MetTel COO: MSP Acquisition 'Bolsters Our Ability To Go Beyond A Router'

MetTel will become one of the first telecommunications companies with a managed service offering following its acquisition of Thrive Networks, a MetTel executive told CRN.

Chief Operating Officer Andoni Economou said MetTel and most of its telecom peers haven't made much of an effort to service customers beyond routers.

That changed in a big way on Tuesday when the New York-based telecom company announced it was buying Thrive, an MSP based in Tewksbury, Mass., from Staples for an undisclosed sum. The deal closed Thursday, Economou said.

[Realted: Staples Unloads MSP Thrive Networks To Telecom Services Player MetTel]

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"This really bolsters our ability to go beyond a router and into a client's network and help them with monitoring and security," Economou said, right after the announcement.

The push to provide clients with a one-stop shop for tech services began several months ago, Economou said, as MetTel's smaller enterprise customers indicated they wanted to direct internal resources away from IT and have third-party providers manage their devices.

Moreover, the recent high-profile data breaches have made telecom customers more desirous of bringing in outside experts to handle security matters, Economou said.

Bringing Thrive on board uniquely positions MetTel so that it can provide support as far as the desktop, offering services such as remote monitoring, data protection and virtualization. Thrive also has a cloud service with email, file sharing and data backup, although those have become a core offering at other telecom providers in recent years, Economou said.

Thrive will operate as a stand-alone brand, Economou said, with the executive team at the 71-person firm retaining responsibility for the performance of managed services operations for the combined company.

"We like our name-brand, and we like the reputation," Economou said. "We think the personnel and leadership there is on the right track."

Economou said the quality and expertise of Thrive's workforce -- more than 50 of whom are engineers -- was one of the primary reasons MetTel moved forward with the acquisition. He hopes the integration of MetTel communications offerings with Thrive's cloud and application services will result in additional employment growth.

Economou said resellers have expressed excitement about being able to use MetTel for more than communications, and are particularly elated that they can get a bundle of IT products from a single source going forward.

"We're obviously very excited because it enhances our bundle of services," Economou said.

The deal also will provide Thrive with greater geographic reach, thanks to MetTel's network hubs in California, Texas, Illinois and New York. Even though Thrive has its physical footprint in Massachusetts, Economou said the MSP has customers nationwide.

MetTel plans to keep Thrive's Tewksbury office for the future, Economou said, but current Thrive employees are welcome to move to Providence, New York or Salt Lake City and work out of MetTel offices there.

Although this is MetTel's first-ever nontelecom acquisition, Economou suspects it won't be the company's last. While nothing specific is in the works, Economou said MetTel will continue to explore if there's something missing in its portfolio of IT services.

"We're going to let this settle in," he said, "but I anticipate that there will be additional activity in the future."