SP 500 VAR Vology Celebrates Big Sales Gains At 2014 Tech Summit

Vology embarked on a journey five years ago to transform itself from a provider of Cisco pre-owned gear to one of the most diversified and fastest-growing solution providers in the country.

Today, those efforts are paying off.

Speaking Thursday to more than 300 customers at Vology's 2014 Tech Summit in St. Petersburg, Fla., Vology CEO Barry Shevlin highlighted some of the company's recent growth milestones. Among those achievements, he said, are doubling the size of Vology's business every three years for the past eight years and growing its customer base to more than 8,000.

[Related: SimpliVity CEO Urges VARs To Dive In With Hyper-Converged]

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Vology ranked No. 139 on the 2014 CRN Solution Provider 500 list -- up from No. 159 in 2013 -- and No. 73 on CRN's 2014 Fast Growth list. It's on pace to reach $175 million in revenue by the end of 2014, up from $125 million last year.

To hear Shevlin tell it, a lot of that growth has been fueled by Vology's recent transformation from almost exclusively selling Cisco pre-owned gear to today boasting a portfolio of over 50 vendor partners spanning markets that include storage, virtualization, networking and cloud.

Vology is an Elite Juniper partner, Premier VMware partner and is the largest HP storage reseller in the southeast among other certifications. It's also forged partnerships with some of the tech world's hottest up-and-comers, including SimpliVity and Nutanix in the hyper-converged infrastructure market.

It's a drastically different Vology from five years ago.

Vology was known as 'Network Liquidators' until 2010 and was recognized primarily -- if not exclusively, to some -- as a provider of used Cisco hardware. But as the company added vendor partners and started to sell more new equipment, Shevlin decided it was time for a change.

"That 'liquidator' name had a negative connotation in certain circles," Shevlin said in an interview with CRN.

Nearly 80 percent of Vology's business five years ago came from sales of pre-owned Cisco gear. That percentage is roughly 30 percent today.

"We are not just the used Cisco guys anymore," Shevlin said.

Apart from significantly broadening its vendor portfolio, Shevlin said acquisitions have played a key role in Vology's success over the past few years. Vology scooped up fellow Tampa-area solution provider Bayshore Technologies in a 2012 deal that expanded Vology's professional services business and its national footprint.

Earlier this year, Vology acquired the Irvine, Calif.-based division of solution provider Govplace to extend its reach into the federal, state and local government markets.

Shevlin also attributed Vology's growth to more resources being pumped into the company's engineering organization. Five years ago, he said, there was roughly one engineer for every five account managers. That ratio today is more like one-to-one and, over the next 18 months, he said he would like to have two engineers for every one member of the Vology sales team.

"We are really changing from being a sales-driven organization five years ago to being much more of an engineering-led organization today," he said.

Lastly, Shevlin said, the key to Vology's growth has been sticking to its bread-and-butter midmarket customer base. He said 85 percent of Vology's business comes from organizations housing between 200 and 1,000 employees and that his focus on that market segment is unwavering.

"We really want to be the IBM for midmarket companies," Shevlin said, noting that IBM Global Services for years has claimed the top spot on CRN's Solution Provider 500 list. "We want to help [customers'] IT departments just simply do a better job."

Though it's grown leaps and bounds, Vology's transformation is by no means complete, Shevlin said. Vology is sharpening its focus on professional and managed services, along with cloud as it continues to grow the core parts of its business like networking and storage.

Vology recently hired Lisa Larson, former Rackspace VP of Enterprise Cloud Solutions, as its first ever chief cloud officer. Larson is going to expand the service desk model Vology uses to support its managed services customers to also help troubleshoot and support those customers' cloud applications, according to Shevlin.

"We really want to be that one phone call customers can make," he said. "We're excited. It feels good."