Presidio CEO: 8 Big Bets On AWS, Cisco, Apple And M&A In 2022

Presidio CEO Bob Cagnazzi tells CRN where his $3.1 billion solution provider powerhouse is placing its biggest IT bets in 2022—from AWS and Cisco to new security and cloud services offerings.

Cagnazzi’s Big IT Bets To Drive Growth In 2022

Solution provider powerhouse Presidio is placing some huge IT bets next year around vendors including Amazon Web Services, Cisco and Apple, along with some potential acquisitions and new offerings to boost its red-hot cloud and security businesses.

Thanks to the foresight of longtime CEO Bob Cagnazzi, the $3.1 billion New York-based channel star is growing services sales and digital transformation projects at a blistering pace as the global COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated many customers’ IT transformation plans.

“Security services and solutions is a $700 [million] to $800 million business for us. Our cloud business, which includes our cloud professional managed services and partnerships with folks like AWS, that business is probably a $500 [million] to $600 million business and growing at 30 percent to 40 percent a year for us,” said Cagnazzi, whose company ranks No. 22 on CRN’s 2021 Solution Provider 500 list. “Then there’s the classic legacy infrastructure, which is really now software-defined, it’s automated and it’s orchestrated. It’s taking a look at that massive technology debt or legacy technology and being a true business partner to clients in helping them—through their digital and business transformation initiatives—transform that infrastructure and that platform across the physical layer and really up through the application layer.”

In an interview with CRN, Cagnazzi details some of Presidio’s biggest vendor, technology and sales growth bets looking ahead into 2022. Forward-looking solution providers, take note.

Drive More AWS Services And Joint Solutions

Presidio is a Premier consulting partner within the Amazon Partner Network as it continues to add to its more than 600 AWS certifications across DevOps, solution architect, security, big data and SysOps.

“With AWS, their rapid pace of innovation means there’s always something to be excited about,” said Cagnazzi. “They’ve been fantastic to partner with. We’ve made a number of joint investments across the business to grow and accelerate it, and our clients are finding a lot of value in how we are approaching—not just helping them migrate, manage and operate the AWS environment—but also how we’re helping them understand how to secure it and how to create the most economical model in terms of how they’re consuming the product as well. It’s been a great relationship.”

The company also builds joint solutions with AWS such as Presidio’s cloud-based xProtect managed service offering that provides end-to-end disaster recovery in AWS. Last month, Presidio achieved its official Amazon Web Services Networking Competency status for AWS consulting partners.

Acquisitions In 2022 Around Cloud, Security And Geographical Expansion

Presidio has a long history of growth through acquisition.

“About half of our growth through the years has been organic, and half has been via acquisition,” Cagnazzi said. Looking ahead into 2022, Presidio will likely make some acquisitions both domestically and internationally.

“From a services standpoint, we continue to do the acquisitions we’ve made like with Red Sky Solutions around the security business and Coda Global around the cloud business. We will continue to look for cloud and security businesses that we believe can add value to our portfolio and have scalable services and solutions that we can take out across our best sales organization and leverage,” said Cagnazzi.

Presidio is also looking at “really good boutique providers in our space.”

“So they may be heavy on the infrastructure or the data center side with some good mix of services, with a well-run business with a good management team, and it’ll be in a geography that we want to enhance or get a little bit deeper in,” said Cagnazzi. “What we’ve seen is those businesses then get access to our portfolio of services and our people to work with. And we’ve seen those businesses grow typically 20 percent to 30 percent in the very first year after acquisition because of the new services and the new offerings that they have.”

Apple Becoming ‘A Bigger Partner’ In The U.S.

One critical acquisition Presidio did this year was its purchase of Ireland-based Arkphire, which serves international customers across more than 90 countries as well as being a large Apple partner.

“Apple is becoming a bigger partner for us here in the U.S. They were a very big partner for Arkphire. When we look at providing an as-a-service solution to the client, we’ve never really done endpoints here at Presidio. So we’ve never been able to help our client really from end to end—from the user experience right at their endpoint, straight through to the legacy data center or the hybrid cloud data center, and the applications that are that are running over that. Now we can do that. So that’s exciting for us.”

Presidio is now an authorized Apple reseller with offerings around cost-effective solutions to help IT procure, deploy and support Apple devices.

Achieve More IT Certifications To Get More Seats ‘At The Table’

One key market differentiator Presidio hopes to continue to drive in 2022 is the amount of IT certifications the company’s employees have. Presidio is achieving more technology certifications than ever before not just for its engineers, but salespeople as well.

