New CEO Says CompassMSP Is Still Looking To Acquire MSPs With 'Strong Leadership Ties' To SMBs

Emerging managed services provider CompassMSP has hired technology and telecom services veteran Tom Praschak as its new president and CEO, the company announced Monday.

Praschak, previously the president and chief executive officer of Strategic Products & Services, joins CompassMSP with more than 25 years of services business leadership and a clear vision for how the Jacksonville, Fla.-based company will grow to become a national service provider for small and midsized businesses.

The key point: Praschak said business and technical relationships would remain local, allowing CompassMSP to maintain a high-touch approach with its clients.

[Related: Getting Off The Ground: Q&A With George Ferris Of New Service Provider CompassMSP]

"This market's very fragmented. There's a lot of little players," said Praschak, who has been in his new role for about two months. "Our approach is building enterprise-quality managed services for the SMB market, balancing the right feature set at the right price for this marketplace."

Founded in October 2016, CompassMSP has significant financial backing from investors such as Bilgola Capital, giving it the ammo to pursue aggressive growth both through organic investment and an "opportunistic" mergers and acquisitions strategy.

The company has already made two acquisitions: WorldwideIT, also headquartered in Jacksonville, and Miami-based Cubed Group. Both purchases strengthen CompassMSP's foothold in the Southeast.

Moving forward, Praschak said CompassMSP would target solution providers that have built a mature managed services mix, strong local client relationships – particularly at the leadership level – and a corporate culture that matches its own. Companies that began life as product resellers and recently pivoted to the MSP model, for example, don't fit the bill, according to Praschak.

CompassMSP is particularly interested in "secondary markets" within the Eastern time zone. That means regions that don't already host a heavy concentration of SMB-focused managed services providers. Rather than sink resources into New York City or Atlanta, for instance, Praschak said he sees greater opportunity in areas like New Jersey or the growing Atlanta suburbs.

"We're going to be opportunistic where it matches our criteria. Where it doesn't, we will be doing it organically," Praschak said. "We're investing in those regions to grow them organically. If we're in a region, we want to dominate that region. We want to expand our presence there, which will ultimately help us in the long run."

"I'm really trying to go build deep relationships. My focus is where markets are not as developed," he added.

CompassMSP wants to expand its leadership team, too; it already has regional vice presidents in place at its Jacksonville and Miami locations. Praschak wants the company's investment dollars to support the growth of those two offices, the scaling of its marketing and sales departments and the establishment of strong financial controls.

The CompassMSP marketing approach will revolve around its existing relationships and client networks, but social media and inbound demand generation via its website will also play important roles in the company's customer acquisition strategy.

In addition to the sales and marketing teams, CompassMSP expects to centralize other select features of its operation, such as its data center capabilities.

Praschak wants to position CompassMSP as a trusted business partner for its clients and a company where engineers and other employees want to develop their careers. The end goal, he said, is to build long-term relationships with customers, business decision-makers, and the technical experts.

"IT is no longer about purely technology; it's about how you use technology, processes and people to solve the pain points of most businesses," Praschak said. "We're focused on becoming the client's IT partner, not to just deliver a better level of service, but to really become a partner." 

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