Published December 15, 1997
Volume 5, Number 12
Computer Networks Lauded by Inc. Magazine
Remote Access Specialists Recognized for Speedy Growth
Janet and Bill Botti of Computer Networks, Inc., with their company's
"Wall of Fame," including the Inc. honors.
By Jay Hipps
Five years ago, Bill Botti worked out of his home with his wife Janet in their new business, Computer Networks Inc. This year, the Botti's venture made Inc. magazine's list of the fastest growing 500 privately held companies in the U.S.
"I had worked for a company in the past that made the Inc. 500 and we set it up as a goal for this company," says Bill. They suc ceeded admirably, with sales growth of 574 percent from 1992 to 1996, based on sales of over $4.3 million last year. The company, which specializes in remote access and branch office connectivity, made the list at number 488.
Through their remote access products and services, Computer Networks allows telecommuters and traveling business people to access the same computers they use in the office.
"When they come in to their desk and sit down, they turn on their machine, log into their network, and they get a program manager group with their applications on it," explains Bill. "With remote access, the company wants the employee to see exactly the same thing when he connectsthe same applications, the same rights, the same network drive mappingsso that he can do exactly the same work as if he was at his desk."
Branch office connectivity is a tool that has long been used by the world's largest corporations. The ability to maintain, for instance, a central database and to access it from several offices has obvious benefits. With changes in the availability of technology, however, these tools are within reach of much smaller companies.
"The cost for a whole Wide-Area Network (WAN) infrastructure has come down completely," he notes. "The price of processors is coming down, the cost of software is coming down the cost of leased phone lines and frame relays are 10 percent of what they were a decade ago."
For example, a company headquartered in Hacienda with branch offices in San Francisco and Santa Clara could maintain a network for less than $1,000 per month, according to Botti.
"If it works for the small company, it's even more profound for the large corporation," he adds.
Started from the Garage
The company was officially launched in November of 1991 and closed its first deals in January, 1992.
"We've been profitable every quarter and every month since," says Bill. "We began adding employees in 1994, first technicians and then additional sales staff."
Despite the many changes in computer networking technology in the last few years, the company has remained focused on their original target services, a fact that Bill credits for much of their success.
"By being able to maintain focus on our particular market segment, it keeps us from flattening out," he says. "A lot of companies try to look for other fields as they grow, but then they lose focus."
Botti knows that part of Computer Networks' success is due to the growth of the computer networking industry as a whole. "We've been fortunate that the market we chose is also one of the fastest growing markets in the computer industry," he notes.
More Keys to Success
Botti's emphasis on focus extends to their choice of vendors and to their ability to tailor their services to each client.
"We stay focused on probably eight or 10 vendors that are the key manufacturers for that technology," he says. Computer Networks provides hardware and software from companies like Cubix, Citrix, U.S. Robotics, Axent Technologies, Novell, Hewlett-Packard, Symantec, and 3-Com. "Our sales people do a needs assessment with the client and then we configure a system that's customized based upon what they're trying to do," he says. "We then present a proposal which includes installation, setup, tests, training, and ongoing support."
With the success they've had, it's clear that their focus-based formula works.
Also in this issue ...
- Lucent Acquires Livingston Enterprises
- Computer Networks Lauded by Inc. Magazine
- Business Bits
- North American Title County Headquarters Opens on Hopyard
- Documentum Leading Holiday Food Drive with 100,000 Pound Donation
- New Downtown Association Director has a Vision for the Future
- BayCAP Helps Business Clear the Air, Voluntarily