Burntsand expands reach with five regional centres

Canadian integrator Burntsand Inc. is taking a best practices approach to solutions selling and delivery by opening five regional centres across North America.

The first will be in Boston, servicing the North Eastern U.S.,

and others will follow within the company’s fiscal year. Toronto-based Burntsand operates in Vancouver, Ottawa and Calgary in Canada — the location of a Canadian centre has yet to be determined.

According to president and CEO of Burntsand Mel Steinke, the centres are design to expand the company’s sphere of influence in specific geographic regions across North America, but also replicate their success.

“”It’s a seeding model that allows us to take something we do very well for customers in one part of our geographic regions and create that core competency in other areas servicing other customers,”” he explained.

There will be three centres of excellence, which are designed to capture regional success and spread best practices throughout the organization, and two deployment centres to focus on the more practical aspects of service delivery.

The Boston centre of excellence will focus on Microsoft business solutions and other vendor partners will be brought on board to address service management solutions and enterprise content management solutions. The two deployment centres will focus on Web interface and Web service engagements.

Opening solution centres is a way for both integrators and vendors to develop regional markets, said IDC Canada analyst Steve McHale. “”Vendors and integrators are trying to get to a point where they can invest more in each other — I think the idea is basically a quid pro quo.””

For integrators in particular, it’s a useful way to get the attention of vendors — and customers — and garner investment, he added.

Steinke, who has been part of Burntsand since last October, said he was hired to help steer the company in this direction. “”I came on board as part of a strategy to essentially help take Burntsand to its next stage of evolution. It grew up as a very successful e-business company and built up a very strong e-business capability. My background was well suited to help Burntsand really figure out what to do with that.””

Steinke has worked with integrator DRT Systems International, which was part of Deloitte Consulting. That was subsquently bought out by CGI. Steinke remained at the Montreal integrator for a year before moving over to Waterloo, Ont.-based Descartes Systems, then Burntsand.

Burntsand has enjoyed some success in the past by partnering up with Sun Microsystems Inc. and opened the first Canadian Sun iForce Ready Centre in Calgary. The company strengthened its relationship with Sun earlier this year by delivering joint Web service solutions. Steinke said Burntsand’s relationship with Sun will continue — particularly in the area of Web services — but wouldn’t specify how the vendor fits into further centre of excellence/deployment centre plans.

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