MNJ Technologies, a managed services provider based in Buffalo Grove, Ill., is expanding its business organically at a time when growth through acquisition makes weekly headlines.
The company recently reported a 23% revenue uptick in 2019 and a 35% increase in monthly recurring services revenue. MNJ attributes it 2019 performance to its strategy of pursing “edge-based solution sales.” MNJ provides SD-WAN, unified communications and hybrid-cloud offerings, for example.
“It’s all tied to the focus on the edge,” said Ben Niernberg, MNJ’s executive vice president, referring to the company’s revenue growth.
That expansion is expected to continue in 2020, based on the same edge-oriented strategy and organic growth, according to Niernberg. The company plans to add 15 new sales people this year and has already appointed a vice president of sales to support MNJ’s next stage of growth. Andrew Ballema joins MNJ from CDW, where he was a senior manager responsible for growing sales in areas such as SD-WAN, hybrid cloud and unified communications as a service.
But while the company’s growth projections are based on boosting sales internally, MNJ hasn’t ruled out acquisitions. Niernberg said MNJ is looking to buy talent, noting that he isn’t a fan of making acquisitions to buy a customer base. “We are not looking for struggling companies,” he said. “We are looking for talent and companies that are like minded from a climate and culture standpoint.”
A look back at 2019 developments sheds some light on where MNJ will continue to push this year. Last year, managed SD-WAN services contributed to the company’s growth in monthly recurring revenue. MNJ expanded its SD-WAN roster, which now includes Cisco, Cloudgenix, Fortinet, Meraki, Oracle, Silver Peak and Versa solutions.
The company also launched an SD-WAN demo lab, equipped with a WAN emulation tool, which helps customers identify the SD-WAN product that best suits their needs. Niernberg said MNJ averages a 90% close rate among prospective customers who evaluate SD-WAN offerings in the lab.
This year, MNJ plans to couple its SD-WAN sales with direct connections between its colocation facility and public clouds such as AWS, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure. The direct connect will help with traffic flow reliability, while also regulating ingress and egress costs associated with public clouds. Those connections are scheduled for availability in the second quarter.
2019 also saw MNJ expand its collaboration offerings to include Workplace by Facebook. The company now has more than 20 deals for that technology in the pipeline, Niernberg said. Workplace by Facebook marks the first product that lets MNJ approach lines of business outside of the IT department to make sales calls, he noted. The company can call on prospects in marketing, communications and human resources departments, creating opportunities to land accounts that were perhaps not as accessible previously, he added.
“It’s a great opportunity for our sales organization,” Niernberg said.