Big U.S. solution provider expanding to Canada

While many Canadian solution providers have heard of Forsythe Solutions Group, Inc., based in the Chicago suburb of Skokie, Ill., not too many have realized that the large consultant and technology reselling powerhouse has actually been operating in Canada for quite some time now.

I have to give Forsythe props for flying under the radar in Canada for so long. Just a few weeks ago I met with two Forsythe executives at the Focus 09 Conference in Las Vegas and asked them about Canadian plans. Both of them said they didn’t think Forsythe operated in Canada.

Forsythe is a privately-held, 100-per cent employee-owned company. The company started in 1971 by Rick Forsythe and Jim McArthur and have reported 38 consecutive profitable years. Forsythe in 2008 reported records revenues of $700 million, a 10-per cent increase over the previous year.

Forsythe and McArthur started the company by brokering used IBM mainframes from Comdisco, remember them?

From what I know of Forsythe, they are similar to Dimension Data, a very strong solutions based organization that has deep consulting expertise. They have a great reputation in the market place from solving complex business problems through technology.

They have more than 50 offices worldwide and they recently acquired Paragon Solutions Group. They have been operating in Canada since mid 2007 when they bought security provider IST. Before that Forsythe, similar to Dimension Data, had plenty of Canadian customers through its U.S. operation. Expansion must have been a natural progression for the company. They are headquartered in Mississauga, Ont., where the company houses its managed and support services for all of North America. There other offices are in Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

What may make Forsythe special in this market is that they are run by three women. Siobhan Byron is the president, Kay Karolidis is the district sales manager for Toronto and Eastern Canada, while Dragana Vranic is the director of managed services. 

Byron, who used to work at MTS Allstream, also serves as vice president of Forsythe managed services.

Why are they here? Well when a company has customers in a country where they have no presence it is always a good idea to establish one, if they like to keep those customers for the long term. I think they may have looked at the Dimension Data blueprint and figured out if they could do it seamlessly; then why can’t we?

When you look at Forsythe’s vendor partner list you see a who’s who of the technology industry. Right in the centre of that list is Cisco Systems and given the fact that Comstor, Ingram and Tech Data now have dedicated Cisco practices has made it easier for solution providers to start ramping up with networking giant. Plus Cisco still wants to expand its base of partners in Canada.
One quick hit before I go. BlueStar, a solutions-based distribution for Auto ID, Point-of-Sale, RFID, Security, and Mobility products, announced the appointment of Carmen Diaz to the position of Inside Media Specialist. I wonder if she ever gets confused with Cameron Diaz?

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