By David Hamilton
Published 5:10 pm Wednesday, August 8, 2018
A new tech firm is aiming to help carry Frankfort forward in today’s digital-centered world.
Seeing a need for technology solutions in the area, Frankfort native Craig Willard dreamed up the idea for what is now SimplifIT, headquartered at 112 E. Main St. Willard and partner Nick Landers, a Shelbyville native, have been operating for the past three months.
The goals of the company, Willard and Landers said, boil down to a business model that begins and ends with the clients — they refer to SimplifIT as “client-centric,” employing what they see as a distinct strategy by helping clients prevent issues rather than coming in and fixing problems on the backend for an hourly fee.
As chief operating officer of the company, Willard is transitioning from working about 15 years leading an IT team at Frankfort Regional Medical Center to now running his own firm, in between which he took a good part of a year writing a book.
Now, he is combining the desire to help Frankfort and be a part of its downtown revitalization with ambitions to eventually garner a national presence.
“At the end of the day, this is what it’s about,” Willard said. “It’s about giving back to the community in the sense of bringing in revenue, helping the businesses that are here stay in business, and then also being able to be so close to Lexington and Louisville.”
Regarding the community, the pair said it was the perfect place to set up because they see ample opportunity with the direction downtown is moving. They also saw a gap in the community in terms of having a local IT company to help businesses integrate technology into their daily operations.
“A lot of what we do is really just taking very high-level technology … expertise and helping local businesses be able to implement that into their businesses,” said Landers, the company’s chief marketing officer and a Frankfort resident for the past 11 years.
The firm is two-faceted, Landers said: It serves clients both with IT solutions but also heavily emphasizes cybersecurity.
With the former, the company has a few ways it plans to provide its clients top-notch service. For one, SimplifIT offers a fee model different from most in the industry. Rather than billing hourly to come in and fix problems when businesses are “down,” their model thrives on working with businesses to keep them “up,” which in turn saves the company time spent on resolving issues.
“We have decided to come in and bring a different model, which says, ‘We want to put skin in the game too. We want you up as much as (you) do,'” Willard said.
As the other aspect of the business, cybersecurity is essential for small businesses, the pair said.
Why? Because many business owners do not realize just how prolific cyber attacks are.
More than half of small businesses fall victim to a cyber attack each year, and half of those businesses will be forced to close their doors. That said, SimplifIT officials said they can help, at a minimum, limit the damage by helping companies to secure themselves.
“We want to help people understand what risks are out there and help mitigate those risks,” Willard said.
Right now, the company is looking to build momentum locally, not just in Frankfort but also in surrounding areas like Georgetown and Lexington.
One business owner said he views the company as part of an ongoing movement in the area.
“It is an exciting time to be part of the downtown Frankfort revitalization,” Taylor Marshall, owner of RE/MAX Commonwealth, said in a statement. “A new energy, young and creative, is moving downtown Frankfort forward. Strategic partners like SimplifIT will be the leaders demonstrating outside of the box thinking to raise the bar in business and community development in our capital city.”
While SimplifIT is investing in the community, they also said plans for growth involve developing a national cybersecurity presence and selling to larger businesses.
For now, the immediate focus is on building in Frankfort, beginning with the businesses official Frankfort Area Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting next Thursday, Aug. 16.
Originally posted on state-journal.com.