Top 5 Solution Providers to Watch in 2010: Forsythe Solutions

Forsythe Solutions Group Inc. has been under the radar in Canada for the past two years. The large consultant and technology reselling power from Skokie, Ill., entered the market without any fanfare after delivering 38 profitable years in its domestic market.

But that’s all about to change. Similar to the way Dimension Data established a Canadian presence back in 2006, Forsythe too had international and U.S. customers with Canadian offices that needed IT support. Canadian company president Siobhan Byron told CDN that the best way to meet customer demands in another country is to put down roots ,rather than running the business from the U.S.

Initially, Forsythe started with two people in Canada, but now has a nationwide presence in all major parts of the country (Toronto, Calgary, Winnipeg, Vancouver, and a virtual office in Edmonton) thanks in large part to the acquisition of security provider Information Security Technology, Inc. (IST), of Minnesota. IST was already established in Canada. Besides expanding its Canadian footprint, this acquisition also helped Forsythe solidify its security practice, Byron said.

“We had many reasons for entering the Canadian market, and certainly customer demand was one of them. Canada presents a strong market opportunity for Forsythe because we’re unique and independent. We build the best solution regardless of the vendor,” Byron said. While they do not have any favourite vendors, Forsythe does have key vendor partners such as EMC and RSA (Forsythe was named partner of the year for both) along with CheckPoint and Juniper Networks.

Another area Byron believes makes Forsythe unique is in managed services. The Canadian subsidiary doesn’t just offer managed services it has become the hub for the entire organization.

Byron also serves as Forsythe’s managed services chief. The strategy behind Forsythe’s managed services play is to attach managed services to the end-to-end solutions they sell not just here, but also in the U.S. The Forsythe offer is intended to be equal or better to what the customer has internally, while maintaining control over security polices.

“Customers are looking to focus on their core business and by taking a certain piece of that and make sure it’s up and running and running properly is where Forsythe can help.

Customers see a cost benefit and it helps them focus on their core business,” Byron said.

Operations wise, Forsythe managed services reduces costs and lowers the risk for customers all in a 24/7 environment, she added.

Managed services is what makes Forsythe different, but it’s not the only thing they do. Security, storage, server consolidation along with a consulting practice are also part of the mix.

What also makes Forsythe different is that it’s completely owned by its employees. Company founder Rick Forsythe offered the company to his employees back in 2006. The ownership is basically an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). ESOP is a retirement plan that is made available to every worker. Employees are not required to pay into this ESOP plan.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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