Excellence in Digital Services Award Winners Named

2019 Digital Excellence Awards Logo

Thirteen partner businesses took home honors Wednesday night at the inaugural Channel Partners Excellence in Digital Services Awards, bestowed upon companies that deliver stellar business outcomes for their customers.

It all happened during a special networking event at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.

Applicants were required to submit a case study to demonstrate the results their customers got from their efforts. Members of the Channel Partners editorial team and members of the Channel Partners Editorial Advisory Board reviewed the applications and selected winners in 12 categories.

The honors are only open to channel partners — agents, VARs, MSPs, dealers, SIs, consultants and the like. Suppliers, master agents and distributors aren’t eligible.

Click through our gallery below to learn about the winners. Then look for our pictures from the awards ceremony in the next week or two.

And thanks to our sponsors: Airtel Business, NTS Direct, Retarus and Unify.

Windstream chapter 11
Brand Builder — MBX Systems

The Brand Builder Award recognizes partners who used improved processes and insights as well as tech to improve their client’s end-customer experience — and thus increase brand loyalty and profit margins.

MBX Systems, a Libertyville, Illiinois-based system integrator, takes home the honor for its work with a video surveillance company. Working closely with the customer to hit the required price targets, MBX Systems engineered two tower-based and two rackmount platforms with varying storage and recording throughput specifications.

Rather than use a commercial off-the-shelf system, the MBX team selected a whitebox chassis and spec’d each component independently in order to achieve the best price/performance ratio for each platform configuration. The team also developed custom branding and a custom bezel with a locking mechanism for security.

The resulting solution, launched in June 2018 complete with pre-loaded software and license keys, opened a whole new market for the customer by providing a no-hassle turnkey installation as well as extensive customization options tailored to disparate surveillance needs.
Datapipe's Robb Allen
Cloud Builder Award — Clarify 360

The Cloud Builder Award recognizes excellence in helping customers "cloudify" their businesses. This includes cloud brokering/consulting or provisioning and managing on-premises, public cloud or colocated data center capacity.

Clarify360, the New Albany, Ohio-based digital enterprise consulting firm, is the winner here. The company worked with a health-care firm that provides coverage to eligible Medicare beneficiaries in Puerto Rico. Initially called upon to help with cloud enablement – including migration, operation and optimization of existing workloads to improve customer service for providers and members alike – this project went from a nine-month journey to one that lasted a year and a half thanks to Hurricane Maria.

This extensive project now included an effort to ensure high availability and disaster recovery. A key part of the effort was application rationalization, the practice of strategically identifying business applications across an organization to determine which  should be kept, replaced, retired or consolidated. The goal is to achieve improvements in business operations.
Shah, Pete_TBI
Code Controller — Big IT Inc.

The Code Controller Award recognizes partners who help customers with custom application development, design or deployment or use of APIs, mobile UX, building an agile or DevOps culture, or similar effort. Big IT Inc., the Valencia, California-based IT and software development firm, is the deserving honoree here.

The office of a labor union in southern California had outgrown a Microsoft Access-based system that wasn't meeting the needs of its staff or its membership. Big IT stepped in and took on a multipronged project to develop both a desktop-based application and a website that integrated in real time with membership data. The company also started a digital transformation for the union through the use of APIs for SMS and email services. This sped up the pace of communication between the union office and its members, and saved on postage costs.
Shah, Pete_TBI
Consultant of the Year — TnT Solutions

The Consultant of the Year Award recognizes excellence in developing, provisioning and managing personalized, specialized IT services that may not fit in other categories but transformed how a customer does business. This includes virtual CIO, CISO or CTO engagements.

TnT Solutions, a Mesa, Arizona-based consulting firm, takes home the hardware for helping a Phoenix museum implement a transformational interactive exhibit to provide a wholly unique form of art that the public can interact with through sound, touchscreens and storytelling. After implementing a cloud solution, additional storage became available to handle the audiovisual content to build the exhibit. The customer now has peace of mind that the exhibit is now interactive based on enhanced cybersecurity, including cloud-based applications that inhibit the opportunity for cyberattacks.
Master of Disaster — Net 7 Solutions

The Master of Disaster Award recognizes a partner who takes creative steps to protect customers from data loss and the resulting business disruption.

Net7 Solutions, the Millis, Massachusetts-based IT services provider, had a Fortune Global 100 company based in Rome, Italy, replace its existing network with SD-WAN, deploy MPLS and dedicated internet access (last mile redundant and carrier redundant fiber for both links) at each of its locations. Many of those locations are on top of a hill in the middle of Kansas where wind made finding redundant fiber providers difficult. Net7 worked through each location to find redundant internet delivered by line of site, microwave, T1 and so on.

In addition, Net7 focused its energy on SD-WAN solutions with WAN optimization allowing optimization for power plants well off the grid. The client now has hired Net7 for 16 hours per week of committed time, to manage the migration, test DR plans, escalate issues, report challenges and more.

Opening slide IMCS X
Next-Gen Telecom Award — Advanced Technology Consulting

The Next-Gen Telecom Award recognizes excellence in delivering telecommunications and collaboration capabilities, including client call center/user support.

Advanced Technology Consulting, which calls South Windsor, Connecticut, home, helped a manufacturing business left with a disparate set of telephony systems spread across more than 80 locations after a series of acquisitions. ATC began by spearheading a solution design and then reviewed seven different vendors on three different platforms.

