Twenty-five years ago, Sam Haffar and his brother Jason started out building white-box PCs for customers in Houston who were looking for a better value.
The two brothers built the business one system after another, investing every year in top-flight engineering talent to provide customers with more innovative IT products and solutions. All of it was backed up by a super-high level of local touch and a corporate credo of "Customers For Life and Employees For Life."
From day one, Computex has always been out in front of big technology changes and was a virtualization expert long before it was fashionable. It's those kinds of deep investments that have made the company, a member of the CRN Tech Elite 250, one of the most widely respected solution providers in the country. Top vendor executives and solution provider peers have sought out Sam and Jason time and time again for advice on how to cross the next big technology chasm.
So with cloud computing reshaping the technology landscape, more than a few were waiting to see what Computex's next move would be. With big investments necessary to continue to grow at a rapid clip, the two Computex founders decided to make a deal to be acquired by Stratos Management Systems, Atlanta, and become shareholders of the new company.
The deal with Stratos creates a $100 million hybrid IT cloud computing powerhouse with offices in five states: Texas, Minnesota, Florida, Georgia and Michigan. The deal is Stratos' second acquisition. In March, Stratos acquired another CRN Tech Elite 250 high-flyer, Nexus Information Systems of Minnetonka, Minn.
"Cloud changes the dynamics," said Computex President Sam Haffar. "You have got to have hosted systems and a slew of new offerings to compete in a hybrid infrastructure IT world, some of it off-premise, some of it on-premise. We are going to take Nexus' managed services to our customers and bring our data center services to them. We are going to offer a variety of cloud services like Backup-as a-Service, Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service. We can now help customers build private clouds but also build hybrid clouds, federating data workloads between clouds. That takes a lot of costly engineering talent and facilities."
With Computex and Nexus, Stratos has taken two of the best solution providers in the country, combined their elite engineering and project delivery teams, managed services offerings and data center prowess into a hybrid IT power that is sure to give fits to national solution providers competing in the Southwestern and Central U.S. One of the central tenets of the Stratos philosophy is to maintain that super-high level of local touch that has made Computex and Nexus so prized by their customers.
Sam Haffar says one of the things that doesn't change with cloud computing is the need for strong local customer relationships. What's more, he says, the primary mission of the solution provider to "transform business through technology" and shield customers from the complexity of IT remains the same. That's something all solution providers would be wise to remember as they cross the cloud computing chasm.
BACKTALK: How has cloud computing changed your business model? Contact Steve Burke at firstname.lastname@example.org.