There are hundreds and maybe even thousands of independent IT system integrators and value-added resellers across Canada, and it can be hard to choose which one would serve your business best.
Hoping to alleviate the overwhelming confusion many organizations face when searching for IT solutions and providers is MicroAge Canada, one of the country’s leading IT solution providers. The company has been operating in Canada for nearly 40 years and has built up a national network of local solution providers. This network has allowed the company to expand its products and capabilities portfolio and specialize in delivering multi-vendor IT services, including installation and configuration, maintenance, help desk, and remote monitoring.
“We’ve been around for a very long time and we have an amazing network of experienced partners coast to coast,” Phil Palmieri, president of MicroAge Canada, tells CDN. “We have 32 locations with over 300 certified technicians, so we can offer end-to-end IT services in just about every region in Canada.”
After a change of management in 2014, the Montreal-based company had to rely on its St. Catharine’s office to service Toronto-area business. But fast forward four years, MicroAge has realized it desperately needs a specific Toronto location to manage all of its incoming business in the area, and will be opening one in Mississauga in July. The “typical managed service provider” location, as Palmieri describes it, will essentially be an extension of the St. Catharine’s office and offers service delivery and products for Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area.
“We have accounts in and around Toronto that have been serviced through our St. Catharine’s location, but we desperately needed a footprint in Toronto after being out of the city for a few years. You can’t call yourself a national provider without having a place in Toronto, right?” he laughs. “It’s long overdue, to say the least. And I think there’s room for a couple more locations in Toronto, too. I mean, the territory and concentration of businesses there is huge.”
MicroAge is continuously looking to expand its footprint into other regions of Canada as well, with its newly redesigned website dedicated to that purpose. Palmieri says that the company’s coverage of Ontario and Quebec is good – especially with the new Toronto location – but is actively looking to add to its network, especially in the Maritimes, Prairies, and British Columbia.
Evolving with the times
As digital transformation takes over the business world, it’s had an impact on solution providers like MicroAge as well. The company, which ranked no. 19 on this year’s CDN Top 100 Solution Providers list after completing more than $100 million worth of business in Canada in 2017, sells Cisco, Microsoft, VMware, HP, and Lenovo products, among others.
It has seen the industry shift to a subscription-based consumption model for products and services, and is in the process of updating its portfolio and educating partners to reflect this change in attitude.
“We realized the digital evolution was going to have a big impact on our industry a few years ago, so we started working on upgrading our service portfolio to offer more recurring revenue options like managed services, remote services, etc. And with rising cloud adoption, we’ve seen the consumption of products transition to a more proactive, recurring revenue model as well,” he explains. “It’s changed the chemistry of our business and our partners’ business. Transactions change, cashflow changes, sales processes change, everything changes. We’re working on staying up to date and educating our partner providers.”
The average MicroAge solution provider partner’s business is now made up of approximately 60 per cent products and 40 per cent services; however, up to 70 per cent of their bottom line can come from services, according to Palmieri. He continues by pointing out that while MicroAge’s biggest revenue contributors are still products, its biggest profit driver is now services.
As a result, the company has encouraged its partners to add more managed and cloud services to their portfolios, as well as new emerging devices that incorporate the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence.
To maintain its success in the face of industry evolution, MicroAge has several employees that travel across the country to keep tabs on and provide field support to solution providers that are part of its network.
“We touch base regularly, and we visit periodically. We want to earn our royalties, of course, but we also want to make sure we hold our partners accountable to whatever they commit to and help them achieve it. We’re a team and it’s a great atmosphere to be a part of,” Palmieri concludes.