Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Expert Server Group gears up for expansion

Published in Interface Tech News

BEDFORD, N.H. ‹ Responding to increasing customer demand and space constraints, Expert Server Group (ESG) plans to add staff to its enterprise services group ‹ expected to triple in revenue in 2002 ‹ and will begin a five-year building program to add 130,000 square feet to the company's present 20,000 square feet of space.

The company offers procurement, installation, and maintenance services for custom-designed IT systems, including hardware, software, and product support.

According to ESG president Doug Weisberg, the enterprise services part of ESG's business, which provided about ten percent of the total company revenue in 2001, is expected to reach one-third of company activity in 2002. "This year's business will basically triple what we did last year in that segment," Weisberg said.

While disclosing that hiring is already underway, Weisberg was not sure exactly how many employees the company would add. He noted that the bursting of the dot-com bubble has provided a large pool of available workers with good qualifications.

The staff additions have put additional pressure on the company's working space, now split between its main building in Bedford and a smaller space in Manchester, N.H. A few years ago, ESG bought 30 acres next to the Bedford property, and is now planning a progressive build-out of that property that will result in the closing of the Manchester office.

"We would like to consolidate the facilities," Weisberg said.

The initial phase, still in the permitting process, will be a 30,000 square-foot building. Two-thirds of it is planned for offices, with the remainder intended for staging, configuration, light assembly work, and warehousing to support the company's build-to-order services.

"We are out of space," Weisberg said, adding that, over the next five years, the company wants to build an additional 100,000 square feet of space.

This type of company is not common, according to Carl Howe, research director at Forrester Research, but ESG may be doing quite well. While Forrester does not track the small, privately held ESG specifically, Howe said there may be some challenges for such a company, including competition from local value-added resellers.

Laurie Orloff, also an analyst at Forrester, said procurement services is a very viable market, because contract negotiations are time-consuming. She explained that if a company can be an effective middleman ‹ getting better deals for its clients than they would get on their own ‹ while still making a profit, that's very good.