Barry Culman of Spectrum Systems: From Reseller to End-to-End, Comprehensive IT Solutions

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Barry Culman, Chief Executive Officer of Spectrum

Barry Culman, Chief Executive Officer of Spectrum

The federal marketplace is more demanding than ever, especially for resellers. That’s been especially true over the last few years, with profit margins more difficult to achieve as the number of resellers vying for the same, dwindling number of bigger IDIQs has grown exponentially. If you’re a company in the reseller space, that would be challenge enough. Add to the mix the difficulties of navigating the demands of M&A activity, and ensuring that all incoming companies operate under a unified banner, and some companies become yesterday’s news.

That’s not the case with Spectrum Systems, a Herndon, Va.-based IT integrator, value added reseller, and provider of IT infrastructure and professional services to the federal marketplace. For nearly two years, the company has seen the demands of the reseller marketplace coming and, coupled with its own M&A activity, has reimagined its business model to meet the needs of an evolving federal marketplace.

Expanding Solution Offerings
“You need to be flexible and move relatively quickly as our marketplace changes,” says Barry Culman, Chief Executive Officer of Spectrum. “For smaller companies, you can’t live in the past – you have to watch what’s going on and be nimble enough to grow your business.”

True to that calling, Spectrum has successfully grown over the last year and a half through the merger of three federal IT consulting and reselling companies, adding and expanding its solution offerings with each acquisition. As a result, Spectrum has repositioned itself as an end-to-end IT provider for federal customers.

“We went from a company that was 80% resell and 20% support and services to flipping that percentage,” says Culman. “We have resources now to deploy the equipment and maintain it on an ongoing basis, either via our help desk, or through our onsite engineering resources,” says Culman.

New Industry Message
Through a more robust end-to-end offering, Spectrum is sending both industry partners and federal customers a clear message. As Culman puts it, “If you are looking for a company to place a thousand widgets in place and then walk away, we may not be your best partner, but if you want a company to ensure they are installed properly—and have someone to call if something goes wrong – that’s Spectrum.”

Along the way, the SBA-designated small business has come to specialize in a handful of key technical solutions. “We are a system integrator, but our size and specialized services make us more agile and flexible than the large system integrators,” says Culman. “

Bolstering Legacy Expertise
On the software side, Spectrum has bolstered its legacy expertise in Application Lifecycle Management (ALM), which focuses on various testing tools for software developers in the federal government. “We team with numerous software companies and have the technical resources to help with deployment and long-term support,” says Culman. That includes a help desk that provides IT assistance to more than 120 customers.

Other key areas of expertise include secure wireless solutions, particularly in support of security applications among federal agencies; as well as federal network performance; and physical security including contraband, biometric identity, surveillance and managed access/cellular detection for correctional, and other secure facilities for prisons and high security customers.

Consistent Corporate Culture
In the midst of this expanding capability, driven by recent mergers, Spectrum is focused on maintaining one consistent corporate culture. “Our No. 1 focus in all interactions with our customers and partners is ‘integrity’ – that’s not something that we budge on,” says Culman. “We consistently try to ensure we are all on the same page, by offering frequent, open, and honest communication with customers and partners.”

That consistent communication extends to both the sales and technical sides of the Spectrum team.

“There is an emphasis across the organization on staying up with the latest technology and training,” says Culman. “There are a number of different training [initiatives]that we implement,” he says. That includes bringing vendors in for “Lunch and Learns;” keeping employees current with sales and technical certifications; and offering engineers the latest classes in their field to maintain their skill sets.

Focus on Core Areas
In addition, Spectrum has sponsored training focused on integrity and industry regulations, with guest speakers who have included government security personnel and attorneys. “I want to make sure everyone here knows how to overcome or avoid any challenges that one may encounter when selling to the federal government,” says Culman.

“We are very excited about Spectrum and how we’re evolving after the successful integration of three companies. We look forward to launching a new company name and brand in early 2016 that will better represent our mission to continuously provide end-to-end, comprehensive IT solutions, and remain focused on our core solution areas.”

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