Coffs Harbour MSP's acquisition propels expansion into Port Macquarie

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Coffs Harbour MSP's acquisition propels expansion into Port Macquarie
Brian Townley

Coffs Harbour-headquartered C3 Group reckons it’s in a good place, both geographically and strategically.

The managed service provider recently scored a batch of new customers in a new city, after acquiring the client list of Port Macquarie’s Baker IT, which wound down its operations in December.

From the deal, C3 has gained more than a dozen new managed clients in the 30-100 seat range, and found suitable alternative service provider homes for the smaller customers on the acquired list.

The move has seen C3 establish a sought-after foothold in Port Macquarie, with a new office there marking the businesses’ physical expansion in the northern NSW region.

“We’ve always had a long-term vision to expand our geographic coverage of the mid-north coast,” C3 Group general manager Brian Townley told CRN.

“We’ve been in business for over 24 years, we’re quite a large, successful MSP in Coffs Harbour, and we were always planning to expand into Port Macquarie.”

“The market up here is very strong and the acquisition has certainly generated a lot of interest. We’re doing a lot of work with potential clients now and on-boarding new clients that weren’t part of the acquisition.”

C3, a Gold-level Microsoft, StorageCraft, Watchguard and 3CX partner, sees its four major customer verticals as being health and medical, not-for-profits, hospitality and manufacturing.

While based in Coffs Harbour, the company operates nationally through its outsourced ICT support and it’s own private-hybrid cloud, which this year is getting an upgrade on the back of positive growth and customer awareness.

“Hybrid cloud is a big part of what we do and in many cases it’s a good fit, in other cases on-prem is still the best way to go for some services,” Townley said.

“Software dictates a lot of cases. The line of business applications a client is using will determine which way we go, in addition to how much legacy is in a business. We do a lot of hybrid cloud, choosing the best-fit solution for the client.

“We’re certainly leveraging public cloud offerings as well as having our private cloud offerings, that gives us true flexibility.”

Like the experience of many other MSPs in Australia, C3 is catering to evolving technologies and shifting client buying trends.

“There’s definitely a business shift to subscription, we’re seeing it. We’re not doing as many huge capex infrastructure projects that we once were,” Townley said.

“So hardware investment is obviously shrinking considerably. By leveraging cloud, software is moving to subscription models, shifting capex spend to opex.

“We’re seeing a lot of our clients are also renting equipment versus buying outright, so there is definitely a market shift, and it makes sense. Our business is about a monthly recurring service model, so why not match that to software licensing, to hardware and all those others things?

“I seriously think this year, hardware-as-a-service will be the thing many MSPs add to their offering.”

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