At the beginning of February, Business Micros announced the acquisition of Echo Digital Media (EDM).
The newly created Business Micros Group now contains not just Business Micros and BM Aluminium but both EDM brands – The Consultancy and The Glazing Vault. 60 staff are now based at four locations around the UK and Business Micros clearly means business.
With ambitious plans for new product development and even expansion outside of this sector, Windows Active caught up with Graeme Bailey from Business Micros and Paul Callaghan from EDM to find out what the investment really means for customers of both businesses, as well as for the wider fenestration industry.
WA: How long had the acquisition been planned?
Paul: We had been thinking about talking to Business Micros for some time because we were starting to get more requests from existing customers to integrate with their systems. The real conversations though started at last year’s FIT Show.
WA: How the market reacted to the news?
Graeme: Extremely positively. I’m sure you’d expect me to say that, but actually it’s very true. So many people from all parts of our industry have responded with good wishes and have commented on how encouraging it is to see leading software houses who are willing to work together and invest for the future.
Paul: It has definitely cemented our rationale that, when it comes to software, the market wants us to accelerate the rate of progress in this industry
WA: How important do you think it is for the market that Business Micros continues to invest?
Graeme: Massively important. We know how quickly this market is changing and manufacturers and retailers need us to be able to develop IT solutions and services which will enable them to respond to that. I think this is a real statement of our commitment and shows our customers and our competitors that we have the resources necessary.
WA: How have your customers in particular responded?
Graeme: I’ve had more than a hundred messages of support from all areas. Many are simply congratulations, but lots of people want to know what’s coming next and how they can be a part of it.
Paul: All of our current clients have responded really well. There was also probably a general assumption amongst many of them that this was a logical next move for us.
WA: Now that the merger has been announced, how do you plan to make the most of the synergy which you say exists between the two businesses?
Graeme: Essentially, we plan to take the best of the EDM products and integrate them to work seamlessly with our own. Moving forward, our aim is to create all round product solutions which work right the way from manufacturing to retail. It’s not just about the technology though, we both have a similar business ethos and a familiar style of engagement with customers. I’m very confident that we will work well together, and it can only be positive news for customers.
WA: Can you give me any examples of that synergy?
Graeme: We worked together to deliver market leading set ups at both Solidor and Virtuoso, where Business Micros are responsible for everything in the factories and The Consultancy are driving the front end interfaces.
Paul: We’re also developing something special between us as well, but that’s still a secret for now.
WA: What about staff? Will you be recruiting?
Graeme: I’m sure once we start to see the merging of some products and the final development phases of others, then the teams will inevitably grow, particularly in operations and sales, but we’ll also be sharing expertise wherever we can. We already have the largest development team in our sector, but we’re always on the look out for more specialist people who’ve got what it takes to work with the market leader.
In terms of staff, what’s just as important for me is the opportunities which we’ll be offering Paul and Richie from EDM and many of the younger members of our BM team to help shape the longer term direction of the group and drive our future growth and profitability.
WA: If you’re going to be working so closely together, why are you retaining separate brands?
Paul: Like Business Micros itself, The Consultancy and Glazing Vault are already really well respected names in this industry. It’s important to us to get the message across to customers that, while we’re now benefiting from the support and resources of the Business Micros Group, our core, focused offering will remain the same. We’ll continue to offer high quality websites, online ordering portals and lead generation solutions for any size of business which wants to engage directly with consumers.
Graeme: We definitely want to build on the reputation of our existing brands and encourage each of those businesses to remain focused. As we’ve already shown with BM Aluminium, allowing group companies to operate in their own areas of expertise delivers a much better, dedicated customer experience.
WA: Do you have any further acquisitions planned?
Graeme: Not immediately, but we are certainly looking to expand further within this sector and potentially into other sectors as well. We still have significant funds available to invest in the right kind of opportunities and we’re very open to discussions with the right partners. Anyone who wants to talk should definitely get in Touch.