SHI International CEO Thai Lee: 'It's A Great Time To Be In IT'

"Now is a great time to be in IT."

That's what SHI Int'l. President and CEO Thai Lee had to say as the solution provider announced record-breaking revenue for last year.

SHI, No. 15 on the CRN SP500 list, earned $6 billion in revenue in 2014, the company said late Wednesday, up from around $5 billion in revenue the year before. SHI is a private company, so it isn't required to disclose its financials publicly.

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Lee told CRN that there wasn't one distinguishing driving factor behind the company's approximately 20 percent sales growth. She said SHI has seen demand driven across a broad range of products and services offered by the company, including mobility, security and more.

"The real answer is that IT itself drives growth," Lee said.

Lee said that four of the solution provider's sales with its top 10 partners grew more than 35 percent last year, with eight of those 10 vendors growing by 10 percent or more. Emerging partners, such as Box and AWS, grew even more, she said, quadrupling their sales with the solution provider. The key, Lee said, is SHI is in the middle helping customers build the right solutions for their business.

"As SHI continues to assist customers in deploying new technologies, or readjusting to product and program changes that affect their existing install base, we continually uncover additional instances in which a highly specialized combination of technical and program expertise is needed to deliver on the business goals of that organization," Lee said.

In particular, SHI saw sales growth in the corporate and public-sector verticals, the company said, with 30 percent and 18 percent growth year-over-year, respectively. The company also saw strong growth in its strategic and commercial enterprise sales groups, with 11 percent year-over-year growth in both of those areas. Considering that, those groups each exceed $1 billion in revenue, the company said.

Those verticals, in particular, drove growth, Lee said, not because of a particular technology but because of a focus on scalability.

"No matter the size, every customer needs to be mobile, every customer needs to be secure, and every customer needs to evaluate new technologies while being sure to 'keep the lights on.' Instead of targeting customers, we talk to them. We understand where they are and where they need to go, and we help them understand the available technologies that will help them get there," Lee said.

Lee said that SHI continues to invest in its business, an advantage she said is possible because it is privately owned. "A growing, privately owned company has the ability to reinvest in the business in a never-ending effort to improve the experience it offers to its clients," she said.

In particular, Lee highlighted SHI's investment in adding new talent. This year, SHI hired more than 350 new employees, building a total global team of more than 2,800 employees, the most in company history. The biggest challenge for SHI for the next year, Lee said, is to maintain a commitment to culture as the company continues to expand its head count.

"Luckily, our continued growth has allowed us exceptional tenure and experience throughout each level of the organization, making this attitude we had as a startup the same as what it is today," Lee said.

SHI did not provide revenue guidance for 2015.