Interview with Alan Weinberger at The ASCII Group

Alan, Can you please tell us a bit about yourself personally and professionally.

I originally started out as a lawyer with two law degrees one form NYU (JD ) and one form Harvard (LL.M), but in 1984 saw the tremendous change our world  by the IT revolution and I founded www.ASCII.com in 1984 and today it is the world’s oldest and largest consortium of IT providers, integrators and managed service providers.

Imagine that you met someone in an elevator and was asked to explain The ASCII Group in 30 seconds or less… Can you give us a 2 sentence ‘elevator pitch’ about your business and what you do?

We are a paying Community of members , who are technical companies that install IT networks and full IT solutions for business, government and educational entities , located in  every State of the United States and throughout Canada. We have over 70 group negotiated programs and a very active Forum enabling the member to learn from their peers 24/7 365.

How did you get started in this business?

In 1984 I reorganized a bankrupt franchisor , Software Centers International, the leading software only franchisor at the time in the United States  into a new concept , a for-profit buying group which sets a flat monthly fee to its members instead of the typical franchisor royalty.

Can you describe your customers / what type of customers does The ASCII Group have?

Generally,  about 85 percent of our customers  of our members are in the SMB space, meaning companies needing IT integrated solutions of less than 500 employees. However, about  15{bfa08a400c7550404055ff04715e84c9172815d33c25eb3b84e230636ecdc007} are larger governmental  entities or major corporations who outsource to us their specialized needs . Our members themselves are typical of the entire IT industry, “channel” in that they are also smaller companies with sales typically less than $5 million each.

What are some of your “keys to success” in building your customer base?

We certainly affirm the principal of “network effects” in that as we grow larger and larger, there is more value to each member in terms of buying and networking power.

Is there anything about your business that you feel makes it special?

Of course. We add value every day to thousands of smaller business around North America in what we do.

What kind of technology advances do you see that will likely affect this sector over the coming few years?

Virtual reality and the internet of things (IoT) will create the need for more and new IT services which is exactly what our members are most expert in the world in  doing.

Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years? In the next ten years?

We are entering our 33rd year of operations as a for profit business and we keep continue to grow with new members and new vendors and new programs.  We are very entrepreneurial with a great staff, many who have working at the company for 10 years or more.  We are stable financially with a business model that does not require inventory, no investment in substantial R and D nor do we create the technology that our members sell and resell.

alan-weinberger

Alan D. Weinberger
Chairman and CEO
The ASCII Group, Inc.
7101 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 1350
Bethesda, MD 20814
T: +1 800-394-2724 x 131
W: www.ascii.com

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