Solution Provider 500 2021: Fast-Forwarding To The Future

It’s been more than a year since the coronavirus pandemic took hold, and solution providers are still innovating to meet the demands for digital transformation.


To say that 2020 was a challenge for the IT industry would be an understatement. As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and the economy sputtered, businesses and organizations froze IT spending amid the uncertainty and slammed the brakes on IT projects. At the same time, demand surged for laptop computers, collaboration and videoconferencing applications, and cloud computing systems needed to support millions of employees suddenly forced to work from home.

Amid it all solution providers – from the biggest global systems integrator to the smallest local PC repair shop – quickly pivoted to meet the rapidly changing needs of their customers.

For example, World Wide Technology, the $13 billion solution provider that is No. 9 on the 2021 Solution Provider 500, moved quickly to meet customer demands for new voice, video and collaboration capabilities, leveraging its relationships with Cisco Systems, Dell Technologies and VMware as the pandemic took hold.

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“Customers need to move today, not tomorrow, on figuring this stuff out,” said CEO Jim Kavanaugh in an interview with CRN posted March 18, 2020 at the onset of the pandemic in the U.S. “Nobody is going to fix this thing overnight. It’s going to take a collective and collaborative effort from all of us.”

More than one year later, it’s clear that the pandemic has brought many changes for solution providers and their customers.

“COVID has hit a giant fast-forward button to the future and we believe the demand to innovate at unprecedented speed and scale with rapid adoption of cloud, AI and other disruptive technologies is accelerating,” said Accenture CEO Julie Sweet during an earnings call on March 18, 2021.

Here CRN presents the 2021 edition of the CRN Solution Provider 500, the annual ranking of the largest solution providers by revenue in North America. We also provide a closer look at the top 25 companies on this year’s list, as well as highlight the 21 newcomers that are appearing on the CRN Solution Provider 500 for the first time.

IBM Global Services has been No. 1 on the Solution Provider 500 for many years and Accenture No. 2 since 2015. But this year they have reversed positions, with Accenture taking the No. 1 spot.

Accenture managed 3 percent revenue growth to $44.33 billion in its fiscal 2020. Some of that was certainly driven by the company’s aggressive acquisition strategy that resulted in some 30 acquisitions in 2020

IBM, including its services operations, has been operating under new management since April 2020 when Arvind Krishna took over as CEO. In October IBM surprised the industry when it announced a plan to split into two companies, spinning off its Global Technology Services (GTS) business as a separate $19 billion company named Kyndryl that will focus on managed infrastructure services. IBM will retain $8 billion of the GTS cloud service consulting business as well as the $17 billion Global Business Services unit.

Those changes are sure to reorder the top of the Solution Provider 500 in the future – possibly with both IBM and Kyndryl making the top 10.

Elsewhere in the Top 10 Tata Consultancy Services moved up to No. 3, swapping places with DXC Technology (now No. 4). Capgemini moved up to No. 7, trading positions with NTT Data Services (now No. 8).

Throughout the top 50, a number of companies made impressive gains on this year’s list, either through organic growth, acquisitions or a combination of the two. AHEAD, which acquired solution providers RoundTower Technologies and Kovarus in September, jumped from No. 36 in 2020 to No. 28. Computacenter surged from No. 44 to No. 27, due at least in part to its acquisition of Pivot Technology Solutions last year.

Elsewhere in the top 50, Converge Technology Solutions moved up from No. 50 in 2020 to No. 40 this year while Denali Advanced Integration leaped from No. 75 to No. 48. And Sterling, No. 57 in 2020, cracked the top 50 this year at No. 50.

This year’s Solution Provider 500 list includes 21 companies that are new to the list including Trox (No. 60), CDS (No. 391) and Edafio Technology Partners (No. 463).

When it comes to revenue, the Solution Provider 500 collectively generated $403 billion, up 2.5 percent from last year.

For information on purchasing the complete Solution Provider 500 list with all collected firmographic data, please contact [email protected]or call 508-416-1175.