Konica Minolta Acquires IT Weapons To Jump-Start Canadian MSP Push

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IT Weapons is set to supercharge its sales organization and gain entree to thousands of potential new clients after being acquired Thursday by Konica Minolta Business Solutions Canada.

Brampton, Ontario-based IT Weapons -- No. 495 on the 2015 CRN Solution Provider 500 -- has the potential to grow its managed services client base (which includes 65 fully managed customers, plus about 300 project-based clients) dramatically, with exposure to Konica Minolta's 18,000 Canadian customers, said IT Weapons CEO Ted Garner.

"If we were to get 1 percent of those clients over the next five years, our business would be four to five times bigger, and I think 1 percent is very conservative," Garner said.

[Related: IT Weapons Makes First Ever Acquisition, Bolsters SMB Chops]

IT Weapons has spent much of the past five years building itself up as a top-notch services provider, but lacked the sales heft needed to really get the word out, Garner said. That changes with the acquisition, which will expose the solution provider's services offerings to hundreds of Konica Minolta sales reps, he said.

"The most important thing for us and our team is we get to leverage what we've built over the past five years to become a really good services engine, really honing our skills on delivery of IT services. The missing part then was a sales engine," Garner said. "[Konica Minolta] is a very mature and strong sales team -- product-oriented -- and now they're looking for a services team to deliver IT services to their very large client base."

The deal marks the first foray into the Canadian managed IT services market for Konica Minolta, which started down that path in the U.S. in 2011 with its acquisition of Redwood City, Calif.-based MSP All Covered.

Konica Minolta, which has traditionally focused on selling printers and managed print services, started looking for a Canadian solution provider to add to its portfolio at the beginning of 2014, and had been in talks with IT Weapons since March, said Todd Croteau, president of All Covered, Konica Minolta's U.S. IT services division. Croteau said he will provide advice and counsel in his role as "Ted's new boss."

Two things that set IT Weapons apart are its passionate focus on the customer and its commitment to developing elite technical skills, Croteau said.

"One of the things that jumped out to me the very first time we were here is there's a big wall, probably 100 feet long, that's just covered with certifications … probably 500 certifications up there," Croteau said, describing the culture at IT Weapons as an "esprit de corps that just pops right out at you." 

One of the key factors in moving ahead with the deal was IT Weapons' ability to operate as a subsidiary, keeping its name, management team and unique culture intact, Garner said, describing that culture as a cross between a hockey locker room, a military-like "I'd take a bullet for you" mentality and an unwavering alignment of common goals.

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