We wanted to know who the coolest companies were when it comes to supplying technology solutions to their organizations, so we asked.

Who didn’t want to be one of the cool kids in high school? I know I certainly wanted to be in that club. There were limits to what I would do to qualify, but it really was a place me and my friends aspired to. Of course, there was also mystery surrounding who was cool and who wasn’t.

Certainly, during my high-school days, the tech geeks or nerds weren’t allowed entry. Fast-forward to today where it seems that the coolest people in the world are all attached to tech. Think Jeff Bezos or Mark Zuckerberg or even the enduring cool of Larry Ellison of Oracle. I bet the coolest people inside your company are the ones who have mastered social media or those building apps or managing your web site or thinking of innovative ways to engage with customers.

We thought it was high time the midmarket had its version of cool, so we decided to survey the CIOs and senior IT leaders coming to the Midsize Enterprise Summit Spring 2019 conference to identify the coolest companies supplying technology solutions to their organizations or just ones they believe are just plain cool.

Vennard Wright, CIO of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, describes a cool vendor this way: “A cool vendor in my book is one who has a technology or approach that is nimble enough to account for the idiosyncrasies of my enterprise and is flexible enough to integrate with existing investments.”

His even cooler peer, Chance Irvine, CIO of Proxibid, said his cool vendors are “well-read on my business and industry, come to the table to understand the highest opportunity problems and help identify the best-in-breed solution.” The cool vendor gets a permanent seat at Irvine’s table.

This is a list unlike any other you will find in tech today because it represents real companies supplying real solutions to companies that represent a good chunk of American business today. Not only did our midmarket IT leaders name their coolest vendors, but they also offered some revealing commentary on what makes those companies special.

Without further ado, let’s look at some of the companies mentioned. By all means, if there is a cool company on your list, send it my way and we can include it in this dialogue. You can email me at rdemarzo@thechannelcompany.com.

To date, we received more than 50 companies that midmarket IT leaders believe are cool. They span large tech companies to solution providers to specialty organizations.

Presidio, the large national IT integrator, was considered cool because of how the company helped one customer through three phases “of our network infrastructure upgrade and WiFi replacement projects. They have given us preferred pricing.” Another MES CIO said Presidio was cool because the “team is well-connected and gives the impression that we are the number-one customer even though we are not.”

Three IT decision-makers said Dell EMC was cool for a number of reasons, but mostly because “They continue to come up with new ideas and also don’t just sit on our account and take it for granted.”

Nothing’s cooler than the cloud so Nasuni made the cool list because it “allowed us to move our unstructured data to the cloud and facilitate local retrieval around the world,” said one CIO. That oozes cool, doesn’t it?

Meraki, a division of Cisco, isn’t just cool because its products are rock-solid and work great, but because “They’ve also saved us piles of money,” said another MES attendee. If saving money isn’t cool, I don’t know what is—except for spending it, which makes the Kardashians the coolest people on the planet.

Being cool for a long time is a rare feat indeed, but one of our midmarket CIOs said Ideal Integrations is cool because “we’ve worked with them for last 10-15 years. We’ve seen their business grow rapidly in Pittsburgh, but they still maintain a customer-centric focus. They offer a great private cloud solution along with a separate business offering security-as-a-service.”

Morphisec was also mentioned by a few midmarket CIOs who gave the company the ultimate compliment of cool by stating the new “cutting-edge product is unlike anything anyone else does.” Hey, that’s cool.

Scale Computing has gotten the most mentions so far as a cool supplier. I know this supplier of converged infrastructure solutions well and have to agree. The founders and leaders of the organization Jeff Ready and Jason Collier infuse business with fun and high energy, not to mention cowboy hats and vests adorned with pins. One attendee said if you want to find out why Scale is cool, “just have a conversation with Jason or Jeff.” Well stated.

Here are a few others that were considered cool and why—in the words of those who nominated them.

* Access Interactive: “They are very personable, reputable, and have delivered on promises.  They did not promise something that they were unable to deliver.”

* Amrein: “We purchased their web parts. When we had issues or questions, we would just email their support and get immediate results. Very impressed. They even made programming changes to their webpart for us.”

* Apcera: “Showing performance from an end-user perspective.”

* App2soft: “They have just been fantastic to work with.”

* Arcis Technology Group, Inc.: “is our local vendor for Microsoft, Cisco and Meraki products and network consulting services. They are trustworthy and do not nickel-and-dime us by charging for each and every minor consultation.”

* Atlassian: “We just implemented their service desk and project management software in record time.”

* AWS: “Giving us the ability to move away from physical DR and to help us get comfortable with the concept of cloud infrastructure. “

* BlueTread: “They are responsive and give a personal approach.”

* CATCH Intelligence: “Due to their in-depth skills and knowledge of predictive analytics.”

* Cato Networks: “They do really awesome work.”

* CDW: “Because they have such a broad range of offerings.”

* Cisco

* Cradlepoint: “Enables high uptime with minimal cost using commodity bandwidth.”

* Crestron

* Airtame

* Darktrace: “Presentation and use of technology.”

* Defense Point Security: “They were able to mitigate and remediate a malware outbreak that we were unable to address.”

* Dnamics: “They are a fantastic nearshore company focusing on web and mobile apps using leading edge of technology.”

* Gotham Technology Group: “Very security focused.”

* Key2Act: “They provide the key ERP solution for our company which includes Microsoft Dynamics GP.”

* Microsoft: “Worked with them on utilizing the HoloLens and using their Dynamics CRM Remote Assistance tool.”

* Netskope: “Because their approach to cloud-based security is truly unique and their staff is truly progressive in terms of their support.”

* Oracle

* Payjo: “For AI with chatbot and voice response for our website and online banking.”

* Qlik

* Real Vision Software: “Easiest transition from our old ECM software to their software and the most flexible, reactive support staff we’ve dealt with.”

* Risk3Sixty: “IT security partner.”

* Ruckus: “I appreciate their approach to wireless.”

* Snowcap Technologies: “Because they are very responsive, great pricing, funny, and they treat me respectively.”

* Sogeti: “Developing next-level strategies and implementing mobile apps.”

* Storcom: “Local, small and hungry.”

* Verkada: “Love their cloud-based approach to security cameras.”

* Yottabyte: “Hyperconverged infrastructure is the way to go. It’s awesome, it just works and it’s fairly priced.”  

* Zoom: “It works, it’s easy and the Zoom Rooms are amazing.”

There’s always a party-pooper out there and one CIO said he just cannot find anyone that’s cool. He said, “I really have not had many good vendor experiences over the last year. Too many vendors are too busy selling and not solving. I just get exposed to different sales techniques and not to people who are trying to solve business and technology problems.”

There are only two reasons for this. First, this individual was not part of the cool gang back in the day and is still mad about it. Or, maybe he was part of the cool club and just thinks we’re a bunch of geeks. Either way, I hope you had fun reading this!

Remember, no matter what, keep your cool.