Innovation Spotlight: The Evolution of ICC

Evan Weese
Kelly Gratz was named ICC's president in May 2018

ICC isn't resting on its laurels as an entrenched technology leader with hundreds of employees and more than $80 million of annual revenue.

In May, the 20-year-old technology and innovation consulting company hired a new president—its first since the retirement of co-founder John Kratz five years ago—to help lead aggressive growth plans that involve expanding geographically, deepening existing partnerships and evolving the overall portfolio of business solutions. CEO Steven Glaser says it's about adapting to the marketplace and serving customers as best as possible, whether they are in finance, healthcare, manufacturing, retail or some other industry.

“I would say that we have moved from a company that did a variety of things in a variety of a ways to a company that is moving more toward comprehensive digital transformation solutions,” Glaser says. “We're one of the few companies that goes end to end with that.”

ICC provides its clients with IT expertise in the realm of software development, data analytics and user experience solutions. Essentially, it helps companies understand and connect with their customers digitally—whether helping a fast-food company determine the effectiveness of marketing solutions, working with a retailer to forecast demand for blue shirts versus green shirts, or helping a bank determine the most effective way to transact with customers.

“Today, the intersection between technology and business is just pervasive,” says ICC Chairman Blane Walter, who invested in ICC in 2013 and also serves as a partner with Talisman Capital Partners. “Our clients expect to be able to transact digitally.”

With its ongoing evolution, ICC has taken a wide variety of disparate services and interconnected them to provide clients with a seamless and collaborative process. For one of its clients, healthcare products distributor Sarnova Inc., ICC is creating a custom software application. ICC helped design the back-end database, the front-end user interface and worked with Sarnova's IT team to ensure the technologies implemented are consistent with those already in place, allowing Sarnova employees to support platforms such as the company's website.

“They are always forward-thinking and trying to understand what the endgame is and not just deliver specifically what we asked for,” says Rhiannon Greene, vice president of pricing and information systems for Sarnova. “They are really trying to understand the whole picture, where we are trying to go, and foresee what that might mean for the technology that we are implementing.”

As part of its aggressive growth plans, ICC is embracing “on-shoring,” with an increasing appetite for technology and innovation solutions to be located in the Midwest. The company also is expanding geographically to better serve clients in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Buffalo.

Integral to the evolution is Kelly Gratz, a technology veteran and longtime executive of Syneos Health and inVentiv Health. Named president in May, Gratz is responsible for making the operational and strategic changes, reporting to Glaser. Prior to her time at Syneos, Gratz served as president and CEO of digital agency Blue Diesel and spent 10 years with the management consulting arm of Ernst & Young.

She is highly regarded for her ability to help organizations evolve. “We've done a really good job growing, and what we were looking for was someone that would be additive to what we do,” Glaser says. “Someone who had been exposed to transformational change within other companies.”

Gratz says her first months on the job haven't been about storming in and trying to “change the world.” Rather, it's about learning the ins and outs of ICC's clients and its own team, learning what the company does well and then figuring out areas to improve. Gratz recalls attending an off-site meeting and discovering the company's collaborative culture—and how hard everybody is to working to “delight the client.”

ICC is a successful and growing company, but she knows in the rapidly changing world of technology, it must continue to evolve to meet clients where they are. “It almost behaves as a startup—it's a big, big, big startup,” Gratz says. “They've already done all the hard work in terms of building the organization, the infrastructure, gaining all the great talent. How do you fine tune it to grow to the next evolution is what I want to focus in on.”

Evan Weese is a freelance writer.


2500 Corporate Exchange Drive, Columbus 43231

About: Technology and innovation consulting company, partnering with clients to execute digital strategies by elevating the customer experience, transforming technology and delivering timely insights.

Owner: Privately-held

Total employees: 600

2017 revenue: $83 million