MSP Mentor 100: Claris Networks Organically Growing

MSP Mentor 100: Claris Networks Organically Growing

Claris Networks, ranked number 52 on our MSPmentor 100, specializes in cloud hosting -- a pretty familiar term these days. But how does Claris differentiate from rivals?  Here's an update on how the Knoxville, Tennessee company is thriving down south...

I spoke to CEO Larry Bodie and VP Dave Sagraves about Claris Networks, and key company milestones since the MSPmentor 100 survey results debuted in February 2010. Sagraves detailed, "We continue to experience rapid growth. Our MSP revenue year over year is up 88% and business is thriving. We have some secret sauce [but] we have a lot we're happy to share. We're not regionally focused. We're focused on two or three markets in Tennessee. We're not trying to be a master MSP."

Right now, Claris Networks provides site infrastructure and licensing, local sub-net, antivirus, and backup. Bodie says cloud and managed service offerings remain their main focus. In the last three months, the company completed a SAS 70 Type II audit for the banking vertical, which they traditionally stayed away from. But both Sagraves and Bodie noted that a couple large clients had come forward looking to commit to Claris ... if Claris was willing to commit to SAS 70. "We see that vertical as a great opportunity."

And on the future, are they branching out? Bodie asserted...

"We have a mature cloud offering. We built our cloud, did it wrong, rebuilt it. We've had a production cloud for five full years. We're really focused on our go to market strategy and how we [can] make it easy to move to the cloud."
There was a concession that at some point VDI (vertical desktop integration) might be the next logical play, but it's on the back-burner and far in the future. Both Bodie and Sagraves said that they see Claris Network's success as truly built on doing what they do best, and stressed that their mature cloud brings in new sales constantly.

Claris Networks has avoided mergers and acquisitions, continually focusing on growing organically, but Bodie noted that they always listen to the people who call up and learn new things.

What else makes Claris unique? The company points to such qualities as:
  • Having a dedicated "non-technical" sales team
  • a relaxed "family first" workplace atmosphere
  • quality people
  • brand integrity
  • and a lake nearby where people fish at lunch
Claris Networks has a "close knit" group of 33 employees, and have hired 6 new employees since the start of 2010.

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