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BSL strategy accelerated by August

Private equity has given the business a chance to seal its first acquisition and look at taking more market share in an evolving market

There has been a wave of private equity funding coming into the channel so far this year, as investors look to get involved with a robust tech sector.

One of those that has benefited from private equity has been Business Systems Limited (BSL), which recently hit the headlines because of its acquisition of Acrinax as it looked to expand its footprint in the customer experience market.

That acquisition was its first in its 33-year history, and is part of a strategy the firm is following as it expands its market reach since gaining the backing of PE player August.

“BSL started off in the voice recording space, particularly for financial institutions who have trading floors where there are very complex and valuable transactions that you need an absolutely a record,” said Geoff Love, executive chairman of BSL.

He added that it was pitched as a secure option for mission critical environments and that remained the core proposition.

“The business [developed] very gradually over several decades, but always about voice and recording,” said Love. “From that they began to branch out into other things they could offer these organisations, such as building the contact centres themselves either on-premise or in the cloud, or getting into the workforce engagement, with management tools to help you manage your workflow and manage your staff. But the core of the business was always this monitoring and compliance.”

August clearly understood the opportunity in the market and wanted to get involved to accelerate the plans, with the time between August and the Acrinax only being a matter of weeks. “Nine weeks after standing up in front of the staff, telling them that they’ve been sold to August, we were announcing our first deal, so things are moving very quickly,” he said.

Genesys knowledge

That deal adds more weight to BSL’s capabilities on the cloud contact centre side of things, and Acrinax has a great deal of potential to add into the overall business. It comes with additional Genesys knowledge that will complement BSLs existing knowledge of NICE technology.

“They’ve worked so collaboratively and strategically with a small number of blue-chip customers. What could we do if we put them onto our customer base,” he said.

The ambition to widen the technology and customer base comes after a year of change forced by the coronavirus pandemic. The growth in collaboration tools has been significant and so has the need for more conversations to be recorded and secured for future reference.

“Suddenly organisations are having to capture far more conversations, because nothing’s being done face to face, and also having to capture video. I think everyone has seen this massive sea change in the industry,” he said.

The jury is still out deliberating quite how much of the remote working will remain once we are all allowed back into offices, but the dynamics behind the need to capture information for compliance and security reasons will not change.

“Whether it’s 10% or 100% of your conversations with customers and staff that are online, you still need to be able to capture them, so the demand is there regardless of how much traffic is going down that route,” said Love.

“The market is moving so quickly that to a certain extent we could benefit through that growth in the marketplace, the pie is growing,” he said. “Even if your slice of the pie stays the same size your revenues will grow. You could also start taking market share, so the pie is growing, and you’re taking a bigger slice, then you’re looking at exponential growth and especially when you’ve got private equity behind you, the game changes a bit.”

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