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High Tech News Today interviews Avantex's CEO

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Jun. 30, 2011

High Tech News Today is pleased to interview Jim Taylor, president and founder of Avantex, one of North-America's oldest and strongest Web hosting companies, and a leader in Cloud Hosting, Internet network infrastructure and managed hosting services.

Avantex has quickly become the Web hosting industry leader in today's cut-throat Web hosting business. Avantex's well-known reputation for quality, dependability and reliability has made them the envy of many Web hosting companies. We recently interviewed Jim Taylor, founder and president of Avantex, to get some of his views on today's Web hosting industry, and the promising future at Avantex.


Avantex has riveted the Web hosting business with a resounding shotgun blow, gaining well over 260,000 clients in it's short 17 year history. That's quite a feat in itself and you are congratulated for it. Do you see this expansive growth rate maintaining itself, and if so, when should we expect to see 400,000 customers?

Avantex has experienced phenomenal success for a number of good reasons. Today, our company is one of the industry leaders, and we are looking at new and substantially different challenges now then when we went into business in 1994. Our senior management team focus on facing such challenges, and the other part concentrates on positioning Avantex for it's continued growth for the next 10 years.

As the founding president, I am very excited about our companyís future. Additionally, I believe that a large part of our current, as well as our future success will be centered on constantly delivering the highest quality of hosting services to our existing client base.

On any given day, I spend a lot of time concentrating on how we can do a better job offering hosting and managed hosting services to Fortune 500 companies, as well as small and medium-size businesses. Avantex is well on track to acquire our next 250,000 paid members in considerably less time then our first 100,000.

Finally, our main goal is to be the first Web hosting provider to reach 1,000,000 paid website hosting accounts, both on the corporate level as well as managed hosting services.


Jim, what do you specifically attribute Avantex's success to?

One word: to the great people working in all our data centers, as well as our fast technical support department. Without these experienced and dedicated individuals, we could not have accomplished so much in such little time. Avantex has most assuredly the best technical team in our industry. I guess you could say that we perform best under a lot of pressure, and we are quick to respond to market changes or variations in industry trends. Additionally, we always are improving our network. In fact, Avantex's network has been IPv6 ready since February 2009, so for us, participating in World IPv6 Day on June 8 was an immediate success.

The other, and most probably significant factor, is that we are privately held and the fact that Avantex has no debt. Also, our company is fully self-financed and doesn't rely on any outside investors or private placements of any kind. At the end of the day, it makes it very simple and straight forward for us to rapidly implement or change some decisions that were already taken, without any external pressures or bias in any way. As you grow, and when you become a leader in such a very competitive industry as Web hosting, such a flexible management team and our attributes can play a major role in the future direction of a company.


What do you see as the strongest growth area in the industry (e.g. budget management, hosting services, reseller issues, data center operations, managed servers, low-cost servers, etc.)?

I strongly believe that we are going to see the small and medium size business (SMB) market continue to grow the most rapidly, both in terms of size and in terms of penetration. We feel that, more and more, companies will be moving in this direction, especially for 2005 and 2006. Eventually, it will become a basic requirement for every business, large or small, to have a Web presence-- even if they don't really do business on the Internet.

I also see Cloud Computing as a very strong and popular segment of the IT industry right now, and since mid-2010, we've already been successfully deploying our Cloud Hosting Solutions to more than 27 Fortune 500 companies in the U.S., Canada and abroad.

Companies and even non-profits which are in a position and are capable to reach this market are going to benefit the most in my view. I think this will include reseller channels, as well as the budget server market, which will eventually cater to the same market segments and the same marker players.


In one sentence, how can you describe a typical working day at Avantex, and how has this contributed to your overall success?

I'm uncertain if I can describe it all in one single sentence. All of Avantex's departments work and live by just a few but very important rules. What's important is we take our work very seriously, but at the same time, we seem to have a lot of fun doing it. Since we started in the Web hosting business in 1994, one of the most important rules at Avantex is to make it one of the best places and one of the most enjoyable company to work for.


