Convergent Is Back, With New Management Team, Focus On Genuine Turnkey Offer

May 20, 2016 by Dave Haynes


Atlanta-based solutions provider Convergent has re-packaged its marketplace offer and given it a new handle: Digital Signage As A Service, or DSaaS.

That kinda sounds like a ski resort in Austria, but I assume people will talk it up as Dee-Sass and all will be fine.

The company, at the same time, has announced a new management team – at least some of who have been around for a few months (I met some at DSE in March).

In many respects, the DSaaS offer is just re-casting what Convergent has been doing for years – offering a turnkey solution that starts at strategy and runs through deployment and strategy. A BIG strength of the company is a small, but very sharp and talented content team.

This new look and feel comes roughly a year after a near-total management purge at the company, driven by an old guard board purge that went on at Ballantyne Strong, the Omaha company that owns Convergent.

Here’s what the press release says about the new Convergent, particularly the leadership team:

Steve Schilling has been named president and brings more than 25 years of experience and leadership in strategy development and business performance optimization to Convergent. A recognized industry visionary and respected advisor, Steve has pioneered cloud-based offerings in the telecom and tech industries during his career, most notably with MegaPath and Cypress Communications. Steve comes to Convergent after advising and working closely with numerous early stage and high growth technology firms for the past five years.

Greg Davis joins the company as vice president of sales and marketing. A sales and marketing technology executive with more than 25 years of experience, Greg comes to Convergent having played an integral role in building category-creating companies such as Digex, Savvis and MegaPath.

Jorge Rosado joins the company as senior vice president, planning and business operations, where he is responsible for customer support and delivery, including the installation and performance monitoring of Convergent’s client solutions. A veteran operations executive, Jorge brings extensive engineering, execution and project management expertise to Convergent, including work on several cloud-based service and infrastructure platforms.

Bill Geist joins the company as chief information officer and oversees the company’s technology systems infrastructure and leads systems product development initiatives. A customer-centric technology executive, Bill brings more than two decades of senior leadership experience and a proven track record of transformation to Convergent.

Kyle Cerminara, CEO of Ballantyne Strong, shared, “This dynamic and talented leadership team reflects a commitment to growing our digital signage business through innovation and a concentrated focus on key vertical markets. Steve and his team possess an exceptional depth of experience with regard to developing and bringing to market cloud-based and managed services. That expertise, along with a shared vision for Convergent’s future, are critical as we differentiate ourselves in the market and launch our new service model.”

In launching its Digital Signage as a Service (DSaaS) offering, Convergent seeks to bring simplicity, affordablility, scalability and accountability to the industry. President Steve Schilling explains, “Our industry is broken, it’s as simple as that. With a fragmented market of more than 300 software providers and an array of hardware and platform options, high upfront costs and no standard performance metrics, making an investment in digital signage today is a roll of the dice. But we’re changing that.”

As an end-to-end digital signage solution provider, Convergent offers a comprehensive suite of services to address the current industry gaps, including: digital signage strategy, award-winning creative, best of breed technologies, and expert execution including relevant performance metrics, and guaranteed results.

This approach allows organizations to shift digital signage from a capital expense to an operating expense tied to specific ROI goals. And because this model removes the legwork – and guesswork – of choosing among various vendors and technologies, and features a much more modest investment to get started, it makes available the benefits of digital signage to many businesses in the retail, banking and foodservice industries who otherwise couldn’t consider it.

“The market certainly is ripe for this type of offering,” observes Greg Buzek, founder and principal of IHL Group. “We’re seeing more industries move to cloud-based service models, and digital signage, which tends to be campaign driven, is a great fit. As companies seek new and innovative ways to engage customers and employees, a DSaaS solution with low upfront cost and performance guarantees allows them to employ the technology with considerably less risk than more standard offerings,” he added.

I chatted at length with Schilling and Davis at DSE, and they ran me by their early thinking about direction. I agree with the broad approach – as there are few truly turnkey service providers out there who have national scope and aren’t at least somewhat burdened by needing to sell their own software solution or particular hardware.

There are some big, nationally-capable deployment companies that will take a job and run with it, and software companies that have project management and some internal creative resources. But few that have the whole deal, particularly the creative piece and the metrics piece.

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