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Northwest Computer Support is aggressively moving into the managed services space by expanding its current offerings and hiring former Alvaka Networks Chief Technology Officer Rex Frank to take charge of the initiative.  

NWCS currently offers about 15 customer services on a fixed-fee maintenance plan but plans to add services and expand that number to between 50 and 60 by the end of 2008, Tom Rash, NWCS president, told Channel Insider.  "We don’t think that’s a stretch, though it is aggressive.  We have customers on a maintenance agreement now, and we’ll try to convert those and add additional customers," Rash said.  

NWCS will offer business continuity, disaster recovery, unified communications and print management services in addition to its stable of IT maintenance and product resale services, said Rash.  

While NWCS has been an MSP (managed services provider) for about two years, the company wasn’t having much success at customer recruitment and wasn’t seeing much return on its investment. "I was trying to build out an MSP practice when I had spare time, but we were making such slow progress," Rash said.   

At first, neither customers nor NWCS’s sales force grasped the importance of the managed services concept, but Rash continued to press for growth.  "I knew that [managed services] was happening, and it was going to be huge in the SMB [small and midsize business] space where we play," he said.  

However, in late 2007, NWCS suddenly had more customers than the company could handle, demanding managed services that the company didn’t have the resources to provide.  The addition of Frank gives NWCS the ability to deliver those services, increase customer and sales force education, and grow the business, Rash said.  

"I have to focus on service delivery process improvement and educate customers and the sales team so we can keep this momentum going," said Frank.  The company currently uses Level Platforms technology to deliver managed services and is looking for ‘horizontal market’ customers rather than focusing on specific verticals.