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CentricsIT's Derek Odegard Offers IT Solutions From The Secondary Market

CentricsIT was born from the collaboration of seasoned industry veterans, led by Derek Odegard, former senior vice president at Atlantix Global Systems. When both Atlantix and Solarcom Holdings were purchased by Presidio (CRN Fast Growth 2007 No. 13), Greenbelt, Md., in 2007, the group, and some of their colleagues, decided it was time for a change, and founded CentricsIT, Norcross, Ga. It is the company's goal to provide customers with solution choices that include the secondary market, a strategy they hope will help customers maximize the return on their technology assets.

CRN

The VAR's "Technology Asset Solutions" are intended to drive down customers' total cost of ownership, extend the useful life of their IT infrastructures and provide customers with creative asset disposal options that maximize value. Odegard recently spoke with CRN about CentricsIT's strategy.

You could have stayed with Presidio in an executive capacity. What was your motivation for leaving and starting CentricsIT?

It was time for a change. I also liked working for a private company. Here we can offer a blend of activities and focus on what we know. We're not a broker, that's not our game. We have millions of dollars in inventory and offer core storage solutions from Sun, IBM, HP, EMC. In networking, we have Cisco, Juniper and Extreme. We have different channel relationships also.

Who's your core customer?

We mostly play in the enterprise space. We don't do desktop computers, nor are we really in the small to midsize segment. Primarily, we are data-center focused. We do work with the [HP] ProLiant server, though.

[Regarding the economic climate,] Centrics is pretty well insulated because of what we do and who we serve. Customers who only buy new equipment do more with less when times are tough. Others see the tremendous value in secondary market equipment. We are talking to customers now about lowering their total cost of ownership and [internally] about how to leverage our marketplace.

What does a secondary sale "look" like?

Obviously, the first thing is finding out about the client's infrastructure. When customers buy new, they don't care who they buy from. When they buy secondary equipment, it's the opposite: They become very selective of who they buy from. When you think about it, you have [fewer] concerns when you buy a new car than when you buy a used one.

How do you reassure your potential customers?

We have five full-time engineers that have more certification than 75 percent of VARs. We help customers with configuration, sizing, we talk to customers about needs. We ask them to consider things that others don't provide, like rentals. We explain that buying equipment is like buying a car off the lot. The [monetary] value of the product depreciates immediately and the cost of servicing it goes up. We bring a solution as to how they can re-engineer their service requirements to maximize them and get value out of the deal.

It's a gradual process. Some customers get it right away that the products are under a service contract, and they are tested, burned in. We even offer a lifetime warranty. There's some stigma about the secondary market. Many people envision a broker of one or two guys, which we are definitely not.

It's tough to sell to someone who has had a bad experience. We spend a lot of time talking them off the ledge. We educate them on how to do more with their resources. There's a potential of 40 percent savings buying through the secondary market. Each manufacturer has different policies on their equipment; we know how to sift through them to make it painless for customers.

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