“The amount of certifications that this team, both from a sales and technical standpoint, has achieved in the last 18 months has probably been 10 times of what we’ve seen in the 18 months before that,” said Cagnazzi. “We’ve really invested in skilling up around cloud, security, automation, DevOps, and just a host of other certifications that have helped transform this business. It has really changed the way that we go to market.”

The entire Presidio team— from engineers and solution architects to sales and back-office teams— has been rapidly transforming the business to make Presidio one of the premier digital services solution providers in the world.

“The sales folks are going to market more now speaking about these transformational opportunities and strategies for the clients. We have always been, and continue to be, a very good project-oriented business. Folks come to us with their most complex projects. But we’ve transformed that to now we’ve got this trusted adviser relationship where we are viewed now as a service provider with our clients,” said Cagnazzi. “We’re still doing those complex projects for them. But now we’ve got more cases than not where our team has a seat at the table, helping our clients design and strategize what that digital transformation is going to look like for them. So that’s what I’m really excited about for 2022.”

Cisco’s Cloud, Security And Software

Cagnazzi said the worldwide market-share leader in networking is going a great job transforming itself, led by CEO Chuck Robbins.

“Certainly, the acquisitions they’ve made have helped transform them from a legacy networking hardware provider. They started down that path a long time ago, but the acceleration over the last few years has moved them squarely to where they are a software company. They’re providing really great solutions around cloud, around security, around automation. So they’re helping to really move the business to where they are a digital infrastructure and software provider,” said Cagnazzi. “We continue to see the benefits as a big Cisco provider. We continue to grow with them. And they continue to be an important part of our mix.”

Cagnazzi said Presidio’s “percentage of our overall revenue that is Cisco has actually gone down, even though we’ve been growing faster than Cisco themselves. We continue to take market share, but we’ve been growing a lot of complementary services and complementary offerings to Cisco that not only helps us diversify our portfolio, but also helps drive Cisco business too. So it’s a win-win-win in the way that the team has been going to market.”

New Security Services Offerings

Presidio is betting big on driving net-new security offerings and security services with demand skyrocketing over the past few years as ransomware attacks make national headlines.

Cagnazzi pointed to Presidio’s newly launched Managed Detection and Response (MDR) offering that significantly speeds up its approach to threat mitigation efficiency, which allows the company to detect a threat and automatically initiate protective action within seconds.

“So security, you saw all the investments in our MDR platform. We’re continuing to invest in security across the stack, and then continuing to invest in the cloud business and our services and managed services around that as well. And we’re still seeing tremendous benefits from that,” said Cagnazzi. “Obviously, security is going to be evergreen. Clients have been, especially through the pandemic, rethinking how they want to operate and manage that environment.”

Will Increase Employee Head Count In 2022

Presidio will invest in hiring new employees next year to increase its total head count compared with 2021.

“Yes, Presidio’s head count is definitely going to increase and continues to increase. Our internal staffing organization, it has to work in feverishly just to supply the growth that we have,” said Cagnazzi. “The market has improved for technical and sales skills in our industry. I think overall, Presidio has been a beneficiary of that in terms of being able to bring on some really high-quality folks to add to the already great teams that we’ve got.”

Presidio will continue to be a “great place to work” in 2022 and beyond, said its CEO.

“People like to work with really bright people in the technology field, and I think we’ve got probably the best technical organization in the industry,” said Cagnazzi. “We’ve always been known for engineering and our technology and architecture through the years. So good technologists are attracted by good technologists, and I think we get the benefit of that. Certainly there are areas that are in a lot of demand right now. We’re very competitive in terms of not only the compensation packages, but the advancement opportunities, the training opportunities and learning opportunities. They can get to work on really cool projects with really smart people.”

Customers Don’t Want To ‘Be In The Management Business’

Cagnazzi said customers no longer want to manage their own IT environment due to a variety of reasons.

“Clients don’t want to necessarily be in the management business, whether it’s security management or management of the applications in the infrastructure. They’re also having a hard time finding staff. So they can leverage our resources through our managing operational services and we also have clients consuming a service where we are putting staff on-site or taking over some of their staff and combining it with our toolsets and operations centers to manage and optimize their infrastructure,” said Cagnazzi.

In 2022, continued investments in Presidio’s digital business solutions services group will grow “tremendously.”

“So we’ve been adding staff both here in the U.S. and in India at a very good clip. We see continued growth and opportunity in our managed services offering,” said Cagnazzi.

Particularly, Presidio will invest in growing its cloud services business.

“Cloud services are the fastest-growing service segment we have, both professional and managed. The team has done some remarkable work [around] some really innovative projects we’ve done for clients because these are truly transformational in how they do business and how they engage with their clients,” said Cagnazzi. “We’re looking forward to a great 2022.”