RIDGELAND — Business Communi-cations Inc., a communications and network systems integrator based in Ridgeland, recently completed the acquisition of the Mississippi division of IKON Technology Services, bringing its company employment to more than 125 and positioning the company for expansion in the Southeast.
“We acquired IKON because they fit the same model we did,” said Tony Bailey, CEO of BCI. “IKON executives told us they looked around the marketplace before they approached us. They knew that we set a high standard of excellence for customer service and would take care of their existing clients. And because IKON has a sterling reputation, we were very interested in doing business with them.”
Bailey said it’s important to note that IKON’s Mississippi Technology Services Division is “totally separate” from IKON’s Office Solutions Division.
IKON Office Solutions (NYSE: IKN), with more than 1,000 worldwide locations, is an industry leader in new office technologies — imaging and digital networking, outsourcing and facilities management and systems integration and technical education. IKON is probably best known for its office and production equipment sold worldwide, including Canon, Ricoh and Hewlitt Packard products.
“Now that BCI acquired the Mississippi IKON Technology Services Division, IKON can concentrate on its other divisions,” Bailey said.
The acquisition complemented BCI’s existing divisions: computer network systems, structured wiring and its Internet products group with e-business solutions, said Blake Webber, COO of BCI.
“It gave us some depth in positions where we needed it, and we were able to increase our customer base at the same time,” Webber said.
Established in 1993 by Bailey and George Trim, BCI is a network and communications systems integrator that provides proven solutions for clients in the public and private sectors. The company specializes in partnering with its customers to identify their business needs and to increase their productivity.
Initially, the company was formed when Trim, president of BCI, who is well versed in data cabling, and Bailey recognized the need to provide customers with an infrastructure that performs current functions with significant room to expand. From its inception, BCI doubled in size every year, and in 1996, Bailey, who had remained a silent partner, came on board full time.
“We knew we were on to something,” said Bailey.
With more than 1,000 businesses and government agencies on its current client list — BCI was recently awarded a contract from Mississippi State Department of Education for the support of its wide area network (WAN) for all K-12 schools in the state — the company recently opened offices in Birmingham and New Orleans to complement its existing offices in Gulfport, Memphis and Las Vegas.
“To accommodate our growth, we’ve restructured our company,” Bailey said. “In addition to promoting Blake Webber from network design engineer to COO, we’ve hired Terry Thornton as CFO, Derek Lindsay as vice president of technical services and David Dunn as vice president of structured cabling.”
This year, BCI is spending $250,000 to upgrade its accounting and customer service system and is investing more than $100,000 on technician training. When the company’s interactive Web site is upgraded, customers will be able to order products, access service calls and check its status online.
After outgrowing its 10,000-square-foot facility in Ridgeland, BCI leased an additional 4,000 square feet of office and warehouse space nearby and relocated one of its divisions there.
“The hottest thing right now is the convergence of voice and data with video, and we’re putting a lot of time and money into that,” said Webber.
“Traditionally, businesses needed a separate system for phones, another for computer, another for videos,” he said. “Now, they’re being done over the same system. Because of our expertise in data and voice, we are uniquely positioned to help our customers migrate to the new technology. For that reason, we’re investing more than $150,000 toward installing a convergence lab in our office so our technicians can continue training and we can continue to improve customer service.”
With plans to expand its presence, the company has shifted its focus from that of a reseller of commodity computer products to a professional services consulting firm. For now, Bailey is mulling two potential acquisitions in the Southeast.
“We are constantly evaluating current and future technologies to assure our customers that we are providing best-of-breed solutions to serve their business needs,” he said. “After all, we’re in a business that reinvents itself every three to six months.”
Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne Wilbanks Jeter at firstname.lastname@example.org or (601) 853-3967.