Small Businesses with Big Ambition: Amplified IT

by CoVaBizMag

By Grace Silipigni

Owner: Tim Lee
Founded: 2009
Location: 812 Granby St., Norfolk
Employees: 25

Amplified IT is a national Google for Education powerhouse residing in Norfolk’s NEON District. The consultancy’s contemporary office space on Granby Street houses 16 local team members with a remaining nine employees working throughout the United States, Canada and the company’s home origin of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Amplified IT CTO and Founder Tim Lee relocated the consultancy from Edinburgh to Suffolk, Va. in 2010 and later to Norfolk in 2015. It was during the company’s infancy, however, that Lee and fellow cofounder and COO Peter Henrie established their ties with Google while working on a large scale IT project for Scotland’s University of St. Andrews. The two companies joined forces at the forefront of Google for Education, allowing Amplified IT to play an active role in the program’s growth.

The Google Apps consultancy now serves as the primary education partner for seven of the 15 largest school districts in the United States. These extraordinary partnerships make up the larger pool of 4,000 North American school districts and nearly 20 million students Amplified IT currently assists with their technological growth.

Amplified IT office

Amplified IT Norfolk

Amplified IT Norfolk office

“There is no one that has the same footprint or approach as us across the United States, which shows our partnership with Google,” says Lee. “We happily say that we have a unique blend of strengths in consultancy along with development.”

Asserting Amplified IT as a frontrunner in the education technology businesses are its exceptional array of services and passion for education, innovation and impact. Unlike other consultancies, Amplified IT does not charge its clients to use Google’s platforms, rather helps them leverage Google’s education tools to transform their efficiencies, such as reducing budgets, streamlining services or simply giving students a voice through technology.

“One of our core objectives is knowledge transfer,” says Lee. “We’re not just trying to sell a solution; we’re trying to enable schools to be successful, and that’s the differentiator here.” Lee further explains that each school is unique; they require different training, work within different budgets and even use diverse technologies.

To close the gap, Amplified IT offers one-on-one consultancy sessions with schools and their educators to diagnose an institute's singular needs. The Google for Education Audit, a program Lee synonymizes to a home inspection, performs a comprehensive review of a school’s current situation and guides them through budgets, next steps and the addition or reduction of services. Amplified IT team members then provide the school with an action plan and help them implement and navigate appropriate teaching tools.

The consultancy continues to advance students’ academic journeys by developing innovative technologies through their new research program, Amplified Labs. The Labs team is comprised of four expert developers who reimagine the way Google tools function and alter them to help schools work smarter. Since their establishment nearly two years ago, Amplified Labs has designed a plethora of clever programs that enhance the operation of some of Google’s most-used apps including Calendar, Gmail and Chrome.

Amplified IT NEON District

“If there is a challenge or pain point in our schools, we see if our labs team is capable of [solving it] in a scalable and efficient way,” explains Lee. Some of their most notable inventions include Event-o-matic, Chrome Gopher and Centipede Stick.

In addition to the Labs team, Amplified IT employees are divided into roles of Consultancy, Regional Account Managers, Onboard & Engagement, Technical Services, Events & Marketing and Leadership. The range of skills present in the intimate consultancy has awarded Amplified IT with a nomination as a Google Global Partner of the Year in 2015 and recipient of the Google Cloud 2016 Americas Partner Award for EDU Customer Success.

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