AVG Business opens Ottawa Global Center of Excellence for Managed Workplace

AVG’s SMB-focused business unit has added so many new sales and support staff they outgrew their old offices, and they are still in aggressive growth mode, recruiting new partners to sell their managed services.

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Marco LaVecchia, AVG Business’s Vice President, Americas, officially opens the new facility in the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

OTTAWA — AVG Business, the SMB-focused business unit of AVG Technologies, cut the ribbon this morning on its new Global Center of Excellence for Managed Workplace in Ottawa’s west end suburb of Kanata.

Companies regularly move into new digs, but the new AVG Business facility is noteworthy outside of Ottawa for a couple of reasons.

First, it is their global support centre for Managed Workplace, one of their two flagship products, and not just their Canadian office. The Ottawa location stems largely from the 2013 acquisition of Level Platforms, which gave the company a Remote Monitoring and Management capacity that became key to the Managed Workplace offering, and also provided a core of new staff.

Secondly, the new facility became necessary because AVG Business has significantly grown their business over the last year, expanding their headcount to the point where the larger building was necessary.

“This 34,000 square foot facility is necessary because we have 140 employees, up from 90 last year,” Marco LaVecchia, AVG Business’s Vice President, Americas told an audience at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “This gives us the right opportunity to take our business forward.”

In the new facility, support personnel and sales people are grouped together in their organizational groups on the second floor of their two-story building. The work areas have a modern low cubicle design, meeting rooms, leisure rooms, plenty of private rooms for presentations and sales calls, and additional room to grow, to a maximum of 275 in the future.

“In our old building, these people were spread out over two floors, and we didn’t have any meeting rooms at all,” LaVecchia said. “We almost doubled our head count, and we ran out of office space.”

LaVecchia, who had been with Level Platforms’ Ottawa-based competitor N-able, joined AVG in August 2013, and he said that for the first four months they just managed customer expectations after the acquisition.

“That December, we decided to hire more bodies to help fuel our growth,” he said. “Level Platforms’ strategy was to keep their existing customers and have slow growth in new business. We wanted hyper-growth, and we brought on board 486 new Managed Workspace MSPs over the next 12 month time frame.”

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AVG staff presenting a cheque to a representative of Kids Help Phone.

AVG started as a consumer-focused security vendor, and still market themselves as an online security company, but in AVG Business’s core offerings, Managed Workplace and CloudCare, security is complemented by other services. Managed Workplace, supported at the Ottawa centre, is built on four major pillars – secure and remote access, reporting and alerting, patch management and automation.

“A true example of innovation here in my opinion is our remote tools,” said Ryan Vallee, Senior Product Manager at AVG Technologies Canada. “They do not force the end user to log off. They can still maintain some level of productivity while the MSP resolves issues.”

AVG has a complex pedigree. The company is originally Czech in origin and their largest facility remains in Brno, Czech Republic. Their head office is now formally in Amsterdam however, while most of their top management, including their CEO, are based in San Francisco. The new Ottawa facility is now AVG’s second largest facility, globally.

At the facility’s opening, AVG also stressed that they want to be seen as a good corporate citizen in the Ottawa region, and presented a cheque to Kids Help Phone, a national organization with an Ottawa office which provides free counselling services for youths. The money was collected from AVG employee fundraising and donations.

“It’s not just being a tech company, it’s also being tied into the fabric of the city,” LaVecchia said. “Being tied into that fabric is an important piece of how we want to be perceived.”

AVG also wants to be seen as a good corporate partner by MSPs, and is continuing to recruit aggressively, including partners who had been outside their traditional orbit. Their focus remains on the SMB space – 10 seats to 500 – although some of their MSP partners do sell into the enterprise space. Within the last six months, however, they have been reaching out to other types of potential partners like VoIP providers and copier dealers.

“Everybody is getting into services because that’s where the money is,” LaVecchia said.

As part of their recruitment effort, AVG will be at a series of events presented by CompTIA and designed to show IT services firms what works in managed services, in a vendor-neutral manner. Following stops in Philadelphia and Chicago the previous week, the event will be held in the greater Toronto area at the Mississauga Living Arts Centre on June 15. Information is available here.