Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Welcome to the Q2 2015 UCG Newsletter


Hello and happy Spring! We hit the ground running in Q1 and continue to build momentum, welcoming new clients and forming strategic partnerships. As well, we've made significant investments in equipment and staff to continue to deliver service excellence to meet and exceed the expectations of our clients.

UCG has expanded its service offering beyond backup and recovery expertise, resulting in an IBM i customer base totaling more than 150 organizations. The new capabilities include services surrounding development, test, and production environments.

Since 1987, UCG's unsurpassed commitment to providing an unsurpassed client experience has been the cornerstone of our company. We listen carefully to your business issues and pain points, and then work with you to solve them. It's a simple yet key core value that each of our team members embrace.

As the year unfolds, we remain focused as we continue to evolve, innovate, and stay true to our tradition of engaged client relationships. Thank you for your continued interest in United Computer Group.

Please enjoy this issue of the UCG newsletter 
and forward to colleagues within and outside your organization. Thank you for your friendship, your confidence, and your business. 


Hot in Cleveland: UCG Sees Payoff from MSP Vision

UCG is delighted and honored to be featured in IBM Midsize Insider. Many thanks to Paul Gillin for a great interview and for succinctly capturing UCG's journey. Please enjoy the article!


James Kandrac founded United Computer Group, Inc. (UCG) In December 1987. He was 26 years old, married with a six-month old child. Having worked at IBM and a small leasing firm that he helped grow to $125 million and a public offering, he had a passion to run his own business. More than 27 years later, UCG – an IBM Advanced Business Partner – has 1,500 clients and a robust business providing backup, disaster recovery and systems integration and support services for a variety of IBM platforms.

Never satisfied to rest on his laurels, Jim noticed several years ago that business was changing and that UCG would need to latch onto the cloud computing phenomenon that was rolling across the industry. UCG began building out a managed service provider (MSP) business in the days before it was fashionable. It was hard work at first, but the company is now reaping the rewards of its foresight. Jim tells what he has learned in this Midsize Insider Q&A interview
.

What convinced you to launch an MSP side to your business?​


Nearly 10 years ago UCG started to see an overall decline in annual hardware sales. ​Clients that would normally upgrade or replace systems every two or three years due to growth or obsolescence were stretching out to four and five years, mostly due to available capacity. We decided to provide solutions that were needed and would "stick" for long periods of time. The top two IT needs at that time were and continue to be security and disaster recovery.

What MSP services do you provide and to what kind of customers?​

BaaS, or backup as a service, and remote hardware disaster recovery for IBM i and Intel-based systems. We also offer test, development and logical partitioning or LPARS.

How has your experience launching this business differed from your expectations? Any surprises
?​

I thought that within one year, we would reach a specific goal of X number of clients and revenue. It took seven years. Selling and supporting an MSP practice takes a large investment of time, money, and resources, while at the same time running the day-to-day operations side of the business.


How well is the business performing and what do future growth prospects look like?​ 

The first two to three years were like any other start-up; slow and difficult. Since year four, however, UCG has grown the MSP business 25% per year on average.​

What’s different about running an MSP from running a more traditional systems integration company?​


You’re more involved on an ongoing basis. You need 7X24X365 support, and emergency calls can come at any time. You have to be committed to solve client problems and to be able to focus, execute and deliver.​

Are you serving the same customers or a whole new class of customers?​

It’s Marketing 101: Sell new products and services to an existing client base and then branch out. In 2007 most of our business was within 200 miles of our headquarters in Cleveland. Last year we had close to 150 MSP clients in 30 states in the U.S., Canada and Europe. That’s in addition to the more than 1,500 clients UCG has served regionally since our founding in 1987.​

What bumps in the road did you encounter along the way?​


Selling MSP services takes time. Prospects must be educated and you need the buy-in of both the IT team and the C-level executives. Initially, there is a significant capital investment and you must be focused and committed. MSP services are not a part-time offering. To do it right, you need to jump in with both feet.

What advice would you have for integrators who are reluctant to adopt the MSP model?


If you feel you have a service offering that is truly needed in the marketplace, do a survey or focus group with selected long-term clients and then be ready to work diligently to make the business successful. Solving client issues and pains is paramount; deliver an excellent client experience every time, without exception. You have one reputation. Once you've lost it, you can't get it back.​


CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: H-P Products, Inc.

Congratulations to longtime client H-P Products, Inc. of Louisville, Ohio on 70 years of success! H-P was one of UCG's first clients in 1987 and has been a valued client and partner for nearly three decades.

Back in 1987, H-P Controller Allen Green, now the President of H-P Products, purchased large Memorex-Telex Twinax terminals called the Memorex Telex 2051 from UCG. It must have been our attractive yellow marketing mailer that caught Allen's attention.


Recently, UCG and H-P IT Director Robert Arnold migrated H-P to an IBM P8 server with an IBM V3700 SAN. H-P also subscribes to UCG's VAULT400 BaaS and DR solutions.

Thank you for your continued business and loyalty to UCG for nearly 30 years. Congratulations to everyone at H-P Products on 70 years of success!

About H-P Products
h-pproducts.com
H-P Products on YouTube


Since 1945, H-P Products, Inc., premier manufacturer of central vacuums and tubing-related products, has established an internationally recognized operation developed on the genuine principles of producing high-quality products, while servicing the needs of a wide customer base. Superior service and performance practices that key executives have instilled in the company have positioned H-P as a leader in the tubular products and central vacuum industries.

