Fleming Remains Atop IT Consulting List

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, May. 13, 2013 12:00 am  

(Editor's Note: After the print deadline, Arkansas Business received new data for the IT consulting firms, which is reflected in the PDF and spreadsheet versions of the list linked below.)

Fleming Network Services of Bryant again tops this year’s list of largest IT consulting firms. The company’s employee count fell from 250 in 2012 to 230 this year, but still beats the next company, Science Applications International Corp. of Little Rock, by 70.

There was some shifting on the list this year, and most were in the neighborhood of 10-20 employees. SAIC, for example, grew from 180 to 192. Advanced Cabling Systems Inc. of North Little Rock jumped into the top three, with its employee count rising from 82 to 105. Applied Technology Group Inc. of North Little Rock fell from 47 to 36, but remained at about the same spot on the list.

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Evolving Business

Like several of the companies on this list, Fleming started in a different field and evolved into IT services.

The company was founded as Fleming Electric in 1977; it added Fleming Electronic in 1995 and created Fleming Network Services in 1998.

Chris Wallace, the company’s senior key account consultant, said the company’s biggest projects during the last year were all on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville: the re-cabling of the Bell Engineering Center, the installation of new fiber cable for AT&T and setting up LED video boards at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

Each of those were parts of multimillion-dollar projects — Wallace said Fleming’s portion of the video board setup was $600,000.

Even so, he said the IT portion of Fleming’s business was undeniably important.

“I think what’s making us grow is our day-to-day taking care of the regular customer, not necessarily our larger projects,” he said.

Wallace said the company’s drop in employees just represented a normal ebb and flow.

“We had some people leave to go pursue other things in other states, things like that,” he said, adding that the offices in northwest Arkansas might be hiring more workers in the near future.

“We’re right in the middle of a big growth spurt without slowdown,” he said.

The company’s biggest growth markets, he said, include industrial plants, especially those tied to food services, and K-12 schools.

Datamax

Another company that’s evolved its services into IT is Datamax/Micro of Little Rock. Barry Simon started the company as a managed printing service and added IT later. Currently, the service makes up less than half of his business, but he said it’s growing: IT sales doubled last year, he said, and a lot of that has to do with cloud computing.

“I think the biggest trend is more people are looking for people like us to manage their networks,” Simon said. “They’re finding that it’s a lot easier to have somebody do that.”

Lots of people are asking about “the cloud,” he said, and it’s created a growing market. They’re also worried about losing information during a disaster, and that’s another service Datamax provides.

“People are concerned about disaster recovery and how they can keep themselves running if something happens,” Simon said.

One challenge, he noted, is distinguishing Datamax from other cloud computing services.

“We’ve been working through that, what we consider ‘differentiation,’” he said. “The biggest thing is we’re not just in IT. We put on an umbrella approach: We’ll do anything that the customer wants to do in tech, whether it’s printing, faxing … showing them how to better utilize their iPad or network, anything.”

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  Largest Mechanical Subcontractors  
  Largest Electrical Subcontractors May 17
June 3 MBA Programs May 24
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