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MNJ Makes Digital Transformation Play Via New Ignyte Business Unit

Joseph F. Kovar

‘This is something the midmarket is demanding. The midmarket hasn’t really been served well with digital transformation. Those clients are looking for someone to aggregate solutions for them. With the investment in talent and services, we can reduce the time needed to do this,’ says MNJ Technologies COO Ben Niernberg.

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IT solutions provider MNJ Technologies on Tuesday officially launched a new business unit, Ignyte, as a way to bring digital transformation to clients looking to improve their modern IT capabilities.

Ignyte was launched as a separate business unit because many clients have already attempted digital transformation via traditional solution providers and then through MSPs without success, said Ben Niernberg (pictured), chief operating officer at Buffalo Grove, Ill.-based MNJ.

“Customers need to digitally transform,” Niernberg told CRN. “But the digital transformation sales cycles are different, and the talent is different, from what is available through traditional solution providers. Our processes need to be different. So we are forming a separate business unit.”

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The Ignyte organization has its own sales, pre-sales engineers, product marketing, and other dedicated people amounting to a staff of about 45 people. The unit shares IT systems and some accounting resources with the rest of the company, said Niernberg, who heads the new business unit.

Between the hardware, software, engineering, marketing, and personnel resources, MNJ is investing multiple seven-figures of dollars into Ignyte, Niernberg said.

“But this is something the midmarket is demanding,” he said. “The midmarket hasn’t really been served well with digital transformation. Those clients are looking for someone to aggregate solutions for them. With the investment in talent and services, we can reduce the time needed to do this.”

MNJ, listed at No. 128 on CRN’s 2021 Solution Provider 500 and on CRN’s 2021 Managed Service Provider 500, is in the right place to make such a digital transformation play, Niernberg said.

“There’s not a lot of $200-million-plus solution providers,” he said. “We’re small enough to be nimble and large enough to have the right resources. This is a big undertaking. We need to create two business plans and look at how to wrap services around this. And we need to create a way to get into this business.”

Where traditional solution providers fail is thinking they can do digital transformation the same as they do other parts of their business, Niernberg said.

“But it doesn’t work,” he said. “You need to create a team rooted in the right processes and methodologies to do it. Everybody in MNJ is focused on recurring revenue.”

And yet digital transformation must happen, Niernberg said.

“IT is being asked to solve big problems by making companies more profitable and raising the top line,” he said. “It’s something we’ve never seen before. IT is being asked to do so much in this area with things like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and voice integration in the cloud. If companies want to do this on their own, they’ll find 20 different providers and will need 12 months. If they can shorten that to four months, imagine the impact. That is what Ignyte is all about.”

The business environment for initiatives like Ignyte is strong, Niernberg said.

“The demand for cloud optimization and consumption and cloud communications is strong,” he said. “COVID accelerated all this. And companies are looking to do more without adding more resources. That’s why we made this investment.”

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