Discovering his passion at an early age, Robert Kanter has been custom developing software for Indiana businesses for over 2 decades and has been a leader in the IT industry for over 3 decades!
It’s easy to spot someone who will become a successful business owner. While most are driven by money, growth and profits, these rare overachievers have a perpetual passion for their craft and an unquenchable thirst to deliver beneficial solutions to their customers. That’s Robert Kanter.
At just 11 years old, Robert became bored with playing video games on computers. He found a love for the technical aspects of computers, including repair, networking and especially programming. Back in the days of the DOS operating systems and BASIC computer language, Robert developed many programs and scripts to automate his life.
Thinking back to those days, he says, “Creating a program that fixes a problem or automates a solution is easier for me than doing the process manually. I find the best way to learn something is to break it. It gives you the opportunity to develop solutions and improve the operation without the pressure of an actual outage.”
In the office where his father worked, instead of calling the company’s help desk, his colleagues would call this 11-year-old boy. They knew little Robert Kanter would get them back up and running better and faster than any help desk could – and would provide them with tips on how to avoid or fix problems in the future themselves. Even when he was only 14, Robert was working with business and home computer systems – his parents would drive him to and from customers.
Robert’s First Real Challenge: The Y2K Scare
Remember Y2K? When the world thought it was on the brink of collapse because shortsighted engineers didn’t anticipate how year 2000 and beyond would affect the way they coded dates?
In late 1999, an Indianapolis company desperately needed someone to rewrite their automated invoicing and payment software to make it Y2K-compliant. They were told it couldn’t be done – three months just wasn’t enough time for a proper development. Enter Robert.
“I got the job because everyone else said it couldn’t be done, and being young and naive, I believed I could do it,” he remembers. “It wasn’t an actual choice so much as it was a lack of options. So, I immediately began working 12- to 16-hour days to meet that aggressive deadline. I triaged the project in those parts that needed to be done before the deadline and those components that could wait until after the New Year.”
And just four days before the calendar flipped to 2000, Robert’s software went live. And it worked! Not only was the new software Y2K-compliant, it took a process that involved three people, seven computers and eight hours to complete down to a single computer, a single operator and was completed before the day’s lunch hour!
Graduating College, Getting Married And Launching His Company…All In One Year
Not one to waste time when he knows what he wants, Robert Kanter crammed multiple life events into one incredible year. The year was 1999, and before saving a customer from Y2K disaster, Robert got his computer technology degree with a minor in business and launched his new IT services business in Indianapolis, Indiana. To complete his storybook year, Robert had married his high school sweetheart the year before, in June 1998.
When you ask Robert why he started his business, he smiles and says, “I just felt that nobody was looking out for small business owners. I remember IT guys charging $250 an hour, and that was over 20 years ago! How could a local business owner afford that? So, I made a decision to seek to provide enterprise-level IT solutions that business owners can actually afford.”
Even beyond the high price tag, Robert recognized early on that too many IT services providers were delivering out-of-the-box cookie-cutter solutions but didn’t customize a solution to a customer’s operations and situation.
“Every business is unique, with different goals, different needs and different problems. Yet most IT firms simply slap on similar out-of-the-box software for everyone. My approach is to first understand the business owner’s needs, and only then do I work to provide a solution. That way the solution is completely customized to their business.”
A Sophisticated Approach To Keeping Data Safe For Franchises
While ITI Smart Solutions provides IT services to several industries, once they started working with franchises, they knew it was a perfect fit. Their team has recognized that franchise systems lack efficiencies since individual franchise owners tend to use varying software solutions from different IT services companies.
Robert says, “By providing a single solution from a single IT supplier, an entire franchise system is more streamlined and efficient. Plus, we have developed a software solution that takes the headaches out of all the rules associated with franchise systems and can allow integration and streamlined data exchange between disparate operational and accounting software packages.”
While creating custom applications designed to benefit businesses is an important differentiator for ITI Smart Solutions, their layered approach to protecting data stands apart.
“Part of the conversation when dealing with cyber security is to identify where you’re most vulnerable,” Robert says. “For most businesses, it is their employees. We make it a priority to properly train employees on how to be vigilant against possible cyber-attacks.”
In addition to robust security software and a comprehensive employee training regimen, Robert’s team also built their own cash management program. With it, any cash disbursement must be digitally signed off on. For customers that employ it, this extra layer of protection makes it virtually impossible for hackers to disguise themselves as an employee or vendor requesting a money transfer.
At Least $1 BILLION Has Flowed Through Robert’s Proprietary Applications
Robert Kanter, in addition to his role as president of ITI Smart Solutions, has slowly migrated almost exclusively into a software development role. That’s because the company’s goal from day one has been to maximize the efficiencies of the small business owner.
“If there’s a piece of software we can bring to the table that will make their company more efficient and more productive, that’s what we deliver,” Robert says. “And that starts by sitting down with the business owner and asking the right questions.”
Utilizing his 30 years of experience and vast certifications, including A+, Network+, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and more, Robert’s custom applications have enabled at least $1 billion of commerce to flow into his customers’ businesses.
One of his proudest accomplishments, Robert developed a proprietary custom software platform for business intelligence that provides security, user management, database setup, data isolation and audit logging.
“We have built a whole business intelligence platform that’s like a launch pad,” Robert says. “This custom software has enabled our customers to define software services to better run their businesses while saving them time.”
In addition to developing his own applications, Robert can successfully integrate with popular systems, including QuickBooks, Salesforce, Slack, Microsoft Teams and ZenDesk, as well as chat and text messaging systems. As a result, Robert’s clients can get even more out of the software they use every day.
Over 2 Decades Of Loyal Clients
Robert Kanter’s core philosophy is to honor the customer. That means that as the IT and cyber security expert, he always does what is best for their business. When your business has been ingrained in your community for over two decades, you have clients who have stayed with you for 10, 15, and even 20 years!
“I have worked and lived in the same five-mile radius my entire life,” says Robert. “The Southside of Indianapolis is home. It’s where I was born and raised, where I married my high school sweetheart and raised my two boys.”
Asked what gets him up in the morning and keeps him motivated to do his best every day, Robert smiles and says, “It’s the people of this town. That’s why I do what I do. To help them.”