Next-Gen 250: Ahead Of The Curve
The channel today is undergoing seismic shifts as new technologies such as cloud computing, software-defined networking, hyper-converged infrastructure and big data reshape the IT industry. While the channel overall has felt the impact of these technology advances, some solution providers are ahead of the curve when it comes to transforming their businesses to meet demands for such emerging technologies.
And so we present the 2015 CRN Next-Gen 250, the annual list of solution providers that are setting the pace for the rest of the channel in meeting customers' ever-evolving IT needs. These are the solution providers that offer, or even specialize, in emerging technologies and so have the potential to greatly impact the channel in the near future.
Take Coretelligent, a Needham, Mass.-based solution provider that provides a full range of IT services but is especially adept at private cloud computing, managed services and around-the-clock support. The company was started in 2006 largely as a traditional IT services provider, but its founders soon realized the company could be something more.
[Related: Faces Of The 2015 Next-Gen 250]
"Our customers were tired of capital expenditures and were asking us, ’How can we break out of that refresh cycle?'" said Coretelligent founder and CEO Kevin Routhier in an interview with CRN. At the same time, cloud services from vendors such as Amazon were starting to make their mark. "We realized this was an opportunity for us to deliver something better," Routhier said.
Five years ago the company developed CoreCloud, the solution provider's Infrastructure-as-a-Service private cloud platform that offers fully managed, highly secure hosted solutions for small and midsize businesses. Just last month the company followed that up with the introduction of CoreBDR, a data backup and disaster recovery solution for cloud and on-premise deployment.
The ability to provide such best-of-breed technologies is a key differentiator for Coretelligent, and the new products are fast becoming a big part of the solution provider's business, according to Routhier. And that shows on the company's top line: Coretelligent recorded 58 percent growth in 2014 and is on pace for 50 percent growth this year.
Also on this year's Next-Gen 250 list is Ntiva, a McLean, Va.-based solution provider.
"We try our best to stay on top of what is critical and what can be brought to customers as solutions," said Steven Freidkin, president of Ntiva. Ntiva provides customers with a full complement of cloud services, strategic consulting, IT support and system life-cycle management.
Developing a recurring services business was a critical aspect of Ntiva's growth, providing the revenue stream that allowed Freidkin to hire the talent he needed.
These solution provider executives will tell you that staying on the leading edge of new technologies is always a challenge. Ntiva hired a chief product officer to help guide the company's IT direction and develop technology solutions for clients. "And most importantly, we listen to our customers," Freidkin said.
Next-Gen 250 solution providers know they need to take advantage of every source and opportunity to stay on top of emerging technologies. Coretelligent, for example, has a number of venture capital and equity fund firms among its customers and Routhier said his company sometimes taps into that knowledge base. "It gives us a real bird's eye view of what's coming and how information technology is developing," he said.
The solution providers on the Next-Gen 250 list are selected through research, vendor and analyst interviews, and CRN editorial coverage. All of the companies on the non-ranked list were started in 2000 or later. Some are relatively new and were launched to work with new-generation IT such as cloud computing, hyper-converged infrastructure and big data technologies. Others have been around longer and have successfully transformed themselves by adding new technologies, services and skills to their business practices.
In a sign of the rapid pace of change in the IT industry and the channel, 164 of this year's Next-Gen 250 are new to the list.
Check out a random sampling of the solution providers making this year's Next-Gen 250 list.
PUBLISHED AUG. 10, 2015