Today, H-P continues to grow as a result of its diversified product line, flexible fabrication capabilities, ISO 9001:2008 certified manufacturing processes and quality products and services. H-P is committed to researching and formulating technologies to enhance the product line while pioneering the industry.

To meet the intense demands of manufacturing, engineering and research and development, H-P has three state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Ohio totaling over 300,000 square feet. Extensive production capabilities, coupled with improved processes and operating efficiencies, contribute to a more flexible and responsive manufacturing environment designed to comply with ever-changing industry requirements and needs.

H-P distributes its products to over 25 countries and continues to grow due to aggressive distribution channel expansion and partnering agreements. H-P’s commitment to satisfying customers has resulted in expansion efforts and enhanced production capabilities that have resulted in a steady increase of sales and market share, both internationally and domestically.

Visit Our Resource Libraries

Be sure to take advantage of the valuable information available for download in our VAULT400 and Enterprise Management Software Resource Libraries.


United Computer Group, Inc.
7100 E. Pleasant Valley Road #250
Independence, OH 44131-5556

Toll Free: 800.211.8798
Main: 216.520.1333
Email: 
info@ucgrp.com 

ucgrp.com | vault400.com

James A. Kandrac, President
Michael D. Powall, Vice President

Socially connected! Connect with UCG on
LinkedInTwitterYouTubeGoogle+Facebook, and on our UCG Blog.

We make an effort to connect on social media with our clients, vendors, and business partners, so please reach out and let us know where we can find you.


Speaking of social media, where have you found the most success connecting with other technology companies/ technology-minded individuals? Let us know what you think at info@ucgrp.com.

United Computer Group, Inc.
April 2015
Q2 Newsletter



United Computer Group built a trustworthy reputation alongside its growing IBM midrange customer base by offering online backup services. It also offered disaster recovery services to organizations that have figured out the limitations of their downtime survival endurance. UCG has made the investments in equipment and staff to deliver service that meets high expectations, and now it's taking the next step.

Expedient, a company with 11 data centers in seven markets from Chicago eastward, including the northeast regions of the United States, and UCG decided they could use one another's help, so they formed a partnership.

Read full story in IT Jungle.


Read Press Release: UCG Expansion Requirements Sparks Partnership with Expedient


TAB Products Takes Data Protection to the Next Level with UCG’s VAULT400 BaaS

“We selected VAULT400 because it runs natively on the iSeries and gives us off-site storage automatically, reducing the transporting of tapes off-site to a minimum."
- Terry Vilter, IT Manager, TAB Business Systems


Infor XA User Group Conference May 27-28 IBM Conference Center, Rochester, MN

UCG is pleased to be a sponsor the Infor XA User Group (IXAUG) System i (XA, LX, System21) User Conference.

The IXAUG is committed to providing education, training, and problem-solving solutions to its rapidly growing membership, as well as positively influencing the ecosystem direction in a constructive partnership for success and long-term growth.

Register today! For more information, contact Rad Yates, Chairman, Infor XA User Group at 440.463.5805.

We look forward to seeing you at the conference.


UCG is now accepting electronic signatures with DocuSign. 

UCG is pleased to offer a safe, efficient method for our clients to sign documents with DocuSign.

What are the benefits of electronic signature?

Time and money saved. Eliminate the need to print, fax, scan, email or ship documents.

Faster results. Send documents for signature and get a response in minutes, not days.

Increased efficiency. Store and access all documents from your secure cloud account.

Legally binding documents. Get a complete audit trail and tamper-proof virtual seal of the signed documents.

Flexibility to work on the go. Sign, send, and track documents from anywhere on any Internet-enabled device.

"DocuSign worked well! I completed the agreement during a jury duty break. Convenient."

- Marc Masters, Wheeling Lake Erie Railway

Your DR Strategy Guide for IBM i Available for Download Now!

Thank you for taking time to read the DR Strategy Guide for IBM i, brought to you by Maxava and United Computer Group. If you or your team are responsible for the ongoing health and protection of your IBM i systems and data, this guide is for you!

Click here to download your DR Strategy Guide.

United Computer Group, Inc. (UCG) was founded in 1987 by James A. Kandrac. UCG has been an IBM Business Partner since 1989 and an IBM Advanced Business Partner since 1991. Customers have rated UCG in the top 1% of IBM Business Partners nationwide.

UCG offers VAULT400 BaaS and IBM Power Systems, in addition to a wide range of related products and services. United Computer Group, Inc. and Maxava have been business partners since 2008. Maxava HA is the solution of choice when UCG clients need RTO and RPO of less than 1 hour.

Read more.


Become a UCG Partner

United Computer Group partners enjoy collaborative, rewarding, and mutually beneficial arrangements to bring industry-leading technology solutions to the mid-market. Our core business philosophies ensure that our clients have an excellent experience. We are focused on delivering solutions to help them solve their most complex technology challenges.

As an IBM Advanced Business Partner, UCG has been actively marketing Power Systems-based enterprise solutions since 1987. We place great value in finding the right partner to provide a high level of sales, marketing, and technological support to our clients.

Interested? Click here to fill out a brief form and we will contact you within 24 hours. We look forward to working with you.