Managed service provider GCI has acquired end-to-end IT services company Blue Chip. This is the fifth and largest transaction that GCI has made in the last 18 months – earlier acquisitions have included cloud services provider Outsourcery and unified communications specialist Freedom Communications.
According to GCI CEO Adrian Thirkill, the acquisition of Blue Chip will strengthen its position in the market by enabling it to provide full IT support. “The acquisition announced today brings together two great teams of talented staff and the value of hard earned learning to the benefit of our near combined 4,000 business customers," he said. "Significantly it also delivers a fifth service pillar: a consultative capability already inherent in GCI’s DNA, but now elevated to a whole new level.”
“Other recent acquisitions have strengthened our platform or solutions capabilities - or have opened new markets for us - but Blue Chip gives us something more, namely a fifth service pillar – full IT support,” adds GCI’s CFO Mark Allen. “This is tailored for our target customer base and includes a strong consultancy capability underpinned by highly skilled technical staff. The pillar is designed to support our customers as they think through the challenges ahead. These include addressing aspects such as GDPR and the accelerating pace of business – which means having to digitise the integration of customers and their supply chains.”
The two companies have a shared commitment to Microsoft technology, which Thirkill believes will only be strengthened as a result of the acquisition. “Microsoft technologies are at the heart of our business and Blue Chip will compound this further by expanding our capabilities in both breadth and depth,” he told The Record.
Richard Cook, Blue Chip’s managing director, is also very positive about the acquisition. “It’s a reasonably rare thing for two technology organisations with around 20 years’ experience each to come together in complete aligned agreement,” he said. “The journey to an integrated digital business is indeed complex. The technology interdependencies are challenging and the solutions are many and varied. But the task is made easier if you have a trusted guiding hand. The personal touch ‘technical support pod’ concept we have finessed over 20 years and our well-invested processes and systems provides just that: an assurance to our customers that we will ‘live and breathe’ their world and always put their best interests first. This mindset is the bedrock that underpins our customer partnerships and is a great cultural fit too with GCI. I look forward to joining the GCI board to further accelerate this customer value.
“Blue Chip enables in-house IT staff to focus on front-end business improvement priorities while we monitor their digital heartbeat and take care of the routine stuff, that includes patching, backups, device management and much more. But that’s only part of it. The big plus point is that we are there to help with strategic shaping, providing solid advice backed by the combined learning of 40,000 deployments, a huge technical resource, and skills that span virtually every leading technology vendor and all environments: on-premise, private cloud, public cloud, hybrid. That’s a great mix for our customers which include some of the most prestigious names in the UK.”
Always with an eye on the future, Thirkill seems confident that this won’t be the last acquisition we’ll hear about in the months to come. “Acquisitions are enabling us to better support our customers’ digital transformation efforts,” he said. “In a time of constant change, this approach is the best way of ensuring we can expand our offering effectively. I have my eye on many companies that may be able to add further value to our business and I’m confident that a successful future lies ahead.”