‘This is like putting rocket boosters on our everything as a service business,’ says Advizex President and CEO C.R. Howdyshell. ‘We are going to add more engineering and sales talent. This is a huge expansion of our business that is going to bring the benefits of everything-as-a-service to customers far beyond anything we could have done on our own.’
Advizex, No. 104 on the CRN SP500, is dramatically expanding its fast-growing on-premise cloud consumption footprint as a result of its acquisition by Fulcrum IT Partners, a global IT solution provider holding company with ambitious plans to dominate the everything-as-a-service market.
“This is like putting rocket boosters on our everything-as-a-service business,” said Advizex President and CEO C.R. Howdyshell, who made a visionary bet on everything-as-a-service and on-premise pay-per-use cloud consumption three years ago that has paid off in dramatic managed services’ sales growth. “We are going to add more engineering and sales talent. This is a huge expansion of our business that is going to bring the benefits of everything as a service to customers far beyond anything we could have done on our own. We’re going to fly! Everyone in the company is excited about this opportunity!”
The Fulcrum deal, its first in the U.S. market, officially closed on Thursday. The deal makes Advizex, which was owned by Hong Kong-based Cloud Ventures, the crown jewel and linchpin in a national Advizex as-a-service rollout that includes plans to buy a number of other partners over the course of the next year.
Howdyshell called the acquisition a big bold bet on the Advizex everything-as-a-service strategy that is going to pay big dividends for Advizex customers and employees.“For our customers this is going to mean a wider portfolio of services,” he said. “For our employees it means more opportunities going forward. This is all about expanding what we are doing with our current customers and get new customers.”
Advizex will operate as an independent company with Howdyshell continuing to lead the company as president and CEO.
The investment in building out the consumption based IT-as-a-service model comes with Advizex’s everything-as-a-service pipeline growing at a breakneck pace, said Howdyshell.
“Customers are looking for a full everything-as-a-service model with managed services for infrastructure as a service, networking as a service and security as a service,” he said. “We provide it all on a single bill that makes it easy for customers to understand exactly how much IT is being consumed. That’s a game changer for customers especially given the complexity of public cloud bills. Customers want that single point of accountability which we provide. Everything is done by us. There is no finger-pointing. This is a disruptive model.”
Among the major OEMs participating in the Advize everything-as-a-service offering are Hewlett Packard Enterprise with GreenLake, Dell Technologies with Apex, Aruba networking as a service, software subscriptions from the likes of Microsoft and VMware, security software from Palo Alto Networks and Tanium, and intelligent cloud network automation provider Gluware. Seventy percent of the Advizex everything as a service deals include a software component.
The Fulcrum IT Partners investment comes with Advizex, a $230 million solution provider with deep roots in complex enterprise IT infrastructure and cloud computing, preparing to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2025. “This is the road map for us as we look to the future,” said Howdyshell. “This makes us part of something bigger and better.”
Under Howdyshell’s leadership, Advizex, which has prided itself on its “Customers For Life” credo, has built a broad and deep on premise consumption based offering backed up by an elite team of 150 plus technologists managing complex hybrid IT environments.
Fulcrum IT Partners Has Big Plans For More Acquisitions
Kyle Lanzinger, head of M & A for Fulcrum IT Partners, said the company has big plans to acquire more partners as part of its plans to be a leader in the on premise consumption based IT model.
“We intend to be incredibly acquisitive going through this year, we want to grow pretty quickly,” he said. “Advizex gives us a good base. By 2023 you are going to see a materially different and larger company.”
Fulcrum IT Partners, which is incorporated in Delaware, already holds a majority stake in Tieva, a cloud and infrastructure provider in the United Kingdom, and iOn, an MSSP in Calgary, Alberta.
Advizex’s standout performance in the everything-as-a-service consumption-based IT market made the company an attractive acquisition for Fulcrum IT Partners, said Lanzinger.
“Advizex has an incredible footprint in the consumption market with everything-as-a-service,” he said. “IT spend as a service and IT infrastructure as a service with cybersecurity and managed services is a wonderful, wonderful model. We want to see that widely rolled out.”
Both customers and vendors are clamoring for partners that can deliver a full complement of everything-as-a-service offerings from a single source, said Lanzinger. “We want to bridge the gap between vendors and customers, helping vendors ramp up the consumption model they would like to see the world shift to and customers that would like to consume IT that way, but don’t have a way to do that today.”
