Time To Grow Or Time To Die: Recasting The Solution Provider Business Model


Legendary Apple co-founder and visionary Steve Jobs once called death "the single best invention of life. It is life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new."

Jobs' sanguine view of death says as much about companies as it does about human beings. It is a concept worth thinking about as we grapple with the creative destruction that is ripping the traditional solution provider model to shreds. In fact, more than 70 percent of the companies on the SP500 list in 2003 one decade later have disappeared from the 2013 list either through merger and acquisition, bankruptcy or through other means.

The rapidly accelerating pace of change recasting the solution provider business model and the technology services choices facing the channel is exactly why CRN through its parent company started the BoB (Best of Breed) conference three years ago. This year the conference, aimed at providing thought leadership to take the channel to high ground, takes place Oct. 15-17 at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay in Tampa, Fla.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: HP's Whitman On Enterprise Group Issues, Street Fight With Cisco And EMC]

Given Hewlett-Packard's innovative drive to rip up the old server model with its HP Moonshot server, it is no small matter that HP CEO Meg Whitman will be hosting a live question-and-answer session at the event.

If you want an example of just what kind of steps you should be taking to become a solution provider cloud power, look no further than GreenPages Technology Solutions, which has undergone a radical transformation under the leadership of CEO Ron Dupler. Most notably, GreenPages' Cloud Management-as-a-Service (CMaaS) platform, which was brought to market in January, is rapidly gaining momentum with more than 120 customers now running the service.

GreenPages, by the way, was No. 264 on the SP500 list 10 years ago with $78 million in sales. Today, GreenPages is No. 154 on the list with $126 million in annual sales. Some other good examples of companies that are making the grade in the cloud era: NWN Corp., which was founded in 2000 and was not even on the list a decade ago, is now No. 88 with $266 million in annual sales thanks to the vision of founder and CEO Mont Phelps; Compugen, which was founded in 1981 by current CEO and President Harry Zarek,was No. 164 on the list a decade ago and is now No. 58 with $443 million in annual sales; and finally, Denali Advanced Integration, under the leadership of founder and CEO Majdi "Mike" Daher, was only a $19.5 million company a decade ago, and is now No. 114 on the SP500 with $114 million in annual sales.

The lesson for solution providers that want to climb the ranks of the SP500 is simple: Change or die. That means making sure you understand the business and technology models that are ripping up your business, and adapting to them. That is what the BoB conference is all about. It's an investment that is sure to pay off. Those interested in learning more about the event can email Christopher Kopacko or call him at (508) 416-1161.