Four years ago, Scott Goemmel was snorkeling with his wife when he looked down and saw scuba divers enjoying deeper waters some 30 feet below. Surfacing, Goemmel turned to his wife and said, “What are we doing up here? We need to be down there with those guys.”
A pair of scuba certifications soon followed.
Goemmel’s desire to go further and dive deeper parallels his business career. A year earlier, Goemmel had taken a dive into managed services, turning PMV Technologies, Troy, Mich., into an early pioneer of a business model that has emerged over the past year as perhaps the single most important trend in the channel.
Those that haven’t made the jump are considering it. Many others are testing the waters. And still others, such as PMV, are beginning to reap the benefits of early investments. Today, PMV derives about 85 percent of its nearly $10 million in annual revenue from services—and three-quarters of that is recurring revenue from managed services contracts. The company says its MSP revenue mushroomed by more than 300 percent last year.
Goemmel now also is playing a leadership role in helping other solution providers make the transition. In September, Ingram Micro appointed Goemmel president of the distributor’s 400-member VentureTech Network. His mandate: Spread the managed services message.
“He has a big-time services show and can help migrate [VentureTech Network members] to more of a services- and solutions-oriented model,” says Justin Crotty, vice president of North American channel marketing at Ingram Micro, Santa Ana, Calif. “I want services to be a critical part of what we do, and Scott is a great sounding board for that.”
A voracious reader of personal development books, Goemmel credits his success in managed services to a risk-taking entrepreneurial spirit. “To be an entrepreneur is to be able to accept and manage risk, and you accept a great deal of risk when you begin managing a customer’s network,” he says.
Another key factor in launching a successful MSP is understanding both IT and financial accounting processes. Goemmel, who started out as an accountant with Deloitte and Touche, understood the value of financial processes. His education in IT processes came in the late 1990s at global plastics company M.A. Hanna Co., where he helped manage a massive technology rollout. “I understood process, I understood customers, and then there was IT. It all came together,” he says.
Five years ago, Goemmel hitched up with business partner Sam Rozenberg and began building PMV. At first, they saw managed services as a clever way to more closely monitor their customers’ needs and sell them more products. But as time passed and hardware margins shrank, managed services moved to the forefront. Today, one-quarter of PMV’s 40 or so employees work in the MSP portion of the business.
Goemmel says the midmarket is the hot ticket for MSPs right now. But as his snorkeling excursion indicates, Goemmel doesn’t like to put limits on his business. He also counts two of the country’s top 10 banks among his managed services clients.