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October 2009 | Volume 12 / Number 10
Feature Story

Talking with Presidio’s Dave Hart

By: Paula Bernier (News - Alert)

Presidio Inc. is a nearly $1 billion professional services and managed services organization serving both businesses and the government vertical. Presidio Networked Solutions (News - Alert), the largest subsidiary of Presidio Inc., partners with key communications suppliers to deliver a broad portfolio of solutions involving systems and network security, unified communications, advanced network transport, data management and storage, telepresence and videoconferencing, network infrastructure, systems infrastructure and Microsoft (News - Alert) infrastructure. Presidio also includes a leasing and financing organization, Presidio Technology Capital. These assets, and the people behind them, allow Presidio to provide customers with full circle solutions – from acquisition to implementation and management. I recently chatted with Dave Hart about Presidio and where the industry is headed. Our conversation follows:

PB: Give us a snapshot of Presidio.

DH: We’re a leading professional services organization for the lifecycle of advanced infrastructure solutions. So we’re not a VAR, we’re not a VAS. We really are a managed services organization.

We’re expert technology professionals, and that’s really a key differentiator – we’re not just a sales company. We have the engineering and technology expertise to architect and implement solutions that will enhance effective communication and collaboration for our customers.

PB: What is special about Presidio’s engineering capabilities?

DH: What we as an organization strive to be are experts in select areas – masters in select areas, and really executing our solutions with a technology advantage that comes from our technologists or our engineering staffs.

Our engineering team comprises over half of the employees of the organization. We carry well over 1,000 certifications through our 400-plus engineering team of individuals.

People are our “secret sauce” – our ability to attract and retain top-flight talent. We own no patents or exclusive licenses or distribution arrangements. All of our intellectual property goes home to their spouses or significant others every night. I’d put my technology and support people up against anybody’s in the industry.

PB: What are Presidio’s key areas of focus?

DH: We really limited our practice to three major areas. The first is internetworking infrastructure – that is routing, switching and mobility wireless technology. Then there’s voice technology; it could be called unified communications, it could be called IP telephony – it depends on the sophistication of the technology we’re deploying. The third place is the data center, and that’s really virtualization servers and storage. By far the biggest area for us is voice. It’s roughly 40 percent of our business.

PB: If I hired Presidio, what kind of an experience could I expect to have?

DH: If we’re putting in 50 phones or 50,000 phones for you, your experience will be exactly the same. We have very high professional standards. We spend a lot of time doing our own internal testing, and we have three of our own labs so before we roll out to a client we know it works, and our engineers have experience installing it so we can deliver it in a very professional manner. We don’t want to be in a position where we’re learning while we’re earning. You’ll never see a Presidio engineer reading the book in your office when he’s installing it.

PB: Partnerships with key suppliers are an important aspect of your strategy. Explain.

DH: Looking back on our foundations, basically 2003 to today, we are covering roughly half the United States as a Cisco (News - Alert)-centric provider of technology solutions. We are very deep with key strategy partners in the marketplace – EMC, NetApp, HP, VMware, Cisco of course, Microsoft and Sun, and some other real key strategic players.

Ninety-seven to 98 percent of our revenue comes from five relationships: Cisco, Sun Microsystems, EMC, Network Appliance (News - Alert) and IBM. And then we have some very strategic, although not very high revenue development, relationships with Microsoft, VMware and Nortel.

PB: What are your thoughts on the open source movement?

DH: We love open source, and we think it’s a great idea and there are a lot of great applications for it. The cost of the technology is somewhat irrelevant to us. But the problem with open source is if no one is making money no one is investing in new technology. So we’d hate to see great companies like Cisco, Oracle (News - Alert), Avaya and Nortel stop investing in R&D because there was no money in the products.

Another problem with open source is it needs to be supportable – if the guy who adds the feature you like is a 19-year-old kid in Finland who just went off to medical school, you might have some problems. With a company like Cisco you know they’re going to be around for the long term. IT

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