Xpert Business Solutions and Socius 1, two national technology consulting firms, announced a merger that will leave the two businesses operating under the name Socius. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Jeffrey R. Geisler, former chief executive of Socius 1, will now serve as chief executive and senior managing director of the combined firm. Douglas Weintraub, former chief executive of Xpert Business Solutions, will now serve as the new firm's managing director. Both companies have more than two decades of experience in the industry and have completed more than 2,000 software implementations.

By combining staffs, services and product offerings, the firm's offices in Columbus, Cincinnati and the Cleveland-Akron area hope to provide a wider range of services and hope to meet an expected upsurge in demand for business applications, technology and management consulting.

"The experience and knowledge behind this move is unrivaled," said Weintraub, of the company's Sage and Microsoft expertise, in a statement. "By joining our companies, we will create a synergy that expands our current offerings and client base, and allows us to better serve the middle market."

The merger creates a team of nearly 50 employees, with plans to add 24 additional staff members. With a client base of over 1,000, the company has set an estimated growth plan of about 50 percent in annual revenue by the end of 2006 and hopes to double that amount by 2009. Both Geisler and Weintraub said that they have seen a dramatic upswing in the need for small and midsized business consulting services.

"For small and midsized businesses there is about to be another shift in technology as Microsoft releases a new wave of products for businesses to increase their productivity," said Geisler.

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