Champion Solutions Group Aims to Make IT Simple

Article By Jessica Bryant – Data Reporter, South Florida Business Journal
Original Publish Date Oct 12th, 2018

 

With $123 million in revenue in 2017 and notable projects like the architecture, design and implementation of HBO Go’s storage system, there’s no denying that Champion Solutions Group has come a long way since it started as a used equipment broker in 1979.

Today, the IT solutions provider works to help companies increase productivity, reduce costs and mitigate risks, mainly as a systems integrator.

“The best way to describe it is like Uber,” CEO Christopher Pyle said. “Uber didn’t change transportation; they made it simple and useable in a different way. That’s what we always strive to do with our products. We’re simplifying the engagement layer between businesses and the cloud.”

As one of the largest Microsoft partners worldwide, he said Champion Solutions Group works closely with other companies to help navigate Office 365 and “unleash the optimal business value of it.”

“We essentially do all the infrastructure work that nobody really sees, but helps make the thing run,” Pyle said.

Founded nearly 40 years ago by Michael Baker, Champion Solutions Group launched with the sole focus of buying used computer equipment to break down and sell for parts. It wasn’t until 1992, the same year the company became an IBM solutions provider, that its focus began to shift.

“It was the start of our evolution,” said Pyle, who was the company’s sixth employee. “We did very well and created some innovative products at the time. Between ’92 and ’97 were very big, transformative years for us, and led us to where we are now.”

Between 2016 and 2017, Champion Solutions saw a $15 million increase in revenue, which Pyle credits to the introduction of several new products, most of which focused on helping companies migrate to Microsoft’s cloud.

“As more companies were migrating from an on-premise data center to the cloud, we really led the way with some of our solutions in and around productivity suites,” he said.

One of the most striking of those new products is CSP Boss, which is currently used by more than 1,200 companies and more than 250,000 employees.

Despite all the positives the company has seen, one of the biggest challenges it faces is routinely finding appropriate talent.

“It’s a war for talent,” Pyle said. “Finding the right people who fit the company culture, but then who are also smart and know where the puck is going with tech and can help push us forward. We’ve been blessed, but it’s not easy to find these people. Especially when Florida hasn’t really been known as a tech hub until recently.”

Champion Solutions Group is currently building a new product called Inscape 365. It’s in beta testing at this time, and Pyle says clients are responding well to it. As they continue to try to make IT as simple as possible, Pyle credits his team with the continued success of the company.

“Our biggest asset we have is the team that works and makes up Champion Solutions Group,” he said. “There’s no one person making things run, it’s a combined effort.”

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Erick Bacallao joined Champion Solutions Group in 2015 after a career of Software Development in Cuba at the National Cancer Care Institute of Cuba, followed by moving to the States with allAware.

 

Champion acquired allAware and its properties and Erick has utilized his extensive background and expertise in IT and Software Development to rise to VP of Product Development in less than 5 years. During this time, Erick has been involved with key projects that led to the launch of numerous products including CSP Boss, Inscape platform and 365 Productivity Insights.

 

Erick has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Havana. He won Gold Medals for Programming from the Ministry of Education in Cuba, and he is certainly still a Gold Medalist for Champion!

 

As President and CEO, Chris is responsible for the development of key strategic alliances and solution portfolio. He leads Champion’s go-to market and execution strategies for integrated offerings in the cloud, in security, and in digital infrastructure, always focusing on improving the customer experience and driving transformative business outcomes.

 

He also aligns key partner initiatives with company strategy and oversees corporate marketing and messaging to gain mindshare with customers and partners. It’s his vision and innovativeness that have catapulted Champion up the ranks to become a $100M+ organization—and one of the most respected solution providers in the industry.

 

Over the past two decades, Chris has also focused on mergers and acquisitions, as well as innovative product development. He is the original founder and an active member on the Board of Managed Maintenance, Inc., a SAAS provider and consulting firm that utilizes their award-winning One-View Portal to help the IT Channel and its customers manage their IT Maintenance.

 

Chris is also the original founder and chief strategist behind one of the original storage cloud providers, Storage Access / BluePoint. During the course of a few short years, he had raised $20M and took that company public on the Toronto Stock Exchange. It has since been acquired by Pomeroy.

 

In 2012, Chris led the acquisition of MessageOps and continued the product development and worldwide launch of its premier SAAS, 365 Command. Built on Microsoft Azure, 365 Command is currently managing over 1 million seats of Microsoft’s Office 365. After achieving this phenomenal milestone, 365 Command and other MessageOps O365 utilities were sold to Kaseya.

 

Over the past 35 years, Chris as worked tirelessly to not only advance his own career, but those of his employees. In addition to leading a $100M organization, Chris can also be found sitting with sales teams, cold calling and coaching, and validating why Champion has been listed on Best Places to Work by both South Florida Business Journal and Computerworld.

Ultimately, the success garnered by Champion Solutions Group, its associated companies, and their employees is due in large part to the leadership of its President and CEO. Perhaps the most fitting award Chris has earned is South Florida Business Journal’s 2013 Ultimate CEO Award.