A cloud-based solution turned out to be the best fit for the new system, featuring unified communications as a service. Masergy's UCaaS solution with Polycom phones fit the bill. The first phase of the implementation generated savings of nearly $2.5 million.
Women in Cloud
Purveyor of Productivity — Bridlewood Consulting

The Purveyor of Productivity Award recognizes excellence in helping customers wring maximum value out of their investments in people, systems and technology.

That's where Bridlewood Consulting of Bloomington, Indiana, came in for its client, a global Fortune 100 pharmaceutical company, which was spending more than $1 million per month on its global wide area network, mostly with one vendor. Its architecture primarily was MPLS with various point to points and/or dedicated internet access serving as the second and tertiary connectivity.

Bridlewood established a regional hub for the customer that would connect with regional sites. Forty different providers were considered. Once completed, Bridlewood whittled the options down to a few from which the client could choose. The initiative took more than two years of careful analysis and included proofs of concept, detailed working sessions and countless iterations to get the job done right.
IHS Markit SD-WAN 2019 Q$
Vanguard Award — One Ring Networks

The Vanguard Award recognizes a company that turned digital-transformation expertise inward to revitalize their own business.

One Ring Networks of Atlanta gets this honor. Founded in 2010, One Ring Networks has quickly grown from a regional alternative access carrier to a large Tier 2 carrier with a national backbone.

The case study the company submitted for these awards involved establishing fixed-wireless service in a hurry for a Houston-area business that had to relocate to a hotel due to the impending landfall of Hurricane Harvey.
IMCS x reception
Visionary Award — Upnetworx

The Visionary Award recognizes a partner that employs newer, cutting-edge technologies including machine learning, AI, virtual or augmented reality, blockchain or IoT as the primary enablers of their solutions.

Upnetworx of San Antonio, Texas, is an AT&T platinum elite solution provider. The company's client is a "robot" vending-machine-style provider of healthy foods in break rooms, college dorms, airports and more. Upnetworx collaborated with the company to design and deploy 4G LTE connections leveraging IoT to empower the robots. Diagnostic and machine learning instantly report back to engineers so they can make real-time updates that keep the robot healthy and serving salads to all "her" fans.

The robot is deployed in the U.S. and Europe, with units now serving thousand of meals per day.
IMCS x reception
White Hat Award — (tie) Powernet, Certified NETS

The White Hat Award recognizes partners who protect customers from cyberthreats. This also includes physical security, such as video-surveillance projects.

We've got a tie in this category, with both Cincinnati, Ohio-based Powernet and Certified NETS of St. Louis taking home a Digi.

Powernet's relationship with a medical-provider client in Florida began with an IT managed services offering. The client's IT personnel had failed to keep up with the increasing needs of a rapidly growing business. Having realized the limited skill of their IT employees, the company decided to integrate Powernet's full managed services solution to completely replace its IT team. Through this integration, the customer was able to dramatically reduce its IT expenses and get an upgrade in IT knowledge. Powernet's team was put to the test last year when Hurricane Michael threatened its client, but the staff came through with flying colors.

A manufacturing business came to Certified NETS when employees came in one morning to find their workstations weren't communicating with their servers. This partner determined that ransomware was the culprit. Fortunately, Certified NETS and this customer had already been working together for two months. When it took over the account, Certified NETS discovered its client was woefully unprepared for an incident such as this. As part of the on-boarding process, it installed various ad block and DNS protections. It also put a local storage server onsite and implemented hourly backups as well as nightly replication to the cloud. Certified NETS also supplied training to help employees determine if emails are legitimate. All of these steps kept this situation from becoming a true disaster.
Symantec shakeup
Vertical Virtuoso — Nexus Communications Technology

The Vertical Virtuoso recognizes a partner for excellence in retail, health care or another vertical.

Nexus Communications Technology of Schaumburg, Illinois, is our Vertical Virtuoso. The systems design and integration company worked with a long-term health-care client that initially called about installing a VoIP phone system. It transitioned into providing all of the technology systems for the entire facility in order to help provide a five-star experience for all of its residents.

Fiber, wireless failover, television with satellite service, Office 365, help desk — the list of products and services goes on and on.
IMCS x reception
Digi Master — SabinoCompTech

The Digi Master goes to a partner whose entry wowed our editors with its digital-transformation brilliance. Consider this to be like the Oscar for Best Picture.

Congratulations to SabinoCompTech of Katy, Texas! The IT services provider helped a law-firm client that was running outdated software, servers, computers — pretty much all of its technology was old. They had just experienced a data breach which cost them more than $20,000. They were also losing their competitive advantage and employees were growing frustrated.

SabinoCompTech did a survey of the company's network and recommended a complete overhaul. That meant replacing networking equipment, servers, almost all workstations, scanners and printers. Sabino also replaced management software, office applications, email and direct messaging — and finally redesign the company's systems and processes. In other words — everything. Did we mention security? Yes, that too.

The entire implementation happened over the course of ... one weekend. SabinoCompTech wanted employees to get back to work on Monday without skipping a beat. Ten months later, the client's profit is up 33 percent, $20,000 has been saved in overtime costs, and more than $30,000 in lost payroll due to inefficient processes and data transfers has gone by the wayside.

Most importantly, the customer said morale and employee satisfaction are way up.

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