Innovative ideas drive networking, software firm

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

By Jim Obert

Business Today

JACKSON -- The computer network has become the information lifeline of a business. It can be the high-speed highway for data, video and telecommunications. And businesses often need custom software to solve technology problems.

Innovative Idea Integration of Jackson offers a circular range of technology solutions, says Duane Statler, who owns the business with Duayne Williams. Williams also owns Cape Computer Service in Jackson.

Statler and Williams, graduates of Southeast Missouri State University, opened Innovative Idea Integration in 1994 with six employees. The business currently employs 21 people.

"We design and install computer networks -- cabling infrastructure, network switching structure, all the basics," said Statler, adding that the business also custom-develops software.

An authorized service center for Compaq computer equipment, the business also partners with Microsoft and provides Windows operating systems, Windows servers and Microsoft Exchange Internet servers.

Statler said Innovative has a group of employees who train people on Microsoft office applications such as Windows, Microsoft Excel, Outlook and Word. A portable lab that includes laptops and a projector facilitates on-site classes

Statler said the company provides customized software for many companies in the area.

"They'll have a special need that there's not a preprogrammed package for, so we have nine software developers to build what the customers need," said Statler.

Although the company's service area is generally a 90-mile radius of Cape, it has customers in St. Louis and other states to include Illinois, Indiana and Pennsylvania. Manufacturing businesses, service industry companies, construction companies, banks and school districts are customers.

Repair work is done in-house on servers, laptops and desktop equipment.

The business does a lot of back-end work on Web pages, said Statler. "A lot of companies can do the graphics, the informational-type pages, but we do Web development that can give customers or employees access to corporate information on the database.

"We take the basic Web page and really get into sharing corporate information."

Innovative Idea Integration partners with 3Com, a billion-dollar corporation. Statler said the company has been designated a 3Com Gold Focus Partner, which means it's in the top 10 percent of 3Com's business partners.

Williams is a member of the national 3Com Gold Systems Council, a group of 12 resellers from around the country that meets quarterly with 3Com executives to discuss products and marketing strategies.

Statler said Innovative has grown to include network-based telephone systems. He said 3Com has a telephone system that plugs into the same wires that a computer network uses.

"It is pretty much the next generation of telephone systems," he said, adding that it can be integrated with desk-top and hand-held computers.

Concerning software development, Innovative created a package for a $500 million plastics manufacturer in St. Louis. Statler said the software does the company's automated quoting and pricing functions.

"The company may create 3,000 or 4,000 price quotes a year, and this software makes price adjustments based on price changes taking place in the market.

"It's an application we developed in 1996, but we've enhanced it and added modules."

Statler said Innovative works with companies that have as few as four or five employees to major employers such as Procter & Gamble, Nordenia USA and HAVCO. Projects can range in size from a few hours to several thousand hours.

"We've had continued growth every year since we opened," said Statler. "We develop long-term relationships with customers and receive a lot of referrals."

Statler and Williams are involved in community service. Statler is on the Small Business Council at the Cape Chamber of Commerce, and Williams is on the board of the Cape-based chapter of the American Red Cross. Many of the company's employees volunteer their time for a number of agencies and community activities.

PICS -- Duane Statler, seated, co-owner of Innovative Idea Integration in Jackson, and network technician David Casey study an office computer networking diagram. BT/Paul Walker

-- Tom Schreiner, senior engineer at Innovative Idea Integration, repairs computer system servers. Repair work is done in-house on servers, laptops and desktop equipment.

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