EasyIT helps client companies with their IT problems.

EasyIT helps client companies with their IT problems.

When Eric Hoeft started his business nearly 20 years ago, Capital City Consulting created software, offered web development and provided other general IT services. Several years later the owner of a neighboring business helped Eric Hoeft and his brother, Kurt, who had joined the company, find a new direction and name for the company as well as new clientele.

The other business owner told the Hoefts he just wanted IT to be easy for himself and his employees. The brothers realized EasyIT was a fabulous name for a company. Operating under the new name, the brothers began to focus more exclusively on managing IT, offering IT assessments and audits and providing help-desk services. "Our mission is to make IT easy for our clients each and every day," says Kurt Hoeft, vice president of the Dublin-based company. "We talk to them about what seems challenging and what would it be like if things were easier."

Focusing on providing IT services to a range of industries also gives EasyIT more opportunity to grow and insulates the company from the ups and downs of its clients' profitability, which wasn't the case for Capital City Consulting, Kurt Hoeft says. That company struggled during the dot-com bust in 2001 and the succeeding decline in the telecom industry. "We lost all that business in 30 days," he says. "Customizing software can be so feast or famine."

The diversity of EasyIT's clients allowed it to get through the 2008 recession without letting anyone go, says company president, Eric Hoeft.

Teaching employees to "live" the company's mission is essential to its success, Kurt Hoeft says. For example, employees are encouraged to really listen to and evaluate clients' needs and make decisions for them. One key to keeping things easy is providing workable solutions rather than choices that the client may not understand, he says.

"We use our mission as an everyday talking point," Kurt Hoeft says. "When we make decisions we are asking ourselves, 'Are we making this easy for you or difficult for you?'" he says. "It dominates our thinking."

Seth Oakley, director of Cincinnati operations for m+a architects, appreciates that EasyIT employees have been trained to help without making anyone feel stupid. "They are so not condescending," he says. "People hate it when the IT person makes them feel stupid. I have never seen that from anyone at EasyIT."

In addition to enjoying the day-to-day interactions with EasyIT, Oakley also values the company's insights about preparing for the future. "That's their biggest asset to us-big-picture thinking," Oakley says.

The Hoefts really encourage clients to be proactive about making sure that their IT capabilities coincide with their long-term planning, he says. "It's made our growth easier," Oakley says. "They're focused on your needs and what they can do to help you realize your vision."

The architectural firm still employs one IT person who handles much of the day-to-day operations, but the firm relies on EasyIT for monitoring and planning. Oakley likes that hiring EasyIT has given him a team of experts that he does not have to hassle with hiring and training.

That's a common scenario, Eric Hoeft says. Even companies that have a person or two who handle the day-to-day needs are drawn to EasyIT because they understand the value of having an entire company of IT experts available to them around-the-clock, he says.

The Hoefts, who recently moved into a larger office, anticipate that the company will continue to grow as IT becomes more complex and increasingly integral to most industries-medical, law, engineering and architecture-because they can easily see how much money and productivity they lose when their systems go down.

The brothers, whose wives also work for the company, say they enjoy working together because they understand each other's thinking processes and are equally invested in the company's success. "There's a high degree of trust when you're in business with family," Eric Hoeft says.

Melissa Kossler Dutton is afreelance writer.