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The holistic approach Featured

9:36am EDT July 22, 2002

Glenn Smith was relaxing in the back yard of friend's home one fall afternoon when he noticed a flock of Canada geese heading south for the winter.

The birds were flying in the familiar wedge formation. After a little research, Smith learned the reason behind their actions.

The bird in the lead serves as a wind foil for the others. When it tires, another bird takes its place and they are able to travel much further together than any single bird could alone.

Borrowing on this cue from nature, the president and CEO named his new Chagrin Falls-based e-commerce/Web consulting company Formation V Consulting.

"There are many leaders in this organization at any given time," Smith says, "but we have a direction and we fly together."

He spent more than a decade working in the consulting business before deciding to venture out on his own. One lesson he learned was to recognize the different sides of the Internet consulting business model -- applications and information technology. Very few existing companies attempted to handle both issues, Smith says, and the ones that did retained a primary focus.

Here's how he set out to differentiate himself from the flock.

Divide and conquer

Smith didn't want to fall into that trap, so the young entrepreneur took a different approach. He founded a second company, World Synergy.

"At the time I thought it was because the cultures were different," he says. "But it's a different way of thinking."

Each company has its own employees who deal with their own unique issues.

The e-strategy model, as Smith calls it, is a continuum from the idea down through the hardware that will ultimately implement it. Each of his companies focuses on specific areas. In essence, World Synergy works with companies to determine what they want to accomplish, how they will do it and how it will affect their business. Formation V deals with the infrastructure, the hardware and the programs.

Customers need both sides. The difficulty at many organizations trying to do both, he says, "is one side of the business doesn't understand the other side and vice versa."

Smith's approach circumvents that problem by creating two companies, each of which works within its specialty.

His e-strategy business model is composed of nine layers divided into two major divisions -- intellectual e-commerce, handled by World Synergy, and intellectual technology, tackled by Formation V. Both intellectual e-commerce and intellectual technology are trademarked terms.

World Synergy handles the first four layers: strategize, application, logistics and marketing. Formation V Consulting deals with the remaining five layers: communications, support, computing environment, security and high availability.

Smith is ready to deem his 2-year-old experiment a success. Clients are able to find solutions to both their IT and their applications needs in one company.

"The relationship that brings these two together is invaluable," he says. How to reach: Formation V/World Synergy, (440) 543-5565

Daniel G. Jacobs (djacobs@sbnnet.com) is senior editor of SBN.