Sometimes, I find the most innovative managed service providers where I least expect them. A case in point: I visited Sytec Business Solutions -- a managed service provider in Raleigh, North Carolina -- on August 15. The company occupies an old Victorian home a few minutes from the heart of the city. There's nothing flashy about Sytec Business Solutions or its headquarters.
But perhaps that's the point: Instead of spending big dollars on a costly headquarters, the company seems to be plowing money into training, help desk and custom solutions for its customers. Here are some examples of what Sytec is doing right.
- Living On the Edge: Instead of renting or leasing in central Raleigh -- where expenses would surely be higher -- Sytec is out on the edge of the city in a neighborhood that mixes residential and commercial buildings. The company's Victorian building doesn't scream "high tech," but the people inside certainly do.
- Staying Unified: Rather than resting on its managed services laurels, Sytec recently became one of three solutions providers in the area to earn Cisco's Advanced Unified Communications Specialization. Now, the company is melding N-able managed services with unified communications.
- Keeping An Open Door: When an employee resigns, lots of companies push them out the door and bid them farewell (forever). In stark contrast, Sytec has several employees who are "boomerangs" -- meaning that they left for other career stops only to return at a later date. Of course, you don't want every former employee (i.e., the bad ones) to feel as if they can return at any time. But on the other hand, you need to maintain strong relations with top talent because you never know when you might want them back.
- Supporting Experimentation: In Sytec's basement, support engineers experiment with the latest operating environments and emerging alternatives such as Ubuntu Linux. The freedom to run and learn new systems keeps engineers engaged.
- Expanding Its Footprint: Thanks to managed services, Sytec remotely administers customer networks outside of the company's own home state of North Carolina.