Thank you Alaska Business Monthly for interviewing Resource Data, Inc. for your July 2016 publication. RDI, along with two other local Alaska companies, was interviewed for an article which highlights local IT companies and how they help businesses both overcome the technology challenges of today and use technology to improve their operations.
By Tasha Anderson
It’s not at all controversial to say that technology is an integral part of doing business, no matter a company’s size, industry, or location; however, for any Alaska business, there is an appropriate IT solution. ...
While many large businesses opt to manage their IT in-house, Resource Data, Inc. (RDI) has carved out a place for itself in Alaska working for larger Alaska businesses. “Because we specialize in solving complex IT problems, we mainly work for organizations with complex IT systems, which tend to be larger organizations, both government and private,” according to RDI Business Development and Marketing Manager Howard Earl.
Some of the problems that RDI solves for its clients include fixing poorly performing and/or overly costly IT systems; deciding capital investments to maximize return, minimize risk, and meet other business objectives; assuring IT projects are well conceived and managed; and eliminating inefficiencies caused by multiple systems that don’t share data.
RDI was founded in 1986 by Daryl Scherkenbach to provide database and mapping services related to natural resources for mining companies, and Alaska Native corporations. Over time the company evolved, and now its “portfolio of services includes custom software design and development, mobile development, enterprise resource planning, technology upgrade/migration and transformation, technology assessments and planning, business analysis, project management, and IT services,” according to the company. One thing that sets RDI apart from other IT options in Alaska is their history and expertise in geographic information systems, or GIS. “We are the leader in Alaska in developing large GIS solutions, especially around spatial and environmental data management to support exploration and permitting of large resource development projects,” says Earl.
RDI provides services to a wide range of industries and is able to support companies statewide. “We do work all over the state from the North Slope to Ketchikan—a few of our employees were even lucky enough to work for a client on environmental studies vessels in the Chukchi Sea,” he says. In 2015 RDI had 210 employees, including 21 employee owners, of which approximately 130 are located in Alaska, qualifying RDI as a large business itself. “Having a large presence in Alaska, we do work for oil and gas companies, the State of Alaska, utilities, Alaska Native corporations and the federal government. Beyond that we work for a wide range of clients,” according to Earl.
RDI started offering IT system services to their clients six years ago, services that include “optimizing their infrastructure—the hardware, software, and network comprising their enterprise IT environment—and resolving their IT system problems.” Earl says that their clients have been a part of the cloud movement, “increasingly requesting virtualization and cloud services, desiring convenient, on-demand access to their applications and databases from anywhere with an internet connection.”
One recent project RDI completed was designing a virtual platform large enough to run the entire computing load for a State of Alaska agency. “For another client, we developed a process to consolidate VMware virtual machines from multiple physical locations to a single, modern virtualized datacenter in Anchorage,” Earl says.
According to Earl, “Two characteristics distinguish our IT support services: First, we never charge a flat rate, monthly fee, or minimum charge; we only charge for hours worked. If our clients don’t need us around for a while, we don’t show up—and neither does an invoice. … Second, we augment existing IT staff with more than just extra hands: our professionals have the skills to provide business analysis, system design, custom programming, and complete implementation of IT systems.”
RDI has grown significantly in the last thirty years, but just getting larger wasn’t, and isn’t, the company’s goal: RDI President Jim Rogers says, “We don’t look at growth as a mandate, but rather as a positive consequence of our good work. Consequently, we don’t have a large team of aggressive sales people but rather primarily rely on referrals and expanding our business with existing clients.”