Howdyshell’s everything-as-a-service vision backed up by the strong Advizex management team and a relentless ability to execute on everything as a service made the acquisition a no-brainer, said Lanzinger. “Advizex is leading the way on consumption (based IT) in the U.S.,” he said. “The Advizex sales team’s ability to understand and communicate the value of the shift from capex to opex and what the consumption model brings to customers is one of the key reasons we acquired them.”
The IT consumption model provides a public cloud like flexibility with an on-premise solution that is winning over customers, said Lanzinger. “In the next 5-10 years you are going to see more focus on that flexibility with an eye on costs and cybersecurity,” he said. “We are going to be a leader in the consumption spend model, allowing customers to consume in the most flexible way possible. We are putting an emphasis on scale. We want to be a partner that both vendors and customers can be incredibly comfortable working with anywhere in the U.S. and eventually with the sister companies anywhere in North America and the UK.”
Building On The Advizex ‘High Value’ Model
Former Avnet Technology Solutions President Jeff Bawol, the chairman of the Fulcrum IT Partners’ board of advisors, said Fulcrum is looking forward to adding more “high value” solution providers to acquire like Advizex.
“We want to build on that Advizex high value model,” he said. “If we can pick up another three or four or five solution providers in NFL cities that look and smell like Advizex, all high-value providers, then they can all leverage each other services, software and capabilities.”
Bawol said he sees the Advizex everything as a service consumption model with the potential for “almost unlimited growth” because of the ability to provide a consumption based offering in the cloud, in the data center or in a hybrid model.
“The future is consumption,” said Bawol, who is on the prowl to bring more M&A deals to Fulcrum. “We want to look at companies like Advizex that are in the business of selling computing versus selling computers. If you want to buy computing in the cloud they’ll do it. If you want to buy computing in a data center they’ll do it. If you want to buy computing in a hybrid environment they’ll do it. If you want to buy it in a consumption environment they’ll do it. However, customers want to consume computing Advizex can do it. We want to build on that.”
The Advizex everything as-a-service model gives customers more flexibility options in an age when many customers have felt locked into public cloud or even data center infrastructure providers, said Bawol. “If you’re the CFO, CTO or CEO you love it because it gives you so many options,” he said.
Advizex’s role as a trusted advisor was key in the decision made last year by Andelyn Bioscience, a gene therapy CDMO (Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization) to put in place a Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) GreenLake on-premise, consumption-based cloud model, said Bryan Holmes, vice president, digital and technology solutions for the Columbus, Ohio-headquartered Andelyn Bioscience.
A ‘World Class Organization’ That Puts Customers First
Holmes said he was not surprised that Advizex is being acquired as part of an aggressive expansion of the on premise consumption based IT model. “C.R. Howdyshell and the Advizex management team have built a world class organization with a culture that puts the customer first in a flexible, everything as a service model,” said Holmes. “It always comes back to the people. Advizex is our trusted advisor. Technology is a huge part of what we do, but the key is trusting the people you are working with. That trust was a huge, huge component of our decision to select Advizex and HPE as our on premise consumption based partners. Advizex installed and set up GreenLake and worked with HPE on all the licensing with us. Now they are responsible for managing the environment. It comes down to trust, the relationship and ease of working with Advizex and HPE.“
Howdyshell, for his part, said he is proud of the pioneering work that the Advizex team has done in the on premise consumption based IT market that is accelerating as a result of the economic pressures facing businesses today.
“With the economic pressures, we have seen our everything as a service funnel continue to grow,” he said. “It’s up 40 percent from last year because customers are looking at how they can more cost effectively run their business. We feel like we are extremely well positioned right now because of the macro economic challenges customers are facing. For the first time we are seeing some pressure on public cloud investment and more scrutiny on public cloud bills with potential repatriation. That has created an opportunity for us to double down on everything as a service and have a business conversation with the customer. It’s all about understanding the business and providing a better, more cost effective solution on a workload basis with capex versus opex.”
Howdyshell said he could not be more excited about being part of Fulcrum IT Partners. “These are entrepreneurs,” he said. “They are investing for growth. This is the next chapter for Advizex. I couldn’t be more pumped up to lead Advizex into our 50th year. This is an inflection point that makes us a national and even a global everything as a service powerhouse. This is like a lightning bolt that has hit at the perfect time to accelerate and energize our everything as a service model.”