"I wore a sandwich board that said, 'Ask me about the Internet,' and wandered around the Galleria," says Andrew Holland, president of EYEMG - interactive media group, about how he advertised his firm at the beginning, in 1993.
"We had the one-page, five-page and the vaunted 10-page Web site with the 'Contact us' function," he says.. "Everyone remembers the contact us form. It was a black hole. You input (a) question, and someone might get to you in a million years."
But what EYEMG has done that many of its contemporaries didn't was figure out a way to keep up with changing technology and adapt that to the changing needs of its mainly industrial and manufacturing customer base.
"Northeast Ohio is rich with the type of company we focus on," says Holland. "They want that end-to-end integration."
But, he admits, that extremely difficult to accomplish.
"Manufacturers have complex systems," Holland says. "And in many cases, they have embraced technology quicker than service industries. They saw the necessity, not so much for e-commerce, but for technology support."
There are a few keys to maintaining success in the technology services field, he says. First, the company uses Linux, an open source platform, as its base.
"We work with the basic ingredients -- flour, sugar, eggs and water," says Holland. "That way we are not beholden to Betty Crocker. We want control ... we want to be down on an atomic level when we create these programs."
Holland contends that software upgrades and licenses are the real cost in using commercial software applications, and by using basic software, the company can adapt more easily and with less cost.
"We don't have to wait for releases of commercial software," he says. "That software is all about planned obsolescence."
Another issue for most of EYEMG's customers is content management -- the ability to internally change and affect content quickly in-house.
"The ability to create and maintain content, not by an IS expert, is one of the biggest issues we deal with," Holland says.
EYEMG also offer client Web site hosting services, allowing companies to deal directly with it for technical service provider problems.
"We host 90 percent of what we build," says Holland. "On the business side, it give us continued revenue ... and it gives the customer less vendors to deal with."
HOW TO REACH: EYEMG - interactive media group, (330) 434-7873 or www.eyemg.com