More than 12 years ago Jeff McFarlane, president and CEO of the Xchange Technology Group founded a business based on off-lease assets for the secondary market. He turned what he called a “leap of faith” into an 15 location, seven country, 200 plus employee business based now in Oakville, Ont.
McFarlane has just moved into a 62,000 sq.ft.-facility that will house the ITXchange distribution business, the Vernon Computer Source rental business and the newly minted Blue Range Technology solution provider business.
Blue Range is the new name of the three-year unit of the company that was once called ITX Solutions.
Similar to its main distribution business, Blue Range will focus on solving customer IT problems with IBM and Lenovo products predominantly.
The company has also partnered with Microsoft, Brocade, VMware, NetApp and Oracle. They are also testing a unified communications solution based on Cisco Systems equipment.
“What’s important is that we do not come to market as another me-to reseller and forge strategic alliances with Lenovo and IBM and then round off those offerings with other vendors,” McFarlane said.
What will make Blue Range unique from other solution providers in Canada is that this company will be able to leverage the infrastructure built up in the other two sister companies.
“We can do this in a controlled fashion with no channel conflict to target the white space accounts or Dell/competitive accounts. By growing the relationship with IBM we were able to crack into those accounts,” McFarlane said.
The Blue Range name was created to bring about greater separation with the company’s ITXchange business and have a stronger affiliation with IBM. “We wanted to make it clear that there is common ownership, but that it’s still a standalone entity,” McFarlane added.
The overall business model for the Xchange Technology Group is based on the synergy concept. “You can plunk in any solution provider where Blue Range is and take our end of life products or demo equipment.
We can bring those to bear for solution providers in Canada,” he added.
John Medaska, the vice-president of sales for Xchange will be tasked to run the Blue Range operation in Canada and the U.S. as its GM, while former Ingram Micro Canada VP Dave Walsh, who is the global vice-president of marketing, product management and technical services for the organization.
“The overall theme of our company is the expertise we have with the lifecycle management concept and the people we have across the channel. We embody it. We shall see success especially in this economy. Our solutions save customers’ money such as virtualization, storage consolidation and the virtual desktop,” Medaska said.
Medaska added that Blue Range has partnered with other distributors such as Ingram Micro Canada, Tech Data Canada, and Arrow and will focus on mid-market businesses. The company is also developing other cost saving solutions such as blade virtualization.
“The reality is that customers are playing defense (in this poor economy) and some of the lifecycle management solutions we have will cross over well as they ride off this storm. Those bullish customers who like to spend to save will look at blades or storage consolidation and we will work with them. In a twisted way there is a silver lining,” McFarlane said.
Walsh said that Blue Range has grown up with lifecycle management and that this will be the key message it will bring to customers in the Canadian market place and the world.