Blue Crystal Solutions has celebrated 15 years of operation this August, and has faced its fair share of trials, tribulation and triumphs over the years in order to stay relevant in an ever-changing landscape.
Its story starts in the early 2000's when Vito Rinaldi was working as a database administrator and then an MIT manager at EDS, but he thought he could be doing a better job, differently. He decided to leave in 2004 and started up Blue Crystal Solutions along with a single employee.
That point of difference, as explained by Blue Crystal Solutions’ marketing executive James Banister, was to “try to give customers more of a personal, higher service level experience”, to treat customers as people, rather than just a number.
In its first year of operation, Blue Crystal Solutions struck up a deal with energy company AGL. From there, Blue Crystal Solutions made a name for itself in the energy industry, also striking a deal with Energy Australia in 2007.
Additionally, the MSP entered the healthcare industry with SA Health in 2014, education industry with Catholic Education South Australia in 2006 and government, oil and gas, telecommunications, food and beverage and mining industries.
Blue Crystal has partnered with Oracle for the last 13 years reaching gold partner status for the last six, with Microsoft for the last seven years reaching gold partner status just last month, Amazon Web Services for the last four years as an advanced consultant partner, Telstra for the last year and Google Cloud within the last 12 months.
It wasn’t easy to reach this point as the MSP's first office location was in the north western suburbs of Adelaide, instead of a more traditional location like the CBD. This meant there was a considerable distance between them and potential customers.
The other problem that arose was that Blue Crystal Solutions was unknown and up against some heavy competition. While there was a lack of reseller presence in Adelaide, there was still some heavy hitters the MSP had to deal with.
“The challenge there was that no one had heard of the company, and no one really knew who they were. So it was a case of being within proximity of customers and being taken seriously as a household name,” Banister said.
To overcome both challenges, Blue Crystal Solutions made the move to Hindmarsh Square in 2010, located within the Adelaide CBD, which opened up opportunities according to Banister.
“Suddenly, this small to medium size company who are operating in the CBD, who, are doing well for themselves but have relatively little exposure within the market, [are now] creating opportunities within Adelaide,” he said.
“Within half an hour, we need to be down on within customer's IT departments to look at issues or to resolve issues. And that's something that we were able to do with the move to the city.”
From two employees to a current 36, Blue Crystal Solutions has seen business boom in the last few years, experiencing a 38 per cent rise in employees over the last two years and an approximate 30 per cent rise in revenue over the last three years.
Looking over the last 10 years, revenue has grown over 400 per cent. Banister explained that the cause behind the recent boom in business success lies with how the MSP has developed their partner relationships through channels and alliances.
“If you've got four or five things that you claim you do, people are probably going to forget three or four of them,” he said. “But if you just say you've got one or two, you become more memorable within the minds of your partners.
“Once you prove yourself with a couple of wins, they know when to come to you, and they know what to come to you for as well.”
One area in particular Blue Crystal Solutions has been building up is the development of cloud platforms. Over the last five years, the MSP has partnered with Azure, AWS, Google Cloud and Oracle, which Banister believes has established a value proposition that has landed well with customers.
“The way we positioned ourselves and the messaging that we're providing to our customers and our partners, is really quite effective,” Banister said.
“That's been driving a lot of business through the doors.”
Banister added with so many IT providers in the market, covering too many areas can result in exhaustion, so working on a few areas was more manageable and successful for the MSP.
“When you look at the technology stack, you know, you've got applications, you've got operating systems, you've got database, you've got networking, you got security; you've got all those functions that fall under IT,” Banister said.
“And for us, it's about becoming more specific within those functions about what it is that we want to offer.”
The last 15 years have spelt out certain success for Blue Crystal Solutions, and there are strategies to propel the MSP forward.
In addition to the refinement of Blue Crystal Solution’s offerings, the MSP has recently doubled its sales personnel as it looks at an aggressive growth plan.
Another focus for Blue Crystal Solutions this year is to enter into a new market. While the company is currently working on approximately five ideas, one is software for small renewable energy businesses.
“That's a product that we're probably 80 per cent of the way through finalising at the moment, it's in development. And once that's completed, I think that'll be another focus of ours to tackle,” Banister shared.
“One of the major industry challenges, which is to be able to progress the renewable energy industry, and make it make it more accessible and make it more efficient for the smaller renewable companies, the small start-ups, that are trying to provide solutions to non-renewable energy sources.”
Blue Crystal offers architecture, performance management, data security, implementations, licensing and managed services across Cloud, Oracle and Microsoft technologies.