VAR Par 4 Expands Services Expertise With Flytrap Acquisition

Par 4, Amesbury, Mass., last month acquired Tolland, Conn.-based Flytrap in a stock-only transaction, bringing to Par 4 services expertise in storage, virtualization and managed services, as well as an operating network operations center.

The acquisition also includes nine VMware virtualization certified professionals (VCPs), plus several personnel with a wide range of storage expertise, said Gary Halloran, president of Par 4.

"That had been a real hole in our strategy," Halloran said. "When we started three years ago, we were a classic VAR. We reached out to customers I know, or people who owed us a favor. But we left a lot of business, a lot of professional services opportunities, on the table. That's what Flytrap will bring to us."

Par 4 previously had about 12 people, including seven sales people and three pre-sales engineers, while Flytrap had 15 personnel, including nine consultants.

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The combined company now has the ability to go after deals it found difficult to pursue in the past, Halloran said.

"We used to find opportunities to deliver services, but had to go out and '1099' (subcontract) someone," he said. "That's risky for customers because they don't know who they are getting. And it's risky to our reputation."

The acquisition is something Par 4 needed to do to be successful going forward, Halloran said.

"We have combined a company with a successful sales team with a group of highly-skilled technical people," he said.

Par 4 started three years ago with a focus on VMware as its top vendor partner, but then found out that customers were already developing virtualization expertise or working with other consultants, Halloran said.

The company then looked at storage vendors that worked well with virtual environments such as EqualLogic, which was acquired by Dell; LeftHand, which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard; and Compellent. Customers seemed confused by the new platforms from such vendors, which gave Par 4 a chance to both help customers and develop credibility with the vendors, Halloran said.

However, Par 4 has tried to avoid being tagged by customers as representing specific vendors in order to ensure it is seen as vendor-neutral. "The way companies generally drive business is as, say, an EMC reseller," he said. "But if you drive any other solution, EMC will chop you up. And customers know you are pushing EMC. So we go in without a vendor, and customers find that very valuable."

The only exceptions have been companies like data deduplication technology vendor Data Domain which have unique offerings, Halloran said.