11 Next-Gen Solution Providers You Need To Know

Channel Upstarts

CRN’s new Next-Gen 250 list spotlights 250 solution providers born since 2000 that represent the up-and-comers in the channel, companies that are focused on new business models and innovative technologies, including cloud computing, virtualization and mobility. CRN recently honored a small subset of the Next-Gen 250 at two separate awards events that spotlighted their technical prowess and some of the attributes that mark them as go-getters. Here’s a look at 11 award-winning Next-Gen 250 channel partners you need to know.

IT Weapons - Storage Practice

IT Weapons, Brampton, Ont., specializes in business continuity, virtualization and application delivery, priding itself on providing the honest, business-centric technical expertise its clients need. Accepting the Next-Gen Storage Practice award from CRN Executive Editor – Online Jennifer Follett is Jeremy MacBean, director of business development at IT Weapons.

Nimbo - Cloud Application Practice

Founded just two years ago, New York-based Nimbo has grown up in the age of cloud. Its strong stable of solution architects and expertise in Microsoft cloud technologies ensure it can deliver on a compelling promise: to be agile, progressive, non-traditional and adventurous. Accepting the Next-Gen Cloud Application Practice award from CRN’s Jennifer Follett for Nimbo is Ira Bell, COO.

Explore Consulting - Cloud Infrastructure Practice

Explore Consulting, Bellevue, Wash., strives to bring its customers a superior combination of advanced technology, process innovation and client service. This year it attained its goal of winning the NetSuite Partner of the Year Americas award. Accepting the Next-Gen Cloud Infrastructure Practice award from CRN’s Jennifer Follett is JuliAn Coy (left), vice president of client services at Explore.

True Cloud - Unified Communications Practice

TrueCloud, Scottsdale, Ariz., three years ago saw big opportunity in cloud computing and hasn’t looked back. It operates on a few basic tenets: they listen, they help, they connect and they optimize. Dave Rice, CEO of TrueCloud, accepts the Next-Gen Unified Communications Practice award from CRN’s Jennifer Follett.

Ntiva - Best Origin Story

Ntiva, McLean, Va., sparked interest with its unique start-up story. As company founder Steven Friedkin tells it, he was approached when he was 13 at a store to suggest a laptop to a customer. Rather than telling him he wasn’t an employee, he seized the opportunity -- asked about the customer’s lifestyle and suggested a model. Then the customer asked if he would come to his house and set it up for him. Because of this chance meeting, he received 15 more referrals and a taste for what it was like to be a VAR at a young age. He learned from that experience the ability build his passion for technology into a blooming business.

Accepting the Next-Gen award from CRN Vice President and Editorial Director Kelley Damore and Editor/News Steve Burke is Ntiva’s Sean Kelly (center), director of infrastructure services.

OnDemand Communications Group - Best Client Win

OnDemand Communications Group, Woburn, Mass., nabbed the award for Best Client Win. The company was originally hired by a large entertainment company in NYC to consult on their internal help desk operations. But it took this first engagement to get deeper and deeper into the organization. Its first opportunity was found by crawling message boards. A senior director posted a question regarding on-premise vs. hosted call centers, and OnDemand offered up options and was brought in to consult. Since then, they have built out custom applications on top of Salesforce.com, followed by onboarding and offboarding processes, project management and change control, thereby streamlining the client’s internal processes.

Accepting from CRN’s Kelley Damore and Steve Burke is President and CEO Deryck Jones (center).

New Signature - Biggest Challenge Overcome

Six months after Washington, D.C.-based New Signature was born, a major client went out of business and left the solution provider with a substantial amount of bad debt. The company was able to survive by tapping the founder’s savings and by working with another client who gave New Signature a loan. So not only was it the customer but it was also the bank because it respected New Signature’s ethics, honestly and business value. This VAR was able not only to survive but to pay off the loan within three months.

Accepting the award from CRN’s Kelley Damore and Steve Burke is New Signature President David Geevaratne (center).

Veritcal IT Solutions - Best Employee Retention Strategy

At any given moment, Vertical IT Solutions, Tampa, Fla. (since acquired by All Covered, a division of Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A.), has 70 percent of its team enrolled in advanced education or pursuing technical certifications. The company also has a $12,500 grant that will enable its engineers to receive additional certifications and training at the La Salle Learning Center. And they keep it fun with monthly employee and family parties.

Accepting the award for Best Employee Retention Strategy from CRN’s Kelley Damore and Steve Burke is Steve Shaw (center), director of service delivery for Vertical IT Solutions.

3GC Group - Best Customer Retention Strategy

3GC Group, Los Angeles, maintains a 99.4 percent customer satisfaction rating. If a client isn’t happy with the solution, this VAR will uninstall the equipment, reimburse them and also cover the cost of having an alternative solution installed at the client’s site.

Accepting the award for Best Customer Retention Strategy from CRN’s Kelley Damore and Cisco Systems Senior Vice President Wendy Bahr (center) is Gregory Sonn, vice president of business development, mobility, for 3GC.

Nextrio - Best Social Media Strategy

Nextrio, Tucson, Ariz., has designed a social media strategy around the interesting personalities on its staff and some inventive promotions conducted during the year. The company last Halloween created a microsite for IT horror stories where existing and prospective clients could swap anecdotes about their IT challenges. The company also created a contest for the best-dressed computer where fans could vote via Facebook and Wildfire. Hundreds of votes were collected and the winner got an Apple ipad. But the biggest winner of this promotion was Nextrio who won six new clients as a result of the promotion.

Accepting the award for Best Social Media Strategy from CRN’s Kelley Damore and Steve Burke is Jennie Smith (center), vice president of sales at Nextrio.

Sage Technology Group - Community Service Excellence

Sage Technology Group, Bloomington, Minn., has instilled community service into its culture, combining its passion for animal welfare with its business expertise: virtualization. Through its Animal Sponsorship program, customers who go green through virtualization will have a donation made to the Minnesota Zoo where they can choose an animal to sponsor. The company says it chose the zoo as the recipient of the donations because ’we felt it was a great way to acknowledge to the planet by directly helping those who have no choice in how we use the earth’s resources.’

Accepting the award for Community Service Excellence from CRN’s Kelley Damore and Steve Burke is Dennis Jaeger (center), director of professional services at Sage Technology Group .