An MSP for public clouds including AWS, Reliam has been utilizing significant funding from Great Hill Partners to fund acquisitions and organic growth. This resulted in the recently-announced merger joining Reliam with fellow MSPs and AWS Advanced Consulting Partners Stratalux and G2 Tech Group. With the three companies combining into a single business and consolidating a wealth of AWS and cloud services expertise, HostingJournalist.com sat down with Reliam CEO Simon Anderson (former CEO of DreamHost, from 2011 – 2015) to discuss the merger, as well as the future of both the company and the hosting and cloud market.
What about Stratalux and G2 Tech Group made them interesting to Reliam as merger partners?
Both Stratalux and G2 Tech Group presented us with opportunities to quickly expand our service capabilities as well as our customer reach, from the perspectives of serving new regions as well as attracting customers in more industry verticals. Beyond having the chance to team up and unite our talents with two of the most respected AWS partners out there, we also recognized the very natural and compelling cultural fit that each company brought to the table.
What kinds of expertise and capabilities has Reliam gained through these mergers, and what’s the strategic value of that expanded skillset?
Joining our three companies into one has allowed us to significantly increase the range of AWS technical and strategic proficiencies we’re able to offer. Our combined team of cloud operations experts and solutions architects now features 80 AWS certifications. From G2 Tech Group we’ve gained AWS-recognized competencies in DevOps, Healthcare, and Life Sciences. The DevOps component is especially valuable and is enhanced thanks to the continued support and deep expertise of the Boston-based DevOps and AWS communities which G2 is able to leverage. At the same time, we’ve now assembled expertise in a wider set of domains, working with businesses across the media and entertainment, mobile gaming, digital media, marketing, e-commerce, and software-as-a-service industries, to name a few.
Reliam is based in Los Angeles. How did geographical relevance play into your expansion strategy?
Geographic presence was a very strategic factor as we identified and pursued Stratalux and G2 Tech Group as potential partners. With Stratalux a close neighbor in Los Angeles, teaming up with them meant we were able to strengthen our presence throughout the Southern California region. We targeted G2 Tech Group in part due to its stellar reputation on the East Coast, and the established presence offered by its Boston headquarters and connections in the Northeast. Altogether, the mergers have yielded our unified organization coast-to-coast geographic coverage from which we can more capably serve customers from Boston to L.A. – and everywhere in-between.
What other investments are needed with regard to supporting further organic growth at Reliam?
Having assembled this all-star team of AWS experts on the technical side, we’re now making investments to rapidly grow our sales and marketing teams in support of our combined business. We’re actively hiring personnel for sales, solution architects, customer success representatives, and other positions that enable us to quickly pursue our aggressive growth goals. Through these investments and by acquiring talent on the sales and marketing side, we plan to introduce many new customers to the benefits of managed AWS services, including the operational, efficiency, and cost advantages we’re able to deliver.
How will your three combined companies operate going forward, and are more mergers or acquisitions on the horizon?
For the near term, Reliam, Stratalux, and G2 Tech Group will continue to operate as we have been, using the current brand names. From a customer perspective, we’re making sure that there won’t be any disruption. Customers have the same points of contact and can expect service that’s the same or better since they now have our expanded resources at their disposal.
Looking to the future, we will be developing a new brand identity for our combined organization, which we expect to unveil a little later this year. In many ways, the fact that we’re proceeding to merge the companies into a single brand is a testament to our natural cultural fit. It’s made for a harmonious merger, in which the leaders at each company enthusiastically nurtured the process of joining our businesses together, and they remain at top leadership positions within the organization working to achieve the next-level success that the combined company is now capable of.
As far as anticipating future acquisitions, we do plan to continue sizing up possible opportunities wherever we see compelling matches that could enhance our business from a strategic, geographic, technical, or cultural perspective. However, we’ll remain very selective in looking at these possibilities, especially given our current focus on unifying the brand and reaching out to new customers.
Reliam was founded 16 years ago. What makes it an interesting company for investment and for pursuing expansion at this moment in time?
The managed cloud services space is currently growing rapidly, driven by demand from businesses that wish to realize the many advantages that public cloud platforms such as AWS have to offer (and that require expert assistance to do so most optimally). This shift towards the widespread utilization of managed cloud services allows companies to entrust cloud infrastructure management to knowledgeable professionals while concentrating their own resources on developing their products and their businesses.
What aspects of the Reliam business are you most proud of?
We’re certainly proud of our close alignment with AWS and our leadership in helping businesses to realize their potential and the full advantages of the platform. For example, Reliam is among a select few cloud service providers to be a launch partner within the AWS Well-Architected Partner Program, which enables us to review and remediate customers’ workloads to optimize infrastructure architecture within the principles and best practices of the AWS Well-Architected Framework. Together with Stratalux and G2 Tech Group, we’re proud of all three brands’ status as Advanced AWS Consulting Partners, and of the specific AWS-recognized competencies in DevOps, Healthcare and Life Sciences that we hold through G2 Tech Group. Most of all we’re proud of the effective and efficient 24/7 managed services and support we’re able to provide for our customers, from strategic consulting to optimizing cloud architecture to reducing costs and more.
What companies are you competing with?
AWS revenue grew 49% last quarter, and with that level of explosive growth, there is a shortage of certified solutions architects and cloud operations engineers to deliver all of the projects and workloads out there. With plenty of managed services and consulting to go round, our main competition is companies choosing to build an internal team to manage their apps and data on AWS. That said, we see Logicworks, 2nd Watch, and Onica in the market and respect what each company brings to the market.
What do you think Reliam will look like in the market within, say, three years?
As we’ve demonstrated with our current merger activity, our intention is to occupy a strong, long-term position within this industry, and to continue to strengthen and expand our footprint in the coming years. Doing so certainly means increasing our employee count and the range of expertise and specific industry and technical expertise we have at our command, as well as ensuring we geographical reach that properly serves our purposes. It’s fair to look at the mergers and growth of our capabilities we’re now engaged in and extrapolate that we’ll continue to grow aggressively as a forceful presence in the cloud managed services space.
What lessons learned at DreamHost did you take with you as you now lead Reliam’s business?
Move fast, take chances. It’s good to get the best information when making decisions, but I’ve learned that often 65-70% of the relevant information is enough to make a good decision. And even though we are a tech business, we are also very much a people business – so looking after our team and helping them grow personally and professionally is what we are all about.
Reliam is more of a services organization than DreamHost is. In terms of scalability, that probably requires quite a different approach. Can you share with us how different this business is from DreamHost and what it takes to make your business proposition a scalable one anyway?
From a services standpoint, increasing our capacity to meet customers’ needs at a greater scale is certainly a function of building up an expert and experienced support team. In this way, Reliam is well positioned for scalability as a services organization, especially following our recent mergers. With our business now featuring 80 AWS certifications across our solutions architects and cloud operations personnel, as well as the range of knowledge earned through working with customers in a wide variety of industries, we feel well-prepared for meeting the needs of new customers as we scale and grow.
As an MSP, Reliam is still also offering ‘traditional’hosting services. What’s the importance of delivering these services compared to managed services like AWS Managed Services?
Reliam still supports some data center customers, but we are 100% focused on managing AWS for new customers.
Looking 5-7 years ahead, what will be the position of MSPs like Reliam in the global hosting/cloud market?
I believe MSPs like Reliam will be trusted partners to companies transforming their application infrastructure and will command an ever larger slice of the market for specialized management of cloud environments.
To learn more about MSP Reliam, visit the Reliam website.