Ken Satkunam, president and founder of NorthStar Technology Group, said his company stands out among managed service providers (MSPs) because it focuses on providing an unmatched customer experience based on empathetic approaches to IT.

Dan Kobialka, Contributing writer

May 9, 2014

3 Min Read
MSP Top 501 Profile: NorthStar Thinks 'Differently' Than Other MSPs

Ken Satkunam, president and founder of managed service provider (MSP) NorthStar Technology Group, ranked 496 on the 2014 MSPmentor Top 501 List has shown he’s not afraid to think outside the box. For example, his company isn’t based out of any of the major technology hubs in the United States – not New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston or even Silicon Valley.

Instead, Satkunam set up shop in Fargo, North Dakota, which, on the surface, would appear to put his company at a competitive disadvantage. However, Satkunam has made the most of his opportunity and has helped NorthStar grow leaps and bounds over the past 14 years.

Satkunam attributes his company’s growth to his team’s ability to “think differently” about how it could support its customers.

“Our industry is too often seen as cold and as a necessary evil,” Satkunam told MSPmentor. “We think differently at NorthStar.”

Making noise in a small market

Founded in 2000, NorthStar provides managed services, cloud platform solutions and virtual chief information officer/chief technology officer support. The company was founded on two principles: “a passion for customers and a passion for technology.”

NorthStar Technology Group

Twitter: @NorthStarTechno

Headquarters: Fargo, ND
Geography served: U.S.
Number of employees: 12
Key Technology Partners: Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft

Today, NorthStar provides IT solutions for organizations of all sizes. And thus far, Satkunam’s company has been successful in following its guiding principles, despite the fact that it is based out of a small market.

“Our biggest business accomplishment has been to achieve primary sector designation while being based in a small market location like Fargo,” Satkunam said. “We have successfully landed much larger customers than the typical MSP 5-100 machine demographic by providing an unmatched customer experience based on empathetic approaches to IT.”

NorthStar claims its strategic partnerships allow it to provide its customers with superior applications and products. To date, NorthStar has partnered with Cisco Systems (CSCO), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Microsoft (MSFT), among others.

Building a mobile, cloud-based business model

Going forward, Satkunam said he believes the biggest challenge facing MSPs will be the continued rapid push to build a mobile, cloud-based business model.

“The commoditization of things like storage from the big players have made it increasingly complicated and difficult to enter this space without a solid value proposition. The vendors providing these services are going to see problems unless they can deliver to MSP partners a cost structure that provides value. This is why we are in a position to build our platform and not rent or buy,” Satkunam told MSPmentor.

So how will NorthStar keep up with its customers’ needs? Satkunam noted his company has prioritized mobile and cloud services.

“We will continue to refine our cloud platform offering and introduce more and more self-service and do-it-yourself (DIY) automation to end users to run their IT,” Satkunam added.

The future of NorthStar

As NorthStar looks for new ways to keep up with its customers’ needs, the company will continue to follow its mission statement for the managed services it provides to customers across the United States:

“To build upon our cornerstones of ‘Passion for the Customer’ and ‘Passion for Technology’ through exceptional customer service and technical expertise to relentlessly improve ourselves and the environments we support.”

About the Author(s)

Dan Kobialka

Contributing writer, Penton Technology

Dan Kobialka is a contributing writer for MSPmentor and Talkin' Cloud. In the past, he has produced content for numerous print and online publications, including the Boston Business Journal, Boston Herald and Dan holds a M.A. in Print and Multimedia Journalism from Emerson College and a B.A. in English from Bridgewater State College (now Bridgewater State University). In his free time, Kobialka enjoys jogging, traveling, playing sports, touring breweries and watching football (Go Patriots!).  

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