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Win-Win: Meet the 2018 CP 360° Winners on the MSP 501 List

Win-win

The inaugural MSP 501 Awards Dinner will be held Wednesday, Oct.10, at Channel Partners Evolution in Philadelphia. For a few honorees, the event could be a bit of déjà vu — this past April, they were among the Channel Partners 360° award winners spotlighted during ceremonies at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.

Scroll through the gallery below to learn about CP 360, MSP 501 and the eight companies that managed to double down on standing out in the channel in 2018.

Datapipe's Robb Allen

Channel Partners 360° Business Value Awards

Awarded each spring in conjunction with the Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, the CP 360s recognize partners — agents, VARS, dealers, systems integrators, MSPs, solution providers and consultants — that have a well-rounded portfolio and a proven track record of providing holistic technology solutions. Winners are selected from among applications in which companies provide a case study that demonstrates their solutions and how they are creating value for their customers. Applications for the spring 2019 awards are being accepted now through March 1, 2019. Download an application now.

MSP 501 2018 Edition

Channel Futures MSP 501

Now in its 11th year, the MSP 501 is the channel's largest and most comprehensive ranking of leading managed service provider organizations worldwide. Each year, MSPs apply to be on the list by completing an application in which they must demonstrate forward-thinking business strategies and the ability to anticipate and act upon trends in the rapidly evolving IT channel market. MSPs are ranked using Channel Futures' own unique methodology, which recognizes that all revenue streams are not created equal.

Bryley Systems logo

Bryley Systems

Number 334 on the MSP 501 listing, Bryley Systems provides managed IT, cloud and security services. Based in Clinton, Massachusetts, the company serves clients in central New England and across the U.S. Bryley won a CP 360 award for its network infrastructure project that seamlessly and securely connected Leaktite Corp.'s Massachusetts-based headquarters with its Arizona-based manufacturing facility.

According to Gavin Livingstone, president of Bryley Systems, the company became involved early on with nascent managed services which, over the past 20 years, have come to represent the majority of the company's business.

"Bryley Systems Inc. was incorporated in 1987, but started offering managed IT services in 1997," Livingstone said. "We had a product called ProActive Network, which was monitored via a technician with a medical condition that basically left him awake in the evenings. He would dial-in to our client servers (modem-to-modem) and monitor backups and server performance. We would then fax these weekly reports to our clients.

"One of our better sales years was 2000, when we sold over $1 million worth of IBM ThinkPad. But the writing was on the wall, and our hardware/software sales were declining, while our managed IT services sales were growing slowly, but steadily.

We added to our managed IT service offerings through the 2000s and started hosting client servers at our data center in the early 2000s. We adopted Kaseya in 2005 and then ConnectWise in 2007; our BU/DR practice began in 2008, followed by managed security offerings in 2010 (when Massachusetts implemented 201 CMR 17.00 to protect the personal information of Massachusetts citizens).

"As our managed services grew, we retained our hardware/software sales, but only when sold within the scope of a project, and almost exclusively to managed services clients. Today, managed IT services, managed cloud services and managed security services represent 65 percent of our sales; professional services represent 20 percent; and hardware and software represent 15 percent.

"Managed cloud is our fastest-growing practice, followed by managed IT and then managed security. Professional services tend to fluctuate in the low to mid-20 percent range, but hardware/software sales continue to shrink as a percentage of overall sales.

"Most of our managed services offerings are homegrown; we tend to have a do-it-ourselves mentality, but we do partner with other vendors for some services."

eGroup logo

eGroup

Founded in 1999, eGroup provides data center architecture, cloud services and application services as well as managed services. Coming in at number 85 on the MS 501, eGroup was a CP 360 award winner for the solution it developed to help a health services organization with an international user base to fully manage their IT environment in the cloud.

"We deliver results from a business's investment in technology," the company said. "Our team members enable businesses by focusing on what makes them successful. We align their technology initiatives with our solutions, services and support to make them to be more productive, efficient and competitive; that allows them to on their customers and business goals."

Eze Castle Integration logo

Eze Castle Integration

A leading provider of managed services and technology solutions, Eze Castle Integration serves more than 650 alternative asset management firms around the globe. Number 19 among the MSP 501, Eze Castle received a CP 360 award for the private cloud solution it created for an independent private investment firm managing more than $1 billion in assets.

"Eze Castle Integration's business has evolved in step with technology industry advancements," said Mary Beth Hamilton, vice president of marketing for the company. "In 2005, clients were operating purely on-premises infrastructures, which Eze Castle managed, and the importance of disaster recovery was gaining momentum for businesses of all sizes. In fact, 2005 was the year Eze Castle launched its 'internet-based disaster recovery service' targeted at investment firms and built its first hosted cloud platform for a large client.

"By 2009, Eze Castle began providing its own fully-managed private cloud platform for investment firms. This cloud platform transformed Eze Castle’s business from outsourced IT provider to a managed service provider. Over the following decade, cloud has emerged as the preferred infrastructure delivery method for our clients.

"Today, Eze Castle provides private, public, and hybrid cloud services that are all encased in award-winning 24x7x365 support provided by a global help desk.

"Multiple factors contributed to our transition to delivering a wider array of managed services. These factors included technology advancements (virtualization to remote monitoring/management tools), a desire to deepen client engagements by offering more services, and the broad acceptance of virtually “everything” as a service. We expect our managed services business to grow, especially as we bring our services to new industry segments — historically our business was focused exclusively on the financial sector."

