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PTP:  A Team of IT Service Industry Veterans Leveraging Experience to Help Drive Data Science Results in Biotechnology with the Power of the AWS Cloud

Founding Year: 2016

Office Locations: Norwood, MA


Pinnacle Technology Partners: Getting Off the Grounds

Experienced IT services executives and colleagues, Ethan Simmons, Eric Ransden and Mike McElaney, realized they shared the same vision about the IT infrastructure industry – – decisions were no longer being made by traditional IT but instead driven by lines of business through applications that were based in the cloud. The move in buying patterns and the rapid growth of public cloud computing resources was an opportunity for a company that could facilitate that adoption and assist in enabling migrations and management. And like that, PTP was “born in the cloud”.

The Chief’s Digest had the pleasure of interacting with Ethan Simmons and Eric Ransden on the industry scenario of cloud-managed services and how PTP aims to cater to the industry needs. Here’s an excerpt from the insights they shared.

How is the industry scenario in which you are operating? Are there any challenges that you are trying to solve?

PTP is focused on enabling fast-growing biotechnology companies to get their therapies and treatments to market faster. The majority of these firms have early funding and need to rapidly prove their theories to achieve further funding and ultimately move to FDA approval and manufacturing. These organizations produce research data from disparate types of physical, on-premises lab devices that need to be moved to the cloud to enable data engineering by bioinformaticians working on data at different times in different places. PTP’s expertise is designing, deploying, and managing the cloud infrastructure to enable these complex workflows to run rapidly, securely, and to be cost-effective given the capital constraints of startup biotech.  

Since only 16 out of every 100 drugs that enter Phase 1 will make it to FDA approval, our biotech customers and their investors need to “get to no” quickly, or better yet, get to yes. Time is more critical than money, and the readily available resources in the cloud, when deployed properly, can accelerate research.

What are the products/services that you offer to your target customers? How do you ensure that they are making a big difference for them?

PTP delivers a comprehensive set of cloud-managed services for life sciences, including CloudOps, DevOps, SecOps, and FinOps. Our PeakPlus Managed Services platform of tools allows these services to be delivered together efficiently, or a la carte depending on our customer’s unique needs.  

Our customers rely on a combination of our expertise in AWS services and our deep understanding of life sciences with the science operations of Chemistry, Biology, and Lab Operations. Our customers come to us with a variety of use cases: increase workflow speed, improve performance of High-Performance Compute (HPC) clusters, ensure data security, optimize cloud costs, improve data accessibility due to data silos, and more. Our projects have measurable goals, and we work together to exceed those goals.

Additionally, many of our customers are small but growing companies that have little to no IT staff of their own. Upon working with PTP for their AWS cloud needs, they request PTP to provide end-to-end MSP services across their environment, including support for their end users.  

Are there any AWS competencies that AWS partners can use to showcase their technical expertise across industries with different use cases?

PTP maintains the Life Sciences Competency held by very few providers which was achieved by demonstrating expertise and effectiveness in cloud solutions for biotechnology. PTP is also an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner.

What is unique about your company offerings that make you stand out among the global competition?

Due to PTP’s leadership experience, PTP executes with the precision process and methodology of national and global providers but at the speed, cost, and intimate engagement of local and regional providers. Our team is comprised of tenured leaders well trained in the quality execution of IT projects backed by a team of exceptional cloud engineers focused on customer impact.

Do you have a strategy for business success?

PTP has created a unique lifecycle services methodology that fluidly moves cloud computing initiatives from data gathering to design to implementation and ongoing management. This service methodology, the PTP Flight Plan, was constructed to extract critical design requirements and create a blueprint for the PTP PeakPlus Managed Services CloudOps team to rapidly deploy. Developed with PTP intellectual property from biotechnology and cloud expertise, we can deploy cloud solutions on time and on budget.

Looking forward, what opportunities do you think will the AWS cloud space present for AWS partners?

AWS continues to leverage its scale to create a growing number of cost-effective, pay-as-you-go solutions for customers. “Right now we’re at 84 [AWS] availability zones, so that’s 26 geographic regions, and we’ve got plans to launch 24 more of those availability zones across eight regions,” said Dave Fildes, director of investor relations, during Amazon’s second-quarter earnings report today (CRN article: Even with a $79 billion run rate and 33 percent sales growth in the 2nd quarter, AWS believes they are still in the early stages of cloud adoption.  

Increased use, whether in the complex space of biotechnology or other verticals represents a tremendous opportunity for proven AWS partners that can execute and create value for their customers.

How would you summarize the journey of your organization so far? Tell us about the ups and downs that you would have faced and how you managed to stand strong.

Entering the cloud service provider space in 2016, the greatest challenge to PTP was interest and demand from a wide variety of customers. Nobody wants to turn down business, but it is also critical to clearly define your unique value proposition and construct your services and solutions to address a specific customer segment. We had organic growth in our biotech customer base early, but our growth started to move quickly, despite pandemic challenges, once we tailored our business model to the unique needs of life sciences.  

At the same time, as we are expanding our life sciences customer base, our managed services customers were requesting full-stack MSP services from PTP to support their cloud, network, security, collaboration, and provide end-user support. PTP is now the prominent MSP for life sciences in New England.

What are your plans for the future? What do you want to achieve or build next?

The team at PTP is working hard, moving fast, having fun, and making an impact. We are not looking toward what we would build next, instead, we’re focusing on scaling our business with the level of execution and quality that has taken us to this point. Our team of leaders and platform of cloud management tools is in place and is continually being tuned and optimized.  

We are recruiting the next PTP team members that can join our organization with a commitment to the customer and the PeakPlus Managed Services expertise in CloudOps, DevOps, SecOps, and FinOps that ultimately helps our life sciences customers get their treatments and therapies to market faster.

A Window into The Life of Ethan & Eric as The Thought Leaders Behind PTP

Ethan Simmons, Managing Partner

Simmons started his IT career in the early 90s, working for several leading-edge companies that provided him exposure to some of the early Internet networking technologies. In 1996, Simmons co-founded his first company, NetTeks, which focused on helping businesses adopt VoIP and virtualization solutions. 

In late 2008, Simmons successfully managed the acquisition of NetTeks to Dallas-based INX, Inc. For the next three years, Simmons ran the New England operations for INX, until INX was acquired by a private equity company. For the following two years, Simmons led his own consulting company that focused on helping companies, such as Cisco, evolve their channel partner programs. Simmons then joined Dallas-based Lumenate in 2013, where he ran their New England operations and later managed their Cisco business nationally.

Simmons is married with three daughters, and when he is not working, he enjoys watching their various sports activities (unless the Patriots are playing).

Eric Ransden, Partner

Ransden started his career in IT in the financial services industry in the early 90s where he led the adoption and integration of client server computing and leading-edge networking technologies. As Manager of Technology Services, he was responsible for the corporate infrastructure, data center, network, help desk, application deployment, and corporate 

application services. This experience led him to become IT Director for several leading network and data center companies, building advanced IT, networking, application, database, storage, compute, and security infrastructures.

The shift in how technology was being consumed over the past couple years, and the transition that technology partners would need to make to lead this new model, led Ransden to join the founding team of Pinnacle Technology Partners.

A 1991 graduate of the University at Albany, SUNY with a BS Degree in Management Information Systems, Ransden went on to earn a Master’s in Management Information Systems in 1999 from Bentley University’s McCallum Graduate School of Business.

Our goal is to help biotechnology companies discover new life-changing therapies and accelerate their development leveraging highly scalable, automated and optimized cloud computing environments.

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