November 17, 2011
jim_lippieThrive Networks, the managed services business owned by Staples, is building and expanding a cloud services platforms for small business customers. So far, the ThriveCloud includes such services as hosted Exchange and hosted Microsoft Small Business Server, according to Thrive Networks President Jim Lippie (pictured).
In a Talkin’ Cloud FastChat Video, Lippie describes the ThriveCloud strategy. The typical target customer, Lippie said, is a small business with 10 to 250 employees. Many of those customers already leverage Thrive Networks’ managed services — which include a backup and disaster recovery service (ThriveSafe) powered by Axcient, and a firewall service powered by SonicWall.
So where it Thrive Networks heading next? My guess is virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and perhaps even some VoIP services in the cloud.
Staples acquired Thrive Networks in 2007. Since that time, the MSP has gradually added a range of new managed and cloud services. But instead of plugging into third-party cloud services, Thrive Networks built its own cloud to ensure a quality end-user experience and complete control over service and support.
Staples isn’t the only big box retailer focused on cloud and managed services. Best Buy recently acquired mindSHIFT, one of the best-known MSPs offering cloud services, for $167 million. mindSHIFT CEO Paul Chisholm and his management team continue to run mindSHIFT under terms of the Best Buy deal. “I’m really happy for Paul,” said Lippie. “It’s a great opportunity for mindSHIFT’s employees and it helps our industry to consolidate.”
Lippie noted that smaller MSPs are buying each other every day as part as continued industry consolidation, though many of the deals fly below the media’s radar.
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