How 10 VARs Became Cloud Computing Superstars2:00 PM EST Fri. Feb. 08, 2013
Making the radical technology and business model transformation to compete in the cloud services market has proved to be a Herculean task for VARs that have built big businesses providing on-premise hardware and software infrastructure. One top executive for a cloud computing upstart estimates that less than 20 percent of the current crop of VARs will be able to make the transition to the transformative cloud model. Here are 10 VARs that have crossed the cloud computing chasm and transformed themselves into cloud computing superstars.
Check out the rest of CRN's special report on solution providers and the cloud, available exclusively on the CRN Tech News App.
Boca Raton, Fla.-based Champion Solutions Group has accelerated its cloud transformation with the acquisition of MessageOps, the maker of 365 Command, a set of Web-based administration, reporting and monitoring tools to manage Microsoft's Office 365.
Cloud services were already the fastest growing part of Champion. The MessageOps deal, however, gives the company unique proprietary cloud services assets.
Champion CEO Chris Pyle says he is maintaining MessageOps as a separate operation, providing investment capital to help the unit develop new cloud offerings. In addition, Champion is now offering the MessageOps 365 Command to other solution providers.
Credit CompuCom President and CEO Jim Dixon (pictured) for transforming the solution provider giant into a cloud computing superstar. Under Dixon's leadership, the IT services giant, which was No. 23 on CRN's SP500 list, has built out a world-class managed services/cloud computing portfolio. Dixon says changing up the IT services portfolio is part and parcel of doing business in the fast-paced technology game. Look for new Divisional CEO Tony Doye to up the cloud ante with an innovative community cloud platform.
Dimension Data Americas CEO Jere Brown has taken a $5.8 billion global company that was once viewed as an old-school IT reseller and transformed it into a nimble cloud services powerhouse. Having the backing and support of Japanse telecommunications giant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone helped a lot. Dimension Data acquired well-respected cloud services provider OpSource and cloud expense management provider Xigo and now finds itself in the well-respected market research Gartner's coveted Magic Services Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), being mentioned in the same breath as Amazon Web Services. If that isn't enough, the company has also been listed by Gartner in the Magic Quadrant for Communications Outsourcing and Professional Services. File this one under it is possible for an elephant to dance.
DLT Solutions President and CEO Rick Marcotte has often compared the plight of resellers who refuse to adapt to the cloud model to countless bookstores and travel agents that have closed up shop. Evolve or die, is Marcotte's battle cry. It would be hard to find a government IT reseller that has done a better job at transforming than DLT. The Herndon, Va., company, No. 42 on CRN's SP500, has long been a customer of Amazon Web Services and recently added AWS GovCloud to its portfolio, opening the door for the government systems integrator to offer government services in a public cloud. DLT also offers public cloud services from Google and BMC and private cloud services through Oracle, Red Hat and Eucalyptus. Looks to us like DLT is not just evolving to play in the cloud, but staking out a leadership position in the government cloud market.
Being a cloud powerhouse means having the muscle to build state-of-the-art data centers. That's a market segment where Future Tech is thriving with its iFortress managed service. Now Future Tech is stepping up to one of the toughest cloud challenges, providing customers with the technical expertise to move the old broadcast paradigm model into the digital age. Future Tech CEO Bob Venero says the secret to his company's success is simply listening to customers and responding with superior IT solutions.
The Kittery, Maine-based company has made a multimillion-dollar bet on its GreenPages Cloud Management as a Service (CMaaS). A cloud computer services proponent long before it was fashionable, the company has the leadership from the top from CEO Ron Dupler and the technical talent from the team led by Chief Information and Technology Officer Kevin Hall to make it happen. Look for GreenPages and its unique CMaaS offering to change the way companies plan, build, run and provide governance for public, private and hybrid cloud environments.
Being successful in the cloud means being successful developing cloud computing services. With a robust application development unit, Washington, D.C.-based New Signature has developed compelling and innovative services that put the power of the Internet into the hands of users. Two of New Signature's best: Votifi.com, a platform for modern political exchange, allowing voters to exchange ideas and vote on specific issues, and ioby.org, a micro-funding services site aimed at allowing local eco-friendly projects to get grass-roots funding and support.
Being a cloud computing services power means being able to build clouds with robust technical certifications and partnerships. Waltham, Mass.-based NWN is one of only a handful of solution providers that have achieved Cisco Systems' prestigious Master Cloud Builder Specialization in the U.S. The certification requires technical proficiency around cloud architecture including hypervisor, cloud management, desktop virtualization and integrated infrastructure. NWN also offers cloud managed services including a Cisco VoIP Call Center solution that is hosted, managed and maintained for customers by NWN.
With the cloud computing revolution forever changing the technology landscape, a new class of mega cloud providers is emerging. One of the best and brightest of the new stars is Stratos Management Systems, launched with the backing of high-profile investors including Navigation Capital Partners and Goldman Sachs. With top executive talent from HP's EDS business, Stratos' philosophy is to bridge public, private and hybrid clouds with its own managed services, providing "local authority with national scale." Key to the company's star status is its acquisition of two of the best and brightest CRN SP500 companies: Nexus Information Systems, Minnetonka, Minn., and Computex, Houston. One good sign: Sam (pictured) and Jason Haffar, the two brothers who made Computex into an SP500 power, are putting their money where their mouth is and have invested in Stratos.
No cloud computing powerhouse list would be complete without TekLinks, recognized by CRN last year as one of the fastest-growing companies in the business. Being a cloud power means having cloud managed services that make it easy for customers to take advantage of the cloud. TekLinks Vice President of Managed Services David Powell has put together a portfolio of world-class cloud services including the TekCloud, virtual/server sessions in the cloud.