Our Story

IT Expertise and Business Experience - Aligned

Aligned is an ideal name. It speaks to the commitment our team has when working with every client, but perhaps more than that, it speaks to the mindset brought to our company’s very formation. Aligned founding partners Gar Whaley and Don Sauer connected thanks to a shared vision that the best Managed Service Providers (MSPs) appreciate business goals as much as they understand IT needs — perhaps moreso. That commitment sustains what we believe is a truly atypical MSP — one that puts the human factor first.

A Painful Truth

IT is an area of expertise full of smoke-and-mirrors. Organizations want IT that works, that supports their teams, that can evolve to meet future needs, and that is robust and reliable. That’s not a big ask, but the intimidating nature of technology means it’s easy for an MSP to serve up ready-made solutions that don’t necessarily fit, nor are they engineered to adapt to and address what’s ahead. Today, too many MSPs deliver in ways that don’t meet all the nuanced requirements of a particular company, agency, or non-profit. We think that they should. To do that, we bring an inherently personalized approach to an industry typically satisfied with simply dispensing technology.

Why Aligned Stands Apart

We are built on a belief that IT solutions of every stripe begin by understanding what an organization’s people want, and that they are sustained by strong personal relationships with dedicated experts invested in ensuring that those solutions can evolve, remain optimized, and contribute to the fulfillment of any organization’s mission.

How it Began

Aligned founding partner Gar Whaley always knew he wanted to run his own business. As technologically savvy as he is today, he honed his customer-centric business philosophy in the restaurant industry. It was, understandably, an environment where near-constant human interaction cultivated a genuine ability to understand customer need. And while owning a successful franchise was satisfying, it further provided Gar with an unexpected introduction to computer systems. He made a point to understand the many systems used at his restaurants and quickly recognized how other local small businesses could benefit from the right IT solutions.

Fellow Aligned founding partner Don Sauer took a more direct path to acquiring close to 35 years of IT expertise. It began in the US Navy, where he first worked on computer-controlled weapons systems. From there he amassed diverse IT experience in every kind of industry and organization, public-sector and private, startup to large-scale enterprise. Each presented unique challenges and allowed Don to develop a rare diversity of perspective when it comes to designing and deploying IT solutions, and it never obscured Don’s focus on learning what’s best for a specific business, agency or organization.

Both partners are quick to echo their shared emphasis on comprehending a client’s operational objectives -- and not just appreciation for technology -- as the force that drives all Aligned solutions. “We always look at technology through the lens of your business,” explains Don. “We don’t just throw a bunch of tech at a challenge. We take the time and make the effort to identify a client’s real needs and customize implementations that will do the right job in a proven way.”

The Compliance and Cyber-Security Imperative

Any of the two dozen IT and business professionals on the Aligned team will be eager to explain that the IT industry is at a pivotal moment. The imperatives of cyber security and compliance are top organizational priorities, dominating conversations in key verticals including healthcare, non-profits/associations, and Department of Defense contractors. Aligned has thrived in these sectors since its inception because we recognized the emergence of those concerns and invested accordingly in both training talent and shaping solutions. That translates to meeting the demand for cyber security and compliance solutions that are built based on expert discretion, not haphazard or even reckless implementation of technology.

“The best IT solutions,” Gar adds, “are built from the ground up, reflecting the business aspirations or organizational mission of our clients first. IT implementation at its best, for Aligned, has zero interest in off-the-shelf fixes or short-term answers.”

Why Aligned

The term Managed Service Provider doesn’t cut it for Aligned. We prefer Managed Service Partner — that’s what we think of when we call ourselves an MSP. Creating that partnership-level bond with clients requires trust, the first thing we build before any Aligned IT solution is in place. Building that trust means knowing the people depending on our expertise, knowing who we are working for. Only then can we accurately determine your organization’s needs and design, develop and deploy a solution — one that works from the start, and is able to adapt to the future.

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