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Rising To The Occasion: The 2020 Solution Provider 500

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the global economy and the IT industry. For the channel, it’s no longer business as usual but the companies on this year’s CRN Solution Provider 500 list are meeting the new challenges head-on.

The IT industry was riding high as 2020 began. IT vendors and solution providers were enjoying the most robust business climate since before “The Great Recession” and market researcher Gartner was forecasting that the good times would continue with worldwide IT spending to grow 3.4 percent in the new year to $3.9 trillion.

And then everything changed.

As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, businesses went into lockdown, layoffs became widespread and what had been a booming economy ground to a near-halt. Gartner’s 2020 forecast, updated on May 13, now predicts that worldwide IT spending will decline 8 percent year-over-year to $3.4 trillion.

Solution providers, from global IT services companies to the smallest VARs, are being tested this year as never before and they have risen to the occasion.

As businesses and organizations suddenly shifted their operating model with many employees working from home, solution providers had to quickly pivot, providing their clients’ homebound employees with laptops, collaboration and video conferencing tools, access to cloud applications and security technology to protect it all.

The pandemic and economic shutdown “have been very disruptive,” acknowledges John Flores, executive vice president at Converge Technology Solutions, a fast-growing solution provider that’s debuting on the Solution Provider 500 list this year at No. 50. “We’re not directly in front of our customers.”

But Converge Technology Solutions has met the challenge, enabling its own employees to meet the surge in demand from its customers for work-from-home technology, collaboration tools and managed services – and security to protect it all. “We continue to see strong demand for these capabilities from our customers,” Flores said in an interview with CRN.

One weekend in March all 13,000 employees at RSM US, a Chicago-based IT and financial services provider and consultancy, began working from home – as did most of the company’s clients. “Our people have learned to adapt and be creative to serve our clients and help them meet their business objectives,” said Patrick Vance, national leader of technology consulting at RSM US, which joins the Solution Provider 500 list this year at No. 87.

With customers looking for ways to navigate through the suddenly unfamiliar business environment, RSM US responded by adapting and tailoring their service offerings for corporate performance management, remote workforce enablement and data analytics, Vance said.

Here we present the 2020 edition of the CRN Solution Provider 500, the annual ranking of the largest solution providers by revenue in North America.

Most of the solution providers that have occupied the top ranks of the Solution Provider 500 have held onto their positions in 2020. The top six are unchanged with IBM Global Services retaining the top spot followed by Accenture, DXC Technology, Tata Consulting Services, CDW and Cognizant.

New to the list this year is NTT Data Services at No. 7. NTT acquired the former Dell IT Services business (previously Perot Systems) in November 2016 for $3.1 billion. NTT has since made aggressive moves to grow, including launching a data center services business in 2018, acquiring a healthcare IT consulting firm in 2019 and moving into AWS consulting services with this year’s acquisition of Flux7 Labs.

Capgemini, World Wide Technology and Leidos round out the top 10 of the Solution Provider 500.

A number of companies made impressive gains on this year’s list, either through organic growth, acquisitions or a combination. DXC Technology spinoff Perspecta, for example, rose six spots to No. 19 while EPAM Systems moved up seven spots to No. 27. Also making significant gains were Slalom Consulting (No. 30 from No. 43), ConvergeOne (No. 31 from No. 36), CBTS/OnX (No. 33 from No. 44) and AVI-SPL (No. 36 from No. 47).

AHEAD, a provider of digital business infrastructure, merged with Data Blue and Sovereign Systems in 2019, leapfrogging the Chicago-based solution provider to No. 36 from No. 75.

This year’s Solution Provider 500 list also features 84 companies that are new to the Solution Provider 500 list including CyrusOne (No. 42), Converge Technology Solutions (No. 50), ECS (No. 52), and RSM US Technology (No. 87).

Converge Technology Solutions, founded in 2016, has been acquiring regional VARs such as Corus360, Northern Micro, Key Information Systems and Lighthouse Computer Services. While the dozen or so acquisitions have catapulted Converge Technology Solutions onto the Solution Provider 500, the Toronto-based company is seeing strong demand for its hybrid IT solutions, spurring organic sales growth for cloud, software and managed services and boosting annual recurring revenue to more than $1 billion.

RSM US, whose history goes all the way back to 1926 with the founding of an Iowa-based accounting firm, has been growing annually in the range of 20 percent since 2010 with its broad range of technology consulting services, managed services, and financial and accounting services.

“We are hyper-focused on the middle market,” said Vance, noting that RSM US provides a full life-cycle of up-front advisory and consulting services, IT system and service delivery and implementation, and ongoing managed services – all providing the foundation for long-term customer engagements. “We pride ourselves on our relationships.”

This year’s Solution Provider 500 companies collectively generated $393 billion in 2019, up more than 3 percent from the $381 billion last year’s Solution Provider 500 generated in 2018.

The complete list of the CRN 2020 Solution Provider 500 is available here on CRN.com. We’ve also provided a slide show showcasing the 25 companies that top this year’s list.

For information on purchasing the complete Solution Provider 500 list with all collected firmographic data, please contact sales@thechannelcompany.com or call 508-416-1175.

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