No.4: Solista, 2016 CRN Fast50

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This article appeared in the December 2016 issue of CRN magazine.

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No.4: Solista, 2016 CRN Fast50

Sydney’s Solista has put in the hard yards with customer relations and building vendor connections since its foundation in 2013. The work has paid off with the company’s debut at No.4 in the CRN Fast50.

Directors Noel Allnutt and Daniel Fuller say the business began gathering momentum in its first 18 months of operation, and this led to its blistering takeoff in 2016. The company grew 228 percent to reach $3.39 million for the year ending 30 June 2016.

“We’re only three years old now, and it takes a while for people to believe you’re going to be around for the long term,” says Allnutt. “When you are delivering next-generation solutions, naturally it takes time for customers to adopt your way of thinking. The next phase is for the customers to integrate you as a tactical supplier. The growth we have seen is really the result of the hard yards we put in the first year.”

Part of that early work was choosing the right technology. “We made the decision right at the beginning that we were going to push the best that was available, the latest, the next generation of technologies,” adds Fuller.

Solista works predominantly with Nimble Storage, Actifio, Pure Storage, Palo Alto, Zerto and Veeam to deliver storage and data solutions. One notable win this year was Veeam cloud-based backup for the National Rugby League. 

Solista combines technical know-how with a heavy focus on sales and marketing. “A lot of the traditional integrators are focused on the customer and the customer only,” says Allnutt. “Whereas we work very closely with our vendors. We’re unbelievably tight with our vendors… we like to see ourselves as an extension of their sales, marketing and technical teams. Our customers reap the benefits of that knowledge.”

Fuller adds: “That’s the key thing. We have strong technical resources ourselves, but in terms of product-specific knowledge, it’s never going to be as good on an individual basis as a technical resource from the vendor.

“The vendor sees value in partnering with us because we introduce them to as many organisations as possible with problems they can solve.

“The role of the integrator, reseller, consultancy – whichever way you want to put it – it’s got to be focused on the customer and also on the vendor. It’s a partnership on both sides. I think if you forget one of those, then that’s where you can end up stagnating,” adds Fuller.

The industry has undergone some dramatic changes. As a new company, Solista had the ability to hit the ground running. Behaving like a start-up is part of the secret to its success, the directors say: bring on a positive team, establish strong partnerships, celebrate wins both big and small, and try to have some fun doing it. 

“We give good incentives and we just have fun,” says Allnutt. “We’ve all got to work at the end of the day, so I say just make it fun and build a good community where everyone grows.”

The year ahead is already looking bright, says Allnutt. In 2017, Solista is “gunning for 100 percent growth”, planning to expand the team by 50 percent, and bolstering the security side of the business. 

Pictured above: Noel Allnutt and Daniel Fuller, directors, Solista


FAST FACTS

Founded  2013
Key execs Noel Allnutt and Daniel Fuller
HQ  Sydney
Growth 228.61%
2016 revenue  $3.39m
Top vendors  Zerto, Veeam, Nimble Storage, Pure Storage 

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