How much of your business is North American, versus Europe, Asia, and South America? Do you plan on further increasing your presence overseas and in other markets?

About 63 percent of our clients are located mainly in the United States and Canada. Avantex is also planning to continue it's expansion into other regions and countries, namely the Middle-East, India and Japan. This expansion will allow us to respond more accurately to various companie's needs and requirements in other regions of the world. We also established a strong presence in Europe.

We are also expanding in Mexico, as well as South-America, namely in Brazil and in Argentina.


Are there any current or future plans to expand Avantex into other aspects of the computer or Internet industry, outside of Web hosting?

Well, we are considering a few ideas and projects and we might be working on one or two projects with other companies, but it would be totally premature for me to discuss any of these plans at this point in time.


Fast and dependable customer service, combined with knowledgeable tech support are a few of the many strong qualities that you promote as a competitive advantage in this highly competitive industry. How do you set Avantex apart from other hosting companies, in terms of tech support and overall customer service?

Let me just start by saying we are not perfect-- no company ever is! (laughs). However, I can personally assure you that we are always working very hard on improving every area and every service offered by our company. The customers that have been with us for many years, and there are many, will be able to confirm this statement.

At the end of 2010, Avantex has created and implemented three significant programs that takes these improvements a step further. Such programs will lead our company to the next level, both in terms of customer service, reliability and technical support. As proof of this, Avantex takes the strong customer service mentality of big companies such as General Electric, Chubb, Cisco, IBM, American Express and Honda.

I think this separates us from the others, in a complex industry where knowledgeable technical support, combined with fast and efficient customer service seem more and more difficult to find these days.


Are there any plans to increase or diversify your service or product offerings, namely to include such services as managed hosting, enhanced reseller channels or similar venues?

As of now, Avantex does not have any interest in trying to please everyone and everybody at the same time. We concentrate on only one thing and that's Web hosting, dedicated servers and colocated services. However, for the short term, we will certainly continue to focus on the medium-size business market, as well as Fortune 500 companies. Nevertheless, in regard to future expansion projects, Avantex does have some very very ambitious plans, but none in particular at this point. We will keep you updated as the situation arises.


The Web hosting industry is a very competitive one. What would you say is the single thing that has helped Avantex stand above all of your competition?

I would answer that the one single thing that makes our company different is that we never stop improving our service offerings, and we continually strive to reinvent ourselves. Our permanent goal is to do things faster and better than our competitors, and at a lower overall cost to our customers.

With that in mind, Avantex continually reinvests a good chunk of it's profits, more than 18 percent in the last three years, in areas such as modern data centers, customer service, technical support, automated tools, data center monitoring software, long-term IT infrastructure and Research & Development.


As the founding president and CEO of Avantex, what is the one single matter that keeps you up at night?

(laughs) I wish that there would be only one single matter! (more laughs) Actually, the two single concerns which are ALWAYS on my mind is our competitors, and the next step Avantex will take. I still spend many hours at night actually thinking about our company's future direction and how we can implement some improvements to make it even better.

On the other hand, competition is actually really healthy, but since there is a lot of it to keep track off, it keeps you busy, and not just at night! We never ignore any of our competitors, regardless of how small or large they can be. You never know what they are up to, and certainly Avantex is the very best example of this.


What is the one thing that makes you jump out of bed in the morning and gives you the jump-start you need to be the leader that you are?

The love of my work. I'm just fascinated by the Web hosting industry as a whole, and I like most of the players that participate in it. Generally speaking, we have a diligent agenda, one which I canít wait to start every morning. I donít believe this applies only to me, on the contrary. This goes for most of the people at Avantex.

The vast majority of our management, and that includes me, spend an average of about ten to twelve hours at work each business day. Some are even in our offices on a few Saturdays. I know it may sound a bit crazy, but thatís the Avantex way of doing business.

Source: Avantex Hosting.

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