The Top 5 Outsourced Tech Support Companies in Roanoke
by Ian MacRae President and CEO, E-N Computers
Growing up in the small-town countryside north of Roanoke, visiting Roanoke was a trip to the big city for me as a youth. The glitz and glamor of Valley View Mall and its giant sandcastle. The allure of the latest big-screen TVs at Circuit City. All capped off with a trip to Italy at the Olive Garden – it was a very worldly way to spend the weekend as a country teenager.
What got me started with a career in IT was the used computer scene here in Roanoke. Used electronics I could afford to tinker with and upgrade myself could be purchased at Happy’s Flea. Soon I was buying from the same wholesalers the Happy’s dealers were buying from, and I was in business for myself. Since the 1990s, a lot has changed around in our region. Blacksburg has grown up and built a nationally recognized tech scene. Many of Roanoke’s top 5 local IT providers have their roots in the last century, which indeed is a nostalgic time for me.
Entré Computer Center: Most Experienced IT Company in Roanoke
5) Entré Computer Center: What was more futuristic than computers in 1983? Barton Wilner knew we were all going digital back then when he founded Entre Computer Center. Still, with a strong following in the New River Valley, the Entre team supports many local businesses and non-profits. With five employees listed online, I look forward to Entre’s continued growth and branching into new services like cybersecurity.
Tech Squared: Best Big-Picture IT Thinkers in Roanoke
4) Tech Squared: Let’s face it, not everyone wants to think big picture or shoot for the best. Founder of Tech Squared, Sean Peters isn’t like other IT proprietors. Leading his team at Tech Squared, you can expect comprehensive IT solutions that enable business outcomes, rather than repairs and installations. The nimble Tech Squared team also punches above its weight class; check out the thought leadership of 7 free eBooks and educational cartoon fun of the Network Ninja.
Network Computing Group: Best Security-Focused IT Company in Roanoke
3) Network Computing Group: Today, we all trust others with our sensitive data. Often this trust is broken with a security breach, poor service levels, or irretrievable data loss. When bad things happen, it often leads to that “Come to Jesus” moment when you realize you should have verified your IT provider’s plans a little more and trusted a little less. The team at NCG is well-positioned for those “Come to Jesus” moments. Unlike some of the smaller IT shops in town, NCG has technical people dedicated to specialized roles such as project management and security. Having that specialization means you get better service because everyone isn’t praying that it will work because it’s their first time doing it. Mark Bowles has been an IT savior since 1994, and he has the digs to prove it. Visit Mark at the NCG home at the old church at 616 Salem Ave SW.
New River Computing: Best Company for Specialized IT Service in Roanoke
2) New River Computing: Broken technology can take a nip out of your business profits. When you need that quick repair, call New River Computing. NVR also offered hard to find engineering services such as Linux admin and building SQL server clusters. What I like about NVR is the team structure and long-term employees who can get the job done for you. NVR also offers managed services that stop cyber threats from taking a bite out of your business. When not protecting computers from security threats, George Probst of NVR is underwater taking pictures of Great White Sharks. E-N Computers has great cybersecurity specialists, but none that can say they’ve looked into the mouth of a great white shark!
Advanced Logic Industries: Best IT Company in Roanoke
1) Advanced Logic Industries: We’ve traveled through time, come to Jesus, and stared down sharks on our journey to the best IT engineering and support company based in Southwest Virginia. Based in Blacksburg and with one of the larger IT teams around ALI is my number one pick for Roanoke Valley outsourced IT. Since 1991 ALI has been led by Michael J. Barry, turning them into a data center and academic support powerhouse. Stable leadership has enabled growth into Lynchburg as well as into new lines of business such as Donoma, a business communications and voicemail analytics platform.
Choosing the Best IT Providers in Roanoke
Did I miss your favorite IT guy? A few ground rules for making my top 5 list. This list is for readers looking for a local, reliable IT service to support their business, usually a 20-100 employee company. And I’m looking for companies that are large enough to use a process-based approach, so that their customers can have service consistency.
Unfortunately this eliminates some players like PC Land Blacksburg and CyberLine Computers, who are more focused on consumer hardware sales and service. It also means we had to overlook some excellent IT consultancies like Business Data Systems, Inc. that offer a more craft-based approach, often through lead engineer owners.
I’ve also eliminated the big boys, which I find in two categories. Such as the out of town IT companies that could support you came here to support the big law firms’ Roanoke branch offices who are their bread and butter clients. Sorry ABS and ESI from Virginia Beach — you’ll have to get reviewed on your home turf. Lastly, Rackspace Technology and the 1901 Group are not looking to provide full-service IT solutions to mid-size companies. Although Rackspace sells solutions to mid-sized companies, you’ll probably need to hire an internal IT professional to manage them and support your local network. The 1901 Group is more focused on Fortune 1000 and government clients.
A Quick Shoutout
Let’s face it: the computer guy often doesn’t get much respect. Although we’re in tech and we’re a little more cutting edge than Larry the Cable Guy we’re often short a community of like minds. Not so here in south-side, we have to have our own place to feel at home the Roanoke – Blacksburg Technology Council – RBTC. They help connect the local tech scene, while not condescending to the network guy, over the intellectual property lawyer and venture funded software executives. Aside from getting to know these businesses through competition, I’ve personally been able to connect with many of the personalities at RBTC events.
Automation Creations, Inc.: Software people and IT people (Help Desk, Network Engineering, & etc.) often seem like oil and water. Software people pride themselves on elegant solutions that can run on 1% of your CPU, while the rest of IT tries to figure out why they did it so weirdly. Although it’s a weird shop where you’ll find network support and software design under one roof, ACI has been pulling it off for years. I decided their network support group was too small to make my list of top IT engineering outsourcing companies.
Ethos Technologies ETHOS: Nowadays every phone guy wants to install your network and every copier company wants to manage your computers. Blue Ridge Copiers of Salem has successfully made the transition to Ethos Technologies. After all, printers are little computers with lot of gears, so it makes sense. Although Ethos is well on their way to successfully playing in both worlds, I felt they were still too small in the ones in zeros engineering space and more focused on selling and support gears to make my list.
Getting Quality IT Support in Roanoke
The E-N Computers team also serves the Roanoke area with our fully managed IT service. If you are thinking about making a change in your IT department, check out these articles for further reading: