Uptime Systems: From MSP to nationally recognized CSP


Back in May, Talkin’ Cloud released its annual list of the top 100 Cloud Service Providers in the US. The list included industry powerhouses such as Amazon, Savvis and, of course, Intermedia. But it also included Uptime Systems—a Minneapolis-based “used-to-be MSP” that is punching well above its weight. So how did Uptime Systems make it on this list?

As you might expect, it didn’t happen by accident. It happened because Uptime Systems worked hard for it—and because they chose their cloud partners well.

Dennis Dimka founded Uptime Systems in 2005. As CEO, he was growing the company steadily as a Managed Service Provider until 2008. That’s when Dimka and his team—including Aaron Eittreim, VP of Business Development—made two key changes to their business model.


Company Profile:
Dennis Dimka founded Uptime Systems in 2005. As CEO, he grew the company steadily as a Managed Service Provider until 2008 when he transitioned Uptime to the cloud model.

Industry: Cloud Service Provider

Headquarters: Minneapolis, MN

Intermedia’s customer since: 2011

The Challenge

First, they decided to transition from the MSP model to the cloud model—not just because it was right for their business, but because it was right for their clients. “The case for the cloud was as compelling to our clients as it was to us,” said Dimka. “When we began presenting the economic case for cloud versus on-premises computing, our clients were immediately receptive—even excited.”

Once the focus of the business turned to cloud computing, growth accelerated dramatically. Momentum grew over 2008 and 2009 as more small businesses embraced this new model. In 2011 and 2012, Uptime’s total business grew 50% and 64% respectively.

More importantly, cloud-based services grew 145% in 2012—and now represent 75% of the company’s revenue stream.

The second decision Uptime Systems made in 2008 was to focus on and expand their expertise in the legal market. This, too, paid off—today, two-thirds of their business is centered on the legal vertical. And now much of their marketing—including online advertising and telemarketing—focuses on bringing the benefits of the cloud to legal services around the country.

“Our vision is to become the go-to company for cloud services for attorneys,” says Dimka. “We choose to work with attorneys because they have a lot to gain from the cloud. They have a lot at stake. Security, reliability, mobility, flexibility and business continuity are all critical to law firms, and most law offices simply cannot accept technology problems. Add to that the very compelling financial case for the cloud and it’s a great opportunity for the majority of legal offices.”

The Solution

One of Uptime’s critical success factors has been putting together a suite of world-class solutions. Some have been developed in-house, while others are the product of partnerships with companies like Abacus Law—and Intermedia.

“Our partnerships are key to our success,” says Eittreim. “Intermedia provides the highest quality services and support in the industry. It’s a critical part of our Exchange Email and Cloud PBX service offerings.”

“Our relationship with Intermedia is foundational to our cloud strategy,” he adds. “We do business with them because, like Uptime Systems, they are all about the customer.”

Intermedia provides the highest quality services and support in the industry.

AARON EITTREIM, VP of Business Development, Uptime Systems,

Products They Use

The Results

As Uptime Systems becomes a leader in cloud services, Dimka offers some advice for his MSP peers about their future. “When developing your cloud strategy, you can’t have a defensive Cloud strategy. If you’re an MSP and you want to thrive, drop the M and replace with it a C. Cloud Service Provider isn’t just the next phase of evolution for IT providers—it’s the next phase of evolution for computing as a whole.”

When asked to provide more advice, Dimka and Eittreim came up with a few additional thoughts for MSPs and VARs who are on the road to the cloud. These include:

Finally, both Dimka and Eittreim had one final piece of advice for moving into the cloud. “Great partnerships are what it is really all about,” they both agreed. “Our partnerships with companies like Intermedia are critical to our success in delivering solutions to our clients.

“The cloud services we deliver to our clients become a critical element in their success with their clients—and so on, and so on,” they said. “A great partnership chain delivers value from end-to-end.”

Partnership, in other words, is key to the cloud. And it’s such a powerful catalyst that even Talkin’ Cloud takes notice.

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