Now that fast-growing and outwardly successful systems integrators are everywhere, Conley, Canitano & Associates has continued to prosper by setting a hard-to-achieve standard in staffing in this business: a high level of experience among its engineering staff. In fact, with 300 systems engineers on the payroll, the average level of experience in the business is 10 years.
Conley and his wife, Karen, founded the company with one of Conley's former IBM clients, Nick Canitano, and his wife, Annette. Their goal was to provide expert implementation of companywide software for large corporations.
CCAi managed adequately for seven years. Then came the big break-an implementation project at Dow Chemical. Based on that contract, revenue reached $5 million in 1992. That, says Nick Canitano, is when the company set a strategic goal of building the most experienced team of systems integrators.
"A lot of companies are staffing themselves internally to support a certain amount of IT," Canitano says. "But a firm like ours brings ... specific expertise that others don't. We can come in and solve a problem because we've actually been there and done it before."
Canitano says one key to the firm's success-it had 1997 revenues of $32 million-has been its commitment to helping clients successfully manage information.
"I don't think there's any doubt that the people who are going to be successful in the future are going to have a strong control over information and be able to integrate that with customers, suppliers, distributors and logistics people," he says. "It's going to take a massive infrastructure investment in IT, and software is the engine.