Spotlight on TechXtend: Moving Into the NJ Government and Educational Market
TechXtend, a division of publicly traded Wayside Technology Group, is a 30-year-old Shrewsbury company making news by moving into the N.J. government and educational market.
In a November 2013 announcement, TechXtend said it had joined the NJEDge.net consortium, a nonprofit technology group of New Jersey academic and research institutions that supports the deployment of advanced Internet and digital communications technologies.
The company is authorized to provide technology at contracted rates through its reseller authorizations by VMware, under the NJEDge VMware Enterprise License Agreement. In addition,, TechXtend is authorized by Lenovo, EMC and Extreme Networks, under those companies’ participation in WSCA-NASPO (Western States Contracting Alliance-National Association of State Procurement Officials) contracts.
TechXtend, formerly Programmer’s Paradise, has reinvented itself in the past several years, from operating as a direct reseller of software and development tools to a solutions-based reseller with sales and consulting services to match.
In this interview with Shawn Giordano, vice president and general manager of TechXtend, NJTechWeekly.com learns more about the company and its transformation.
Please describe your company’s transition from Programmer’s Paradise to TechXtend.
We’ve transformed our business from a direct market reseller [DMR] focused on software and development tools to a solutions-based selling organization. We have three areas of focus: virtualization and cloud, storage and infrastructure management, and business intelligence and intelligence-information management. While we still offer software and development tools, we are concentrating on these core solutions.
TechXtend made this change because we understood where the market was heading. It’s easy to look at an online catalog and find a price for something, but when you are talking about technical solutions that involve multiple different software packages and complex hardware configurations, customers can’t figure it out from a book or online catalog. They need to speak to someone who understands their business — understands the technology and can articulate a value proposition. They need an organization that can work with them to put together a solution that meets their needs and [can] come in within their budget constraints.
Why the push into the New Jersey government and educational market?
This isn’t something new, but in the last 12 months we’ve put an increased focus on it. We’ve been a VMware partner on NJEDge for a while. Recently we’ve done some business in the space and really found we satisfied the needs of the customers. So far we’ve been well received in the SLED [state and local government and education] space in New Jersey.
Is there an advantage to being a New Jersey company when going after the New Jersey market?
Obviously we are very knowledgeable in what we sell, and we have [a] background that goes back 15 years in virtualization and complementary technology. However, we are a New Jersey-based organization. We employ 100-plus people within the state and are classified as a small business. The New Jersey government is trying to keep small businesses like ours in New Jersey, and I think we are uniquely positioned to work with the state and local government agencies as well as the schools, colleges and universities here.
What are some of the problems a company like yours faces when selling to the New Jersey state government or the schools?
Contracts are always a limitation. Often this type of business is put out to bid. You have to follow up on bids and play the waiting game. It’s complex. When you talk about the difference between doing business with a corporation versus doing business with the government, there are a lot more steps involved, and the sales cycle is usually much longer.
We are focusing on working more closely with the government, being on the leading edge. Before contracts go out for RFP [request for proposal], we want to understand what is happening with that particular entity, what their needs are and what kind of technology they are looking for. We want to help them build out the RFP by helping them ascertain what their needs are going to be in the future and figure out what kind of technologies they should be looking for.
How did you prepare your sales force to make this push?
Frankly, we’ve recruited sales talent with government experience. Additionally, we continually train our sales teams in how to engage and sell into this vertical.
What do you see as trends in the N.J. government and educational market? What are your customers buying?
Virtualization is still a trend. We see server virtualization, [and] desktop, application and even network virtualization. From a storage perspective, organizations — both in [the] public and private sector — are experiencing exponential data growth … . You have all these schools, universities and government entities with massive amounts of data and producing more every day. They have to back the data up, be able to recover the data, in a secure environment. They must have a disaster recovery plan in place. They need a failover plan of action, should any system fail, in order to maintain business continuity.
Beyond this, government and universities are looking at data as business intelligence. We are helping them derive business value from all this information they are collecting, so they can use it to serve their students, their administrations or even the public.
Security is also a big trend, with the Bring Your Own Device movement occurring in government and education. We deal with the security around that. We work with many of the leading software publishers and hardware manufacturers that provide the services, protection and backup for these organizations.