‘Cybersecurity is the number-one priority for CTI. We need to ensure customers are secure. And we’re really good at it. We have all the processes in play. And seeing a mature company like MacHero having such a gap in cybersecurity shows us there is a real potential uptick on the services we can provide our customers,’ says CTI Technology CEO Aaron Kane.
CTI Technology is looking to expand its managed services capabilities, particularly in cybersecurity, for the Apple business market with the acquisition of MacHero, a Chicago-based Apple-focused IT services provider.
With the acquisition, which is the first for CTI Technology, the company gets access to a large pool of business clients who have not had access to the kinds of managed services CTI provides, said Aaron Kane, CEO of the Elgin, Ill.-based managed services provider.
CTI made the acquisition, the value of which was not disclosed, in response to a large need by Apple and Mac business users for the kinds of managed services businesses have come to expect, particularly as users return to the office as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes, Kane told CRN.
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“During the pandemic, we mobilized thousands of people for work from home,” he said. “There was a big shortage of PCs. So we started getting people to use whatever equipment they had including Macs and iPads. People were using whatever they had.”
Apple and most businesses have not done a good job when it comes to management of Apple products in business environments, Kane said.
“IT managers have put Apple in the back when it comes to management,” he said. “They don’t understand how to support them. But as employees are coming back to the office, they are saying they are using a Mac at home with two monitors and don’t want to go to an office with a PC and one monitor. They say they are more productive working from home.”
Before acquiring MacHero, Kane said he had been researching business opportunities when he saw a real need for bringing managed services to the Apple world.
“We worked with customers’ Apple products well enough,” he said. “We weren’t winning awards or anything. So finding a way that let us manage and support Apple products required an acquisition. And MacHero is not only a great company, but also a great name. It’s a cool marketing play.”
While MacHero offered some managed services for Apple-focused users and provided them with “white glove” service, services availability is still relatively limited in the Mac world compared to the PC business, Kane said.
“We’re seeing several key industry vendors starting to pick up on the need to support Mac products,” he said. “Not all vendor technologies in our solution set transfer to the Mac world. So there will be a learning curve. And I believe the near future will see more sync between PC and Mac services mainly because of the cloud experience.”
While cybersecurity has been a top priority for CTI, MacHero did not have the people or resources to bring cybersecurity services to its clients, Kane said.
“Cybersecurity is the number-one priority for CTI,” he said. “We need to ensure customers are secure. And we’re really good at it. We have all the processes in play. And seeing a mature company like MacHero having such a gap in cybersecurity shows us there is a real potential uptick on the services we can provide our customers.”
With the acquisition, CTI has grown its total headcount to 20, up from 16 before the purchase, Kane said. CTI also gets a downtown Chicago location, which it will keep, to go with its Elgin-based headquarters, which is about 40 miles outside the city. MacHero’s former owner will transition to a role at CTI, he said.
CTI is a profitable company and funded the acquisition through its internal cash, Kane said.
The COVID pandemic not only meant an increase in business as clients first sent employees to work from home and are now bringing many back to the office, Kane said.
“Through the pandemic, we hired a company to streamline our processes,” he said. “If we did that 10 years ago, we’d be a 50-person company with multiple locations today. It’s easy to look at new ways to make more sales. But if you slow down and look at your processes, you can see many ways to grow your business and make it more profitable.”