Secrets Of The Tech Elite

These solution providers have the top technical talent in the industry, solving the thorniest business problems. Here are some of their stories.

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When a Fortune 75 insurance company was looking for a solution provider to lead the charge on an ambitious $12 million private cloud project, it turned to Tech Elite superstar GreenPages Technology Solutions of Kittery, Maine.

Tech Elite solution providers such as GreenPages, featured in our first annual Tech Elite 250 list, are the technology equivalent of the Navy Seals, the Green Berets and Special Forces all rolled into one. GreenPages, which uses the tagline “Consulting. Engineering. Integration,” provided end-to-end architecture, integration and operational support for the insurance company’s complex cloud engagement.

Paul Brady, the former senior director of information technology for the Fortune 75 insurance company, said leveraging a partner such as GreenPages (VMware’s 2010 U.S. Solution Provider of the Year) was critical in delivering a private cloud that ultimately reduced the time it takes to provision a server from 42 days to an amazing 26 minutes.

GreenPages provided the “vendor-agnostic, cross-vendor” expertise necessary to reduce the high risk that comes with such a technology project, said Brady. GreenPages’ solution architects, who are well versed in multiple technologies, were critical to the project’s success, he added.

GreenPages, Brady said, prevented the perennial technology “gotchas” that can take down a complex technology solution -- especially a project that spans multiple technologies and vendors.

“We transferred all the headaches of managing the complexity and multiple vendors to GreenPages,” he said. “I don’t think there are a lot of solution providers that could do what they did.”

Brady said he regularly recommends GreenPages to colleagues in a technology bind. “Unsolicited, I have recommended them to other companies,” he said. “Not because they asked me to. And that’s the best kind of customer advocacy: when someone advocates on your behalf without you asking them to.”

Tech Elite solution providers such as GreenPages are characterized by their unique solutions methodology, the highest-tier, multiple vendor certifications, and a heavy services and software IQ that spans the full IT spectrum from desktop to server to storage and security. All of it pays off in the ability to deliver best-in-class, high-business-impact results for clients. The Tech Elite superstars have invested in both the strategic services offerings and the product certifications to deliver a new era of technology solutions.

The Tech Elite have paid a heavy price to take the technology high ground, investing more per capita in sales and engineering talent than their competitors.

GreenPages CTO John Ross said 50 percent of his technical team has multiple certifications, with 100 percent of his sales and engineering team holding a VMware certification. That kind of training requires a huge investment in technical education -- GreenPages’ training budget comes in at a whopping $275,000 per year.

“We pride ourselves on getting the right solution for the customer,” Ross said. “People often confuse solutions with products. We go in and make sure we are clear on the business results that the customer wants and then we define the technologies. Most VARs start with a manufacturer and try to back-end a deal. We are going in the other direction, which is defining the business goals first and then finding vendors that support those goals and results.”

Ron Dupler, GreenPages’ CEO, who won VMware’s Partner Executive MVP Award this year, said the company has made a $10 million investment with big bets on virtualization and cloud computing to become a Tech Elite solution provider. “Everything we do as a company is aimed at driving customers toward the new paradigm,” he said. “It’s a journey to virtualize IT infrastructure and bring customers to the cloud.”

GreenPages has moved from being a product-oriented reseller to a strategic technology consultant and professional services company, said Dupler. “We have an environment where great technology people want to work,” he said. “That really is our product.”


NEXT: ICI: Pushing The Technology Envelope

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