While many companies struggled this year, Toronto’s Tenet Computer Group soared on CDN’s Top 100 Solution Providers list by being stable.
The 60-person networking specialist’s revenues are projected to stay roughly where they were last year — about $35 million — but that allowed it to leap from
46th place last year to 32nd place this year.
The secret, says Carlos Paz-Soldan, a co-founder of the firm and vice-president of technology, is loyal customers and dedicated employees.
Half of the staff have been with Tenet for at least 10 years, he said, as have many of its clients.
It has also stayed focused on being a Toronto-region player, with no plans to expand elsewhere.
But one of the big changes the company made this year was the addition of a portal it calls eFusion, which connects its back end to customers.
As a result of using such a tool — an increasingly vital addition for solution providers — customers can keep tabs on a range of services from the status of orders to the schedules of Tenet staff. Those who have service contracts can even open a ticket which automatically appears at Tenet’s end, eliminating the need for a phone call.
Tenet was formed 19 years ago by three friends who have over the years divied up the work between them: Tony Horak, with a background in services, is executive vice-president; Steve Rutledge, who has financial expertise, is vice-president of business development, and Paz-Soldan, whose background includes doing systems analysis on mainframes, is the technical man.
“”It keeps it nice and balanced — we don’t step on each others’ toes,”” says Paz-Soldan.
The company started focusing on networking products from Novell and 3Com and has remained a Novell specialist since.
It’s been an advantage, he said, because as other VARs have dropped that market Tenet picked up their customers.
In addition to being a Novell Platinum partner, the firm is also premier partners for Computer Associates, Hewlett-Packard, IBM (hardware) and Cisco Systems. It is also a certified partner of Microsoft, Metastorm, Nortel and Citrix.
Tenet’s also been able to survive by trying to balance its client list between the private and public sectors. The strategy has been a blessing as corporations cut back on IT spending, Paz-Soldan said. Tenet is an IT consulting vendor of record for the government of Ontario.
About 20 per cent of the company’s revenues comes from services, he said. The hope is to grow that to 40 per cent in the near future through increasing application development work and consulting for traditional networking clients — what Paz-Soldan calls “”going deeper and wider.””
Next year the company will celebrate its 20th anniversary in business. A nice present would be stepping higher on the Top 100 list.