No Panic Computing prepares to grow up-market

Published: May 10th, 2010

After introducing its notebook-as-a-service offering to the small business market in Canada and the U.S. a few years ago, No Panic Computing (NPC) is now prepared to grow up-market.

The company, which is led by president and CEO, Larry Keating, is based in Markham, Ont. and is a wholly-owned company of Keating Technologies, although it is run independently.

The business aims to deliver professionals with a fully encrypted, worry-free notebook computing experience which includes hardware, software, services and backup, all for a fixed monthly cost. This offering is made possible from NPC thanks to partnerships with HP, Intel and Iron Mountain and with the support of Harry Zarek of Compugen, as the company’s investment partner.

Tom Ward, vice-president of marketing at NPC, said since the offering was launched a couple years ago, it’s been “very successful (in) penetrating the small business market. We’ve spent most of our efforts going after small business professionals and targeting financial advisors, lawyers and accountants,” he added.

With its success in the small business market, Ward said the company will be ramping up its growth plans to also target larger businesses. To help spearhead this effort, the company hired Harry deHaas two months ago as its new vice-president of sales. Prior to NPC, deHaas was a senior strategic sales consultant at Quest Software.

In his new role at NPC, deHaas is responsible for generating revenue for the company, its sales strategy, customer relationship management and the development and leadership of NPC’s sales organization.

“The NPC solution is perfect for the small business professional but now we’re finding some of the larger organizations (up-market) that have 50 or hundreds of professionals within their organization see NPC as a good alternative for (computing) because of the cost of managing that endpoint,” deHaas said. “This is a good solution (to go up-market with) because (businesses) can now spend their time on bigger picture issues. We’re having dialogues now with enterprises that have as many as thousands of seats.”

DeHaas says moving up-market will be more of a “long-term play,” since NPC’s focus right now is on daily run rate business focusing primarily on the SMB market. Also, he said that in the future, the SMB space will always be a central focus for the company.

Moving forward, the company is also looking to expand its reach further into U.S. market within the next 12-18 months, at which point deHaas says NPC will be on the lookout for local U.S.-based VARs.

Customers can take advantage of the notebook-as-a-service offering for a fixed monthly cost starting at $129.95 a month, based on a 36-month lease term. For its tablet offering, the cost is $149.95 per month.

There are currently four models available for the service, running on HP Elitebook computers. These include the HP8540p (15.6-inch), HP 8440p (14-inch), HP2530p (12-inch) and the HP2730p (a 12-inch tablet). The NPC solution includes the notebook or tablet, as well as IT services which include things such as remote backup, security, monitoring, remote troubleshooting, remote repair, 24/7 helpdesk, and more.

In a previous interview with CDN, Keating said with NPC, the notebooks are completely encrypted and are backed up with Iron Mountain.

“Customer data is stored in Iron Mountain’s data centres so if a notebook is ever lost, damaged or stolen, we can replace the notebook with all of the customer’s data on it from the last time it was backed up to the Web,” Keating explained. “This is a foolproof system because customers will never lose their data since it’s always secure.”

To help deliver NPC, the company relies on VARs, in addition to its direct sales force. Ward says the company is currently in VAR-build out mode, but would not get into number-specific partner goals, nor would he say how much of NPC’s overall business goes through the channel.

“The channel is an important part of our business,” he said. “Our goal is not in the hundreds or the thousands, because we really want to align ourselves with a small number of high producers VARs and we’re prepared to support them in order to be successful.”

For deHaas, he says the concept of being able to purchase a notebook-as-a-service is a “huge paradigm shift and a culture change,” that requires educating the end-user community.

“Our biggest challenge has been educating the end-consumer (and letting them know) that there’s another way to compute,” he said. “But end-customers are starting to come around now and we’ll continue expanding our geographical and vertical market reach.”