Ricoh Gets Into MSP Business With mindSHIFT Buy
January 27, 2014 Alex Woodie
If you thought that all Ricoh did was make copiers, printers, and cameras, think again. Last week, the Japanese company announced an agreement to buy mindSHIFT Technologies, an American managed service provider (MSP) with a considerable IBM i hosting business.
Ricoh is well-known for its line of multi-function printers and–since its $725 million acquisition of IBM‘s InfoPrint division-product–production printers, too. But in addition to manufacturing things that print and scan, the $20-billion company also develops document management software and offers a range of IT services. And in Japan, it is an IBM server reseller that hawks Power Systems gear, and is a big IBM i partner as well.
The company’s IT services business–which currently involves some 8,000 specialists–is poised to grow following the acquisition of mindSHIFT, a Waltham, Massachusetts, company that provides MSP and cloud hosting services to more than 6,900 clients in the U.S., primarily among small and midsized companies.
Ricoh says that, when the deal is complete (likely next month), mindSHIFT will continue to operate as an independent entity, with the same management team and capabilities. mindSHIFT currently has a workforce of 650 employees in a dozen offices and data centers around the country. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but considering mindSHIFT’s growth, the price tag is likely higher than the $167 million that consumer tech retailer Best Buy paid to buy mindSHIFT two years ago.
The MSP has close ties with several IBM i software vendors, and there’s no reason why this won’t continue. Among the partners are ERP software developer VAI (it hosts S2K Enterprise software on IBM i servers at its Long Island, New York, facility) and Maxava (it hosts replicated IBM i environments for the high availability software company’s clients).
mindSHIFT also provides a private IBM i cloud environment. The company’s IBM i hosting businesses directly accounted for about 10 percent of its $100 million-a-year business in 2011, mindSHIFT officials told IT Jungle in an interview earlier that year.
mindSHIFT president and CEO Mona Abutaleb says she is excited about the acquisition. “The impact of having a well-respected brand like Ricoh tied to our market leadership will bring great benefits to current and new customers around the country,” she says in a statement announcing the deal.