

When we go co-manage, it‘s basically around the country. And we’ll focus on it in the cloud piece. We will really work with any client that fits our demographic and those areas. … Stuff is really accelerating in the Business Premium area and the Autopilot stuff.

One of the things is we‘re really trying to get technical knowledge on that because one of the things we feel is … expanding in the co-managed area, if we can turn around and sell to a company and say, ‘Look, you need to replace 50 laptops. Great. Ship them out to the employees. Have them turn them on and wait two hours and the laptops are baked’ – that’s a value add. … [For sales growth in 2023], we did 20 percent last year.

We‘re really looking to continue that this year. … We’ve grown our Microsoft revenue threefold in the last three years [while growing] our customer base by 10 percent.