INFINIT Consulting logo

INFINIT Consulting

Showing up at 228 on the MSP 501 list, INFINIT Consulting helps companies optimize digital assets to align with business priorities and goals. The company was a CP 360 winner for the work it did to provide a retail cosmetics giant with a secure, next-generation network infrastructure to serve both corporate and retail store locations.

"We're not just an MSP," said CEO Darrin Swan. "INFINIT is a next-level Digital Transformation Provider (DXP). We effectively transition tactical traditional IT (spend) into a strategic business enabler (investment). This shift must happen from both a client and supplier perspective. One can't advocate digital transformation unless you're transforming yourself!"

Jerod Powell, founder and president of INFINIT, agreed that managed services are just one element of what makes up the company. "I believe our role in the industry is to guide our customers through digital transformation in a way that helps add value to their business and puts them ahead of their competitors," he said. "It is our responsibility to help with everything from ideation of new industry-leading methodologies to streamlining both the customer and internal employee experience.  I believe there hasn't been a time in the history of technology it has been more important to have a partner that is a trusted adviser to help guide customers through the mass changes in technology.

"I also believe as a digital transformation provider it is our responsibility to help our customers source partners from the channel in areas where we aren't necessarily experts. This could range from everything to ERP to SD-WAN, etc.

"That said, we need to help guide those things to ensure the clients goals are met."

MotherG logo

MotherG

MotherG, in the number 223 slot on the MSP 501 list, is an IT managed services provider serving small and midsize businesses across metro Chicago. Their CP 360 award was for a dashboard modeling tool they created to provide a machining company with greater visibility to the production process and improve performance metrics.

Dave Davenport, CEO of MotherG, admits that although the intent was to start MotherG as a pure-play MSP in 2005, "we really didn't know what 'managed services' meant." However, the company has "evolved greatly" since then, he said.

"We were always committed to managed services because we see the power of eliminating the event plagued nature of the project-based, T&M models of so many resellers," said Davenport. "Clients do not want to be experts in technology; they just want perfectly functioning technology that does what the business needs. It is the technology partner’s role to translate those business needs into technical capabilities. If we bog this process down by requiring the client to sign off on a litany of projects over time, we will inevitably fail in achieving our mutual goals. 

"Managed services allows us to tailor a suite of services and tools to deliver an outcome.  This is how we differentiate with our competitors and provide the value to our clients."

Davenport is bullish on the future of managed services as well. "The vast options for technology solutions and the lack of integration and underlying strategy is overwhelming. Clients need our expertise more today than ever before. But their need is evolving from an engineer who can keep their server in the closet running at all times, to integrating their hosted ERP system with their local shop floor IoT solutions with their business analytics engine with their client CRM solution, also hosted. 

"The evolution of our client’s technology requires evolution of our service offering.  All said, the clients are more interested in having a partner with deep expertise across platforms to develop and drive the technology strategy that supports the business than having one person on staff who thinks he has a handle on everything. 

"This is the perfect breeding ground for managed services."

PICS ITech logo

PICS ITech

A managed IT service provider, PICS ITech gives companies of all sizes access to world-class IT services and tools previously available only to larger companies. Number 189 on the MSP 501 list, the company received a CP 360 award for taking its client, an HVAC company, from a manual record-keeping system to a custom-developed line of business application and CRM software for corporatewide use.

According to Terry Rossi, co-founder and CIO of PICS ITech, the managed services company got its start as the result of some serendipitous circumstances.

"In 2007 we [sister companies Professional Implementation Consulting Services (PICS) and DocLib] were looking to get some software to get our enterprise consulting and software development hourly billing under control," Rossi said. "We stumbled upon ConnectWise and the whole managed services industry.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

"We were hooked. We started up PICS ITech as a full-service MSP serving an entirely new market with an entirely new team — full speed ahead, no looking back.

Ten years later, PICS ITech represents over 60 percent of our revenue, half of our staff and much of our profit. Working with our clients and really helping them make the most of their technology investment is an excellent source of fulfillment within our team."

Stratosphere Networks logo

Stratosphere Networks

Ranking number 111 on the MSP 501 list, Stratosphere Networks is an IT managed service provider focused on delivering comprehensive technology services and solutions. The company received its CP 360 award in conjunction with Converged Communication Systems, for their solution to provide a commercial real estate management company with a security-compliant system that featured enhanced performance.

Since its founding in 2003, Stratosphere Networks has "changed a ton," in the words of CEO Steve Melchiorre. "We have evolved from a telephony provider to a comprehensive managed IT and cyber service provider," he said. "We made the transition as we were looking to become more than just a trusted adviser on telephony.

"We continue to grow and expect to keep growing. As of late, our emphasis has been on cybersecurity and deeper IT strategy and consulting services."

Think Network Technologies logo

Think Network Technologies

Based in Durango, Colorado, Think Network Technologies, number 397 on the MSP 501 list, provides managed IT, premises-based and cloud solutions, integrated communications and IT consulting. They were a CP 360 winner for the hosted VoIP solution they implemented for a retail client needing scalability, reliability and call-management features.

Since 2003, the local, family-owned business has become the outsourced IT department and trusted adviser for over 100 businesses. With offices throughout the Southwest, Think is strategically positioned to serve the Four Corners region.


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