VAR500: 20 Titans Of Transformation

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Sirius Computer Solutions

Sirius Computer Solutions President Joe Mertens thrives on the blinding pace of change in the solution provider business. In fact, he says it makes the business "a lot of fun."

Sirius is indeed having a lot of fun.

The 31-year-old perennial solution provider power has, in short order, undergone a radical transformation that has put it at the vanguard of the cloud computing revolution. Not many solution providers have come as far and as fast building a world-class cloud computing business than the San Antonio-based company. That transformation has made Sirius the VAR500 2011 Company of the Year.

The biggest bang came from Sirius' acquisition last November of MSI Systems Integrators, a $350 million, highly respected technology power based in Omaha, Neb. The deal between the two companies created a $1.3 billion solution provider behemoth with what may well be the broadest and deepest technical talent to take enterprise customers to the cloud.

Sirius already had the middleware software skills and the vertical industry expertise to take on any difficult cloud data center transformation project. MSI Systems Integrators brought to the table a robust network operations center with server/storage capacity on demand and managed services muscle that provided a gateway to the cloud.

Both companies had industry leading two to one technical talent to sales rep ratios. Put them together and you have a case of one plus one equals four.

"The momentum behind the deal is phenomenal," said Mertens, who is slated to formally take the CEO reins from Sirius founder and VARBusiness Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Harvey Najim. "It has exceeded all our expectations."

Sirius has seen a 25 percent increase in sales since the deal closed.

Sirius is picking up the cloud computing pace. The company recently became the first solution provider in the world to receive IBM's prestigious Cloud Builder Designation. And it already has built an HP Cloud Center of Excellence. That makes Sirius the only solution provider with cloud certifications from the two biggest computer companies in the world. And it has put Sirius in prime position as cloud computing becomes more pervasive to provide on premise, off premise, private, public or hybrid cloud solutions for customers, says Mertens

With Sirius' cloud consultants mapping out detailed cloud battle plans for customers, cloud solutions now make up the fastest growing business in Sirius. "What we're able to now do for a client is determine where they want their infrastructure, what part of it they want in house and what part do they want to rely on us to provide from a manufacturer or from our own data center," he said.

"We are able to play in all those stacks. We can provide power on demand for a variety of server platforms. And we can also manage customer's systems so they are completely lights out." That's no small statement of fact in an industry where many solution providers are struggling to meet the cloud challenge.

Mertens, who started out selling System 34 minicomputers, says cloud computing is happening much faster than anyone in the technology business anticipated. Sirius has already done more than 150 cloud briefings aimed at building cloud road maps for enterprise customers.. "We see clients moving larger and larger projects to cloud implementations," he says.

For Mertens, that just means Sirius is having more fun. "If it wasn't fun I wouldn't be doing it," he said.

By Steven Burke


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