North Canton, Ohio - Visual Edge Technology’s footprint is growing again in Florida, this time in a strategic move to carry on the legacy of 25-year-old Business Technology Partners (BTP). The management team of BTP will lead a 3-month transition, in an effort to move its operations to neighboring dealer, AXSA Imaging Solutions, Inc. (AXSA), also acquired by Visual Edge just last October.
Bob Christensen, president of AXSA and leader of Visual Edge Technology’s Florida growth strategy, commented on the deal, “Our goal at Visual Edge is very specific—to work with owners of small dealerships who need help with succession planning. We not only give them good value for their company, but we also carry on their legacy by taking care of their key employees and customers.”
With a legacy built on attentive service, BTP has been a leading provider of Xerox and HP multifunctional, wide format, and inkjet office equipment to a number of small businesses across Central Florida.
“BTP’s president, Eric Williams, has done a great job of building the company. This is really the passing of the baton. He wants to make sure that his company, his people, and his employees are in good hands,” added Christensen.
Notably, AXSA only recently got into the copier market, as its heritage had long been in the wide format sector, serving architects, engineers, and construction markets. Recognizing an opportunity to go deeper and wider within its own base, AXSA expanded its reach through a series of small dealer acquisitions.
Christensen’s broad industry experience and success with AXSA bolsters the decision by Visual Edge to have him oversee its other Florida-based businesses—WBS Technologies, FastForward Digital Solutions, Zymphony Technology Solutions, and BTP—bringing a comprehensive suite of office solutions to the market, from multifunctional and wide format equipment to managed print and IT services.
“Both BTP and AXSA have reputations for long-term relationships built on excellent customer service. This tenured service and support will benefit all of our customers, as we now offer best-of-breed technology with office automation and managed IT services to our large customer base in Florida,” says Christensen.
Visual Edge Technology is giving Office Systems of Vermont the “best of both worlds” with its latest acquisition - financial support from a national company, but the ability to maintain their roots in New England and grow the business together with Axion Business Technologies.
As part of the deal, Office Systems will remain an independent operating company with advisory support from Visual Edge-owned Axion Business Technologies and its President, Robert Ferland.
“This really completes our overall strategy to have a footprint in all of the New England states. The potential for growth here is huge,” says Ferland, “We also get the added bonus of Office Systems’ market share in New Hampshire. One of the benefits for Office Systems’ customers is that we will bring new services to market that they would not have otherwise had access to, such as production print, managed print, and managed IT services.”
Office Systems’ president, Richard Lowrey, says that the decision to join Visual Edge was easy, as Office Systems marks the second dealership that he has sold, both while being under the age of 52. “Being locally owned isn’t as important as it used to be. In a world where people can buy just about anything online, people are technology driven to get the best products with the best deal, but still be taken care of,” says Lowrey.
As one of the last independents in Vermont, Lowrey’s “secret sauce” is simple - people, products, and process. “We run our business on the 3 Ps – you have to have really good people, really good products and really good processes internally. If you don’t do any of those three things well, you aren’t going to be great.”
Being great is important to Lowrey as he filters most of his business decisions through his customers, constantly surveying their loyalty to the Office Systems brand with the Net Promoter Score methodology. “A lot of people in this industry focus on service metrics - how fast can you be there, how fast can you fix it. We don’t. We believe that the measure of our success is whether or not a customer is going to refer us to someone else,” says Lowrey.
According to Lowrey, Office Systems scores around 75, which is pretty admirable for an independent dealership in the small state of Vermont (Apple has 72).
Lowrey admits he did a lot of research on Visual Edge before taking the leap. “What I really like about Visual Edge is that they let you run your own business and nothing really changes except that you get better products, better pricing, and better support,” says Lowrey, “I’ve looked for three years to buy an IT company because I get calls constantly about customers wanting IT support from us. I think this is going to be a huge growth area for us.”
Office Systems, which has deep roots in Vermont since first opening in 1945, has been owned and operated by Lowrey since 2011. Prior to that, the dealership was the product of a merger between two competitors as the market consolidated in 2000.
As the demand for cutting-edge IT services continues to grow, Visual Edge Technology is bringing another core managed IT services provider into its Netwise Resources brand in the Midwest, with the recent acquisition of N2N Technologies of Indianapolis.
The agreement, which will transition operations of N2N’s two locations, including 18 employees, over to Netwise Resources, is the second acquisition of a core IT provider this year. Earlier this year, Zymphony Technology Solutions of Florida was acquired by Visual Edge.
A national leader in the engineering and K-12 education IT spaces, N2N has been a full-service IT provider of information and business technology solutions since 2008. N2N is known for its state-of-the-art private cloud hosting platform, a high point of the deal, that will now provide Visual Edge clients with a private cloud hosting option.
“N2N has had considerable growth in the past five years, and we’ve been approached by many companies about a merger,” says N2N co-founder and chief operating officer, Todd Eaton. “After many conversations with Netwise and Visual Edge, we found that our companies are very similar in management styles and how we work with our customers. It’s a really good fit.”
The merger supports Visual Edge’s national strategy of exponential managed IT growth. “This will increase our ability to offer managed IT services to our base of over 75,000 clients nationwide,” says Mark Gibson, vice president of managed IT services for Visual Edge Technology, “and gives Netwise a centralized 24/7 nationwide service desk operated right from the company’s Indianapolis headquarters.”
“We’re really excited. Together, we will be able to offer even better services to our customers and support the rest of our Visual Edge family with our network operation center,” added Eaton.
With N2N in Netwise’s backyard, Gibson says the transition into the Visual Edge family is expected to be smooth. “Both Eaton and co-founder and president, Travis Tillberry, will play a big role, providing seasoned executive experience to our IT services leadership team,” says Gibson.
Just last year, Netwise Resources too was acquired by Visual Edge, as the acquisition company continued its plan to build a network of managed IT services providers across the country. Today, Visual Edge continues to grow by seeking out new partners in the office equipment, managed print, and managed IT markets to join its team of over 1,000 employees, and 75,000+ combined clients nationwide.