CEA: Long View wins Solution Provider of the Year

Long View Systems took home the top prize at the Computer Dealer News 2008 Channel Elite Awards — Solution Provider of the Year — for its work providing a complete IT infrastructure overhaul for a client that will support its ambitious plans for expansion and growth.

Based in Calgary, Long View is a nine-year-old IT solutions and services company that has grown to $150 million in revenue and 600 employees focused concentrated mainly in North America, focusing on infrastructure solutions and services. Long View was also No. 13 in CDN’s Top 100 solution providers for 2008.

“We’re very excited,” said Phil Edgell, Long View’s director of business development. “It’s always an honour to be recognized in front of your peers, and certainly being a Western regional player, knowing there are so many strong national VARs, it’s an honour to be recognized.”

Long View’s client in the case study that earned it the CEA recognition had a mandate to be the top company in North America in its vertical by 2010. To get there, said Edgell, it needed a flexible IT infrastructure to handle both organic growth and growth by acquisition. Also, the company has a North American presence, so the growth could come near head office or further afield. That’s where Long View came in.

“Their issues were that they had an outdated infrastructure. It couldn’t go down for maintenance because of time zone coverage, there was no good window for maintenance,” said Edgell. “They also didn’t have the ability to scale-up to handle demand.”

The client set four priorities: improve their competitive position, reduce costs by adopting virtualization technologies, protect their business with a business continuity strategy and implement a computing environment capable of growing with the business.

Edgell said Long View used VMware virtualization technology to give them a more flexible infrastructure with servers from HP and storage from NetApp, and a disaster recovery system that’s easy and cost effective. The work Long View did for this client is typical for the solution provider now, but Edgell said it wasn’t at the time.

“In terms of the technology and how we put it together, it was leading edge when we did it,” said Edgell. “Their implementation has become part of our corporate best practices.”

Looking back on its experiences, CDN’s Solution Provider of the Year has some advice for its peers.

“Look to solve business problems, listen closely to your clients’ needs, and make sure you’re testing against those needs in the solutions you’re providing,” said Edgell. “In doing it that way, you’re proving value to your clients.”

Other winners at the awards ceremony included:

* IT Matters was awarded gold in the Best Collaborative Solution category, for managing telephony, networking, accounting and hardware partners to replace Atlantic Directional Inc.’s aging IT infrastructure whil the company remained open for business. There were no silver or bronze winners.

* Metafore won gold in the Best Managed Solution category, for creating a virtual IT department for Cadbury spin-off Allan Candy Co. Ltd. Zycom Technology Inc. and Nitro Microsystems were awarded silver and bronze, respectively.

* Toronto-based consulting firm, Thoughtcorp, won gold for Best Enterprise Solution for helping a Canadian satellite and digital content provider more effectively fulfill its customers’ orders and better manage its mobile workforce by connecting it over the cellular network. Lanworks Inc. won silver in the category, and Digica Solutions bronze.

* IT services company IntelliNet won gold for Best Mid-Market Solution. IntelliNet worked with Ideal Computer Group, an independent software vendor (ISV), to help British Columbia-based Dick’s Lumber, now a division of Rona, upgrade and refresh its entire system infrastructure in less than a year. Silver in the category went to TeamSFA and bronze to Envision IT.

* Gold for Best Small Business Solution went to Unity Telecom for providing Westhill Community Services with an IP-based, multi-site unified communications solution. TeamSFA copped a second silver in this category, while ITnorth.ca Network & Consulting Service Ltd. won bronze.

* Jolera won gold for best service organization for its work with the Christian Children’s Fund of Canada. Itergy was the silver winner, while Insite Computer Group Inc. took bronze.

— With files from Maxine Cheung and Paolo Del Nibletto

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