Up-and-coming VARs ranked in The Sunday Times 2010 Tech Track 100 have pinpointed higher investment during the recession as the recipe for their fast growth.
Several channel players established since the turn of the century made it into the league table, which ranks privately held tech firms by sales growth over their three most recent annual accounts.
Founded in 2004, London-based Orange Information Systems (IS) placed 60th after growing turnover from £4.8m to £15.5m over the past three years.
Group sales director Jody Pawson said the HP, NetApp and Microsoft partner had made a conscious decision to ramp up investment two-and-a-half years ago, just as market conditions began to deteriorate.
The firm launched a consultancy arm last September which generated £700,000 in revenue in its first six months. Pawson predicted Orange IS would hit revenue of £22m to £23m in its current financial year on the back of two years of heavy investment in sales, marketing and technical staff.
“Sales cycles and sign-off periods got much longer so we had to be more aggressive in targeting new business,” he said. “We decided to get in more sales people and pushed our marketing and technical teams and then went out in the market to gain market share.
“A lot of firms have historically hit £20m and then hovered around that mark. We are aiming to smash through it and go from there. Long term, we are looking to go international.”
Other emerging channel outfits to feature include IT services provider ControlCircle, which grew sales from £2.6m to £9.1m and IBM, Cisco and Microsoft partner Celerity, which hit sales of £25.1m last year, compared with £6.3m three years earlier.
Several VARs made the cut courtesy of recent acquisitions, including mid-market giant Kelway and 365 iTechnology, which bought four firms between 2007 and 2009.
IBM and Cisco partner 365 iTechnology also claims to be enjoying organic gr owth and recently recruited eight staff members to form its new northern sales division.
David Smith, who heads up the division, said the VAR had snatched business from larger corporate resellers who had been forced to restructure. “We have targeted larger SMEs that have previously been looked after by larger corporates, but have been left wanting on support after [their suppliers] have downsized,” he said. “We are still acquisitive and it is part of our growth strategy alongside organic growth.”
Cloud computing emerged as Tech Track’s dominant theme this year. Some 16 firms cited this as their primary activity, with a further five VARs offering it alongside their main products and services.
Tim Wallis, chief executive of Microsoft BPOS partner Content and Code – which placed 20th after growing sales from £1m to £6.4m – said: “The strong growth that led to our inclusion in the Tech Track 100 this year shows that cloud and managed services are the way forward, that our strategic direction is sound.”
Scott Dodds, general manager, business strategy and marketing at Microsoft, added: “A new trend this year is that more than a fifth of… Tech Track 100 companies are bringing the flexibility and cost savings of cloud computing to businesses.”
Several vendors also made the cut, including anti-virus vendor Kaspersky Lab at number 18 and email security outfit Mimecast at two.
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