IPS Technology Services has 20/20 Vision

Pradip Sengupta formed Troy-based IPS Technology Services in 2003 on a part-time basis. At the time he was the Vice President of Aon Consulting, a major global company that specializes in risk management services. “I always had this in my mind to have something going,” Sengupta says. “So I just did some consulting on the side here and there [while I was at Aon].”
 
His career started in engineering, then he started with Aon as the IT Director before moving his way up to VP. After that he would be the CIO of another major national firm, in charge of their entire IT infrastructure. “That gave me exposure on how to run IT [operations] and what it means for a client,” he says.
 
Then, in 2009, as was the fate of so many others, Sengupta was the victim of corporate restructuring, and he found himself fully invested in IPS Technology Services. “It gave me a great opportunity to launch this company on a full-time basis,” he says. “I can from a cushy full-time position … it was hard to leave.” For many would-be entrepreneurs, the risks of leaving a stable job with stable income and benefits to go off solo and start their own company are just too high. In Sengupta’s case, he was able to get his feet wet with his company part-time, and when the choice was no longer his to make he found himself making a go of it.
 
IPS Technology Services provides advisory services to $2-30 million manufacturing companies. “These are the companies that need some IT strategies but that cannot afford a CIO. That’s where we come in. We look at their business strategy and objectives then act like their CIOs. They don’t have to pay for a full-time person but still get that same quality of services at 60% of the cost.”
 
At a time when so many companies still face severe budget cuts and cost-saving measures which results in countless cutbacks, a company outsourcing certain positions to private consulting firms is more affordable than retaining a full-time employee on staff and paying out their health insurance, vacation time and other costs. For the entrepreneurially-minded, there is no time like the present to go off on their own and use their accrued expertise to provide services as an independent contractor. (It’s undeniably hard, risky work, but for the truly tenacious it can ultimately mean the best of both worlds.)
 
In addition to advisory services, IPS offers a host of other services including IT staffing. Sengupta admits, “…that really put us on the map with cash flow,” enabling him to continue growing the company and offering more services. They also offer application development, which might include building a database for a company to track their inventory or accounting system. “We build these systems so the client can automate their processes and make themselves much more efficient.” They also provide website development and web-based marketing and social media development.
 
IPS is also a healthcare IT initiative provider, which is something Sengupta heads up at Automation Alley. IPS assists in the training and implementation of EHR (electronic health record, also known as electronic medical records or EMR) systems in physicians’ practices; this new software must be implemented across the board by 2015, which is the deadline when the National Health Information Infrastructure will be operational. “We help train them on EHR to fit the needs of the practice. These offices have no infrastructure in terms of IT, no Internet, no one knows how to use [the software]. I am the trusted technology advisor; I don’t sell any products – I make sure they buy the right product and I provide the ability to manage their vendors a whole lot better and help them get the most out of their investment.”
 
Sengupta is very active in the community. He is a Tech Town mentor and he has also worked with Automation Alley since 2009, where he got to know Lola Aré, Senior Business Consultant on the Oakland County economic development team and also the Oakland County Business Center Director. Through Aré, Sengupta got involved with Oakland County’s Venture Forward program, an 11-week training program designed for business owners, CEOs, and top management team members.
 
Since launching in 2009, IPS’s revenues have grown exponentially. “In 2009 our revenue was nothing to write home about,” Sengupta says candidly. He has seen the company grown from $45,000 in 2009 to almost $80,000 in 2010 and then a whopping nearly $500,000 in 2011. His goal is to hit the $1 million mark in 2012, and he jokes that he has “20/20 vision” – $20 million by 2020! The company has also grown from an almost 100% solo operation to having seven full-time and 4-5 contract workers. The recent acquisition of Federal Mogul as a client is significant in the continued growth of IPS. “It gives a financial picture of [our] growth rate. We’re small now but we won’t be for long.”