Sharp Business Systems has been a leader in office equipment and technology in the SMB space for several years. And, they've managed to successfully pivot from one macro opportunity to another, despite the high innovation curve of those technology transformations.
In this post, we'll cover the specific research, decisions, processes and success that Sharp has experienced—as a prime example of what it takes to run a prosperous Office Equipment business.
The Opportunity to Pivot
For Sharp, having specialized in OE—mainly copy machines and printers—for years, it took a lot of effort to diversify into Managed Services. But, this decision was an important one, as they were seeing the industry declining, leaving them at "stable" at best. They understood they needed to expand and find a way to acquire new customers.
Today, they've built a formidable managed service business.
So how were the dots connected?
Forming a Partnership
About three years ago, the Sharp team started to look at managed services providers for either acquisitions or a global presence that could serve their customers.
They did a lot of research on managed services companies, and when it became clear that they couldn't find a fit through acquisition, they started looking for nationwide and global partners. That's when they came across Continuum. From there, the partnership was formed and enhanced.
Unlike their competitors who have kept their managed services division separate, Sharp and Continuum have decided to consolidated them into their regular operations—which has proven highly successful. In fact, the company has had steady growth of about 200% a year, and the support for between training and customer support has been second to none.
As the IT services industry will undoubtedly evolve in the next three to five years, it's important to consider the top issues for MSPs and IT providers to address.
The direction of Managed Network Services (MNS) in the coming years is consistent growth. At this point, we're just hitting the tip of the iceberg when it comes to IT because right now, the number one or two concern of virtually any company is security, which will only continue to grow.
In terms of the cloud, that is something that a lot of people talk about but maybe don't understand. But, collaboration between companies like Continuum and Microsoft will be a big leap forward in customers understanding the value of the cloud.
When it comes to cybersecurity and the need to keep customers protected, Sharp feels solid on the solution they have with Continuum.
"Continuum has really provided our customers with a seamless approach to managed services. It is our largest growth engine, our most profitable growth engine, and more importantly, I think it is something that we'll continue to grow for years to come." —Anthony Sci, Senior Vice President, Sharp Business Systems
Listen here to learn more about how to obtain financial and operational success, and stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3 of this Office Equipment success track series!
By Meaghan Moraes
By Gretchen Hoffman