Where Are They Now? Systems Engineering (May 2010)
By Jay McCall
When we first featured managed services provider Systems Engineering in the May 2010 issue of Business Solutions magazine, the company was already a successful $17 million MSP with 20 years of experience and 79 employees. Craig Tribuno, CFO and VP of systems engineering at Systems Engineering was projecting continued revenue growth for the foreseeable future. I caught up with Todd Molloy, director of sales and marketing at Systems Engineering recently to get an update on how the company has changed and grown since we last spoke.
How has your business fared since we last spoke with you?
Molloy: We hit our revenue targets for the past two years, and we're projecting to reach $24 million in revenue by the end of this year. We're also now just over 100 employees.
What's contributed the most to your success over the past couple of years?
Molloy: We're still doing a lot of the same things that we were doing previously that were working -- consulting with clients and helping them see all the ways IT touches their organizations and how outsourcing some of those tasks to us can save them money and free up their resources. One thing that has changed over the past couple of years is that our territory has expanded to include larger customers, not just SMBs. Also, the size of our organization is now opening up opportunities to partner with VARs, in some instances.
Is your company becoming a master MSP?
Molloy: We're not moving to a 100% master MSP model, but when we come across opportunities where a client already has a VAR they're happy with, or if a VAR approaches us for assistance with an install that's outside their expertise, or they don't have the resources to complete an implementation in the time frame the customer needs, that's where we can partner with each other.
What are some of the ways VARs can partner with you?
Molloy: We can help with IT implementations, leasing or rent-to-buy hardware programs, help desk services, or they can rent space in our NOC as part of their disaster recovery offering, and they can even partner with us to remotely manage their customers' IT assets.
What's the biggest challenge you're facing as you move into the master MSP realm?
Molloy: This arrangement works best when the VAR owns the customer relationship and we're providing services behind the scenes. If the VAR isn't pulling its weight, it forces us to step in and take care of the customer, which complicates things. We've learned that we need to make sure we're only entering into relationships with VARs that have a proven track record of good customer service and following through with their commitments. We use our peer group relationships, such as those with TAG (Technology Assurance Group), to identify and validate the kinds of VARs that are the best complement to our business.
Are there any other tips/tactics worth mentioning that are contributing to your success?
Molloy: My advice to VARs and MSPs looking to sell cloud solutions and services is to keep your focus on the customer experience. You have to have good engineering and project management in place to migrate your customers to the cloud. For example, you need to ensure adequate bandwidth is available and you need to test how an application is going to perform when it's accessed remotely before going live. The bottom line is that some applications are meant to be run locally only. And, if you don't get that right you can turn a customer off and keep them from migrating other applications and services to the cloud that should be moved to the cloud.