Hitting The Mark: The 2014 Next-Gen 250

Some solution providers are ahead of the curve when it comes to transforming their business to meet market demands for emerging technologies such as cloud computing, virtualization, big data business analytics, unified communications, converged infrastructure and managed services.

And so we present the CRN 2014 Next-Gen 250, the annual list of solution providers that are setting the pace for the rest of the channel in meeting customers' IT needs. The goal of the Next-Gen 250 list is to showcase solution providers pushing the envelope in technology, services and businesses practices.

"It's a focus on business solutions," said David Geevaratne, president of New Signature, a Washington, D.C.-based solution provider that's on this year's Next-Gen 250 list. "We've always focused on helping our customers solve business challenges and accelerating their business goals, and not dwelling on technologies. If you're just selling a technology, then you're just selling technology for technology's sake."

[Related: Faces Of The 2014 Next-Gen 250]

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New Signature is a Microsoft partner, an elite National Systems Integrator, to be exact, and was recently named the 2014 Microsoft United States Partner of the Year. The solution provider focuses on developing cloud solutions based on Microsoft's Azure cloud platform, Office 365 cloud applications, Lync unified communications system, and others.

Flagship Solutions Group is another company named to this year's Next-Gen 250. CEO Mark Wyllie attributes that to the Boca Raton, Fla.-based solution provider's focus on growing its managed services business around its more traditional technology equipment reseller business.

"The end-game is really building the managed services because we really know [the customers'] business better than they do," Wyllie said of the six-year-old Flagship in an interview. The company is a major IBM partner and was one of the first resellers of the vendor's SoftLayer cloud services. Services and hardware aren't mutually exclusive, of course. "One feeds the other. I actually think if we do both correctly, we get the best of both worlds," Wyllie said.

Cloud applications are the focus for 360 Cloud Solutions, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based solution provider that's also a member of the Next-Gen 250. The company offers a range of strategy development, implementation, integration and customization services around cloud ERP and CRM software from NetSuite, Concur and other vendors.

Solution providers on the Next-Gen 250 list are culled from research, vendor and analyst interviews, and CRN editorial coverage. All of the companies on the list have been in business since 1999. Some are relatively new and were launched to work with new-generation IT such as cloud computing, mobile computing and big data technology. Others have been around longer and have successfully evolved by adding new technologies to their business practices.

Click here for a random sampling of the solution providers making this year's Next-Gen 250 list, including some that appear on the list for the first time. For information on purchasing the complete Next-Gen 250 list, contact Laurie Condon ([email protected]) on the East Coast and Nora Uriarte ([email protected]) on the West Coast.