CRN Exclusive: Champion Solutions Group Takes Aim At Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Market With allAware Acquisition

Champions Solutions Group, one of Microsoft's top cloud solution providers, has set its sights on the fast-growing enterprise mobility market with its acquisition of the assets of all-star mobile/cloud developer allAware.

Plantation, Fla.-based allAware, which has developed innovative Microsoft mobile apps for Fortune 1000 customers, includes founder and President Jason Milgram, one of only 13 Microsoft Azure MVPs in the country.

Milgram, who heads up a development team of fewer than 10 employees with large offshore capabilities, will now oversee mobile application development for Boca Raton, Fla.-based Champion Solutions Group, No. 215 on the CRN 2015 Solution Prover 500.

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The allAware employees will now become part of Champion's MessageOps Cloud business unit. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Champion Solutions Group CEO Chris Pyle said the deal sets his company up to move mission-critical legacy applications to mobile devices using Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite and Microsoft Azure.

"This acquisition helps us move beyond the IT pros to the line of business buyers who want to utilize mobility to enhance collaboration and communication," he said. "The sky is the limit for this business. We couldn't be more excited about the future."

Pyle estimated that as many as 75 percent of his enterprise/midmarket customers have still not moved their mission-critical apps to mobile devices. "It's easy to download a mobile app," he said. "The difficult part is taking a mission-critical enterprise app and mobilizing it. The great thing is it's a very sticky business with robust consulting services and nice recurring revenue."

Among the allAware assets acquired by Champion Solutions Group is a suite of compelling cloud software offerings including: a Web app that synchronizes with a Windows desktop app; a cloud-based, message-oriented middleware solution for mobile and distributed app development; a private, secure instant messenger app; a cloud-monitoring app called Monitor Grid; and the company's namesake app, allAware, a Web and mobile app solution for nonprofits.

Champion Solutions Group has been using allAware as a subcontractor to modernize mission-critical apps for some 25 enterprise customers over the past year. "They were a high-quality subcontractor -- a great organization that produced top-quality solutions for our clients," Pyle said. "We felt it was time to bring them into our company and grow the business."

Among the Champion clients that took advantage of the allAware custom development capabilities: one of the largest accounting firms in the Southeast, which, until allAware provided a new tablet-based application, was collecting data from clients in the field and then going back to the home office to input data into desktop systems. "Using allAware, we took an application that was running on a desktop client for years and moved it to mobile devices," said Pyle.

The allAware deal comes with Champion, a Microsoft Azure Partner of the Year and Microsoft Cloud practice award winner, growing its Microsoft business at about 50 percent a year.

The Microsoft practice, which is about 20 percent of Champion's overall sales, represents the fastest-growing part of the Champion business, with healthy margins and recurring revenue, said Pyle.

"We see a very large uptick in the Microsoft cloud business," he said. "That's why we are making a big bet and investment around people, processes and technologies around Microsoft Office 365 and Azure."

The Champion Solutions Microsoft march started in earnest three years ago with the acquisition of MessageOps, a Charlotte, N.C., maker of a software offering to manage Microsoft's Office 365 cloud productivity suite. That business now includes 17 online tools and software for Office 365, including a MessageOps Discovery Scout to perform directory searches and an Office 365 Exchange Migrator.

Pyle, who has piloted Champion Solution Group more than 30 years through numerous technology paradigm shifts, said being successful as a solution provider today requires "a lot more innovation, more interaction with line of business executives and bigger investments to make a difference for your customers."

"With cloud and mobility, you have to move fast and try different things to stand out in a sea of sameness," he said. "We understand where the customer has been with the legacy business, where they are now and where they need to go in the future to be successful."

Pyle said he couldn't be more excited about the potential for the allAware product set and the development prowess of his new enterprise mobile team. "We think we can take them far with our sales and marketing capabilities," he said. "It's a good marriage!"