For Ray Orsini, Miami native and Founder and CEO of OIT, life as an entrepreneur started at a very young age. At the age of eight, he joined Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and was mentored by an IBM Engineer. Shadowing his big brother, Orsini was introduced to satellite communications, mainframe computer systems and other technologies. By the time he was eleven years old, he was getting paid to work on his parent’s friend’s personal computers. Over the years, Orsini held various positions before deciding, in 2011, that it was his time to put a stake in the ground.
“My experience has gone through different iterations including, web design, application design and, starting in 2005, managed services,” he said. “Back then it was just called ‘IT Services’, but what we did was the same. In 2011, we decided to really make a push into Managed IT Services and Orsini IT was born.”
To grow the business, Orsini combined his experience working with Tier 1 and Tier 2 Telecoms with his emphasis on community engagement and focus on customer service. He partnered with other IT professionals and integrators and, along the way, identified another business opportunity – Voice over Internet Protocol, also known as VoIP. In 2013, Orsini added VoIP hosting to a long list of services provided by his company.
From Startup to Second Stage
“Today, we offer our services throughout North America,” Orsini said. “We even have clients in Hawaii and Alaska. We also work with a lot of other IT firms, allowing them to better engage with their customers and provide reliable solutions. Because we have decades of experience in technology and communications, we’re able to apply our resources at a micro level that SMBs value today. The average small business doesn’t get the same respect and support that larger corporations do. However, even if you’re a small business, you still need to do business globally and you still need to be able to operate during extended hours. We help remove the limitations for these businesses. Couple that with our attention to detail and extreme customer service and we’re delivering real value.”
As Orsini shared, providing the highest possible level of service is what sets them apart from the competition. They even have statistics to back it up.
“Everyone has had a poor experience with their phone company,” Orsini said. “That’s why service is our number one focus. To ensure we’re delivering the right level of service, we track average minutes to response. We’re currently at 1.9 minutes. The industry standard is 45 minutes. Best in class is around 30 minutes. We’re very proud of our response time. Every decision goes towards that goal. It can be a hard thing to pitch to prospective customers, but once they become a customer, they learn the true value of working with us.”
For all the success, there have been a handful of challenges – mostly those that are typical of startups. Orsini explained, “Our challenges were finding the time to do everything and the finances and resources to grow. Fortunately, growing up, I had the benefit of watching and being a part of my parent’s real estate company. I answered phones for them at a young age and learned, early on, the importance of great customer service. Because of that, I ran the business, right from the start, as a business rather than an IT firm. I focused on sales and marketing and hired a technician so I could spend my time growing the company. We had to create everything from scratch, but I took notes from my parent’s experience as entrepreneurs and documented everything. As we scale, we’ve seen repeatable and consistent excellence.”
OIT’s marketing strategy is very much in line with their focus on service and community engagement. The majority of their business comes from other managed service providers. They maintain a set of shared goals and ideals with these organizations allowing OIT to reach their clients through online forums, conventions and by forming relationships with channel partners. They actively participate in a bi-yearly convention in Washington D.C. designed for vendors that sell to the channel. They also maintain a presence at IT Nation, a similar convention held every year in Orlando, FL. These conventions have allowed OIT to reach other IT firms and MSPs in order to train them to market to their clients, thus becoming an extension of OIT.
OIT’s workforce consists of 20 full-time employees. According to Orsini, company culture is a big part of everyday life at OIT.
“Whether it’s our hiring practices or company career paths, we’re really big on company culture,” he said. “It’s cliché, but we treat everyone as a family. We’re also very much a family-owned company. My wife is our CFO, my cousins both work here, my daughter is a Project Manager and my six year old son even has a desk in my office. Mentorship is also a big deal for our company. I got my start from internship, so it’s important for me to give back. Everyone here has a requirement to lead and mentor others. We also take two interns per year and give them the experience needed to land a real job.”
OIT is actively involved in many community and philanthropic activities. They donate food and clothing and work closely with the church. They’re a drop off location for Toys for Tots and participate in a toy matching initiative every year. Last year, they started an initiative called OIT Gives, which allows clients to nominate charities of their choice. Because of the absence of operating costs, 100% of donations will go to those charities. They’re also set to announce their newest initiative called OIT Ready. OIT Ready will provide emergency phone services, utilizing VoIP, for anyone affected by a natural disaster.
According to Orsini, operating in the state of Florida is beneficial for a number of reasons. “Florida gives us the benefit of being a hub to South American and Europe,” he said. “Also, working in South Florida, we get people from all over the place. You get to talk to business owners from around the world. It’s very eye opening and has definitely helped us as a business. I don’t think we would have been able to grow if we didn’t have the benefit of working with these companies that are global in nature.”
What it Means to be a Florida Companies to Watch Honoree
“It’s humbling,” he said. “We’re very proud of the things we’re doing. We want to create a company our kids can be proud of. To be recognized from the outside and to have someone review our history and say this is a company to note, that gives us pride. It’s also humbling to look at the other amazing companies and to know we’re among them.”
Orsini continued, “In terms of why we were selected, I think it has a lot to do with our story and how we do things at OIT. There are thousands of IT and phone companies to do business with. Similar to restaurants, you have your favorites because of how they treat you and make you smile. That’s how we operate. Our focus on service and our mentorship culture allows us to succeed and ultimately grow the company. We also hire some great employees that contribute to our success.”
Orsini thanked his father and mother for the honor. The guidance they provided as entrepreneurs had a significant impact on his career path. He also thanked his employees and humbly admitted that he wouldn’t be where he is today without them.
Looking ahead, Orsini is focused on adding a second office location in Pittsburgh, PA, as they continue to expand their presence throughout the United States. Orsini also wants to expand his company’s role as a service provider to other telecom companies. Other goals include growing the OIT Gives initiative and offering a scholarship for teachers in need of school supplies. Orsini’s wife, CFO of OIT and former teacher, Michelle, came up with this initiative.
Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
“I had another job when I first wanted to do this full time,” Orsini said. “Every time I talked to my brother about it, he always said, ‘What are you waiting for, just do it’. Basically stop talking about it and just go for it. It can be scary, but if you have the drive and passion, you’ll figure everything else out. Plans are nice, but execution is what counts. Sometimes you just have to jump.”