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Top 5 Solution Providers to Watch in 2010: BlueRange Technology

BlueRange to make a splash in 2010

Late in 2008, Jeff MacFarlane, president and CEO of the Xchange Technology Group of Oakville, Ont., made an announcement that its ITX Solutions division would now be called BlueRange Technology.

Since then, the company has moved into a new 62,000 sq.ft.-facility that will house not just BlueRange, but Xchange’s other businesses, such as Vernon Computer Source and its distribution arm, which handles secondary market products, mainly from IBM.

In the midst of all this change, BlueRange outlined a five-prong strategy for growth that will be primarily focused on three letters: VDI or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure through its partnership with VMware.

Jody Zedor, the vice-president, sales and business development, for BlueRange (formerly with HP Canada) said the company spent 2009 positioning itself as a virtualization specialist and in 2010 it wants to be the leader in implementing virtual desktop strategies for customers across Canada. “End users will look at virtual PCs and see they behave similar to PCs, while at the office, on the road or at home. We try to provide this win-win cost efficiency with improved management. And it’s a green solution,” Zedor said.

The other four areas of BlueRange’s 2010 strategy are:

1. Organic growth – expand our sales team of ISR’s AE’s & services sales reps;

2. Build-out a comprehensive services practice – professional and managed services;

3. U.S. expansion in selected major centres where Xchange Technology Group has a presence; and

4. Growth by acquisition.

While VDI is the anchor, BlueRange’s virtualization strategy will also encompass server and storage virtualization. Virtualization is all about cost savings said David Walsh, Xchange’s global vice-president of marketing, product management and technical services. Walsh sites IDC figures that show a total cost of ownership of 35 per cent over a four-year lifecycle. “The big piece of that is productivity at over 75 per cent plus operational cost savings of 29 per cent. These are big savings and the time to deploy 50 images is as fast as you can do one. There was also an 88 per cent reduction of worker downtime because of virtualization and I wouldn’t be surprised if customers get these kinds of savings with our solutions,” he said.

BlueRange anticipates a huge growth year in 2010 and with that they plan on hiring more sales professionals and inside system engineers to meet the demand.

“We are going to be investing in sales and technical resources because of the phenominal growth we had in the last 18 months,” Zedor said. Two key areas of growth from its VDI offerings have come from universities and municipalities.Through the 2010 year BlueRange will be building out its professional and managed services offering, which the company believes will add to its virtualization leadership as well as uncover new business opportunities.

“The pre-iteration of Blue­Range in the last 20 months was to get focused on the V in VAR and not the J in the Jar. There is no more room for just another reseller (the J in the jar),” Walsh said.

He added, the professional services piece is close and customers will be able to see that benefit in the last six months of the year.

As for U.S. expansion, MacFarlane outlined a clear plan for the BlueRange team along with organic and acquisition targets that will complement BlueRange’s service offerings or get them a foothold in a new city.

Another target is the public sector market especially in eduation and medical.

Another aspect of the Xchange business that BlueRange will be leveraging is its financing arm. BlueRange is connected to a leasing company and Zedor see this as a huge opportunity that is currently being underutilized.

But, for 2010 VDI is what BlueRange wants to be known for. The company has gained top status with Microsoft, VMware, Cisco and Wyse to be the VDI specialist. “VDI is the lead driver in this company. We have excelled in VDI. We have a laser focus when it comes to VDI and lets not forget that at our core we still do server and storage virtualiztion. This rounds out our go-to-market strategy,” Zedor said.