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BITS invests for growth as they approach their 30th year in business

Business I.T. Systems (BITS) will mark 30 years in business next year. Technical Director Bryan Stone spoke to PrintIT Reseller about the company’s evolving solutions portfolio and plans for expansion into Asia and the US

Established in 1990, the company’s focus was originally split between providing IT support services and software development. “Around four years ago we decided to walk away from IT support services,”

Stone explained. “The market was changing, we found that people were expecting more, but wanting to pay less! Our focus now is 100 per cent on software development and specifically within the MPS arena.” Stone said that the decision to cease offering IT support services wasn’t an easy one to make but it was the right one for the business. “The past few years we’ve seen strong growth. Last year we grew about 20 per cent,” he said. BITS has appointed a distributor in Asia and is looking to achieve further growth within that region as well as in the US.

Stability, reliability and ease of use
OneStop MPS Portal which was launched ten years ago, is BITS’ flagship solution. OneStop MPS Portal is a tool that automatically collects meter readings from any networked printer or MFP, orders consumables for proactive consumable replenishment and can also be set up to monitor the current status and consumable levels of all network devices to aid a proactive response should a problem appear.

“We focus heavily on stability, reliability and ease of use, and feedback from the channel around the support we provide is extremely positive,” said Stone, adding: “We are actively developing our solution to meet changing market and customer needs and that’s paying off in terms of attracting new customers.

“We’re working in a very different climate now, the market is rapidly changing and consolidation is the norm. Because of our size, we are able to flex, to listen to customer needs and respond by creating and adapting solutions to suit their needs as required – that flexibility gives us a competitive edge.”

Smart Device Services
In recent months, the company has invested heavily in HP Smart Device Services (SDS). HP SDS is a cloud-based technology that allows HP managed device resellers to reduce service cost, maximise device uptime, and deliver exceptional customer service. “Essentially what this means is that as an ISV, we can implement functionality with HP devices that would normally be restricted to vendor-owned tools. For example, it allows us to do remote firmware updates, gain information from many devices and to use special features from HP such as predictive maintenance alerts,” Stone explained.

He added: “We’ve put in a lot of work and that’s still ongoing, but we see it as a real differentiator. It’s an opportunity for us to open up new conversations about how using our solutions, resellers in Europe or further afield can leverage the potential of remote management with HP’s Smart Device Services solution.”

BITS is also looking to partner with more IT support companies. “If you take HP SDS as an example, it provides a lot of additional functionality compared to other devices, but if you look at who is selling those machines and supporting them, it’s mainly the IT channel,” Stone explained. “For example, if you talk to a copier dealer about a firmware update, it’s a different conversation than you would have with an IT reseller. It’s a different mind-set – IT vendors can install and manage printers in the same way they manage PCs or servers. We think that’s a good opportunity for us going forward.”

Other areas of focus include ease of use and integration. “We’re continually working to make the interface much more accessible and we’re also enhancing integration. We’ve developed a lot of APIs to help dealers integrate with us at a really basic level. We’ve seen a lot of take-up from our dealers, who are benefiting from the ability to allow our systems to talk to theirs and vice versa,” Stone explained.

Opportunity knocks
Future plans include breaking into the service management solutions sector. “Many of our dealers are looking to us for support in this mission-critical part of their business and we definitely see potential here,” Stone said.

“We have been talking about this for some time, largely driven by conversations we are having with our customers. Many dealers are reviewing their existing solutions and looking for alternatives, what we will do is work with them to determine what components they actually need and use and if we can provide elements such as asset tracking or billing for example, built into the single interface they are already using, then that’s an opportunity we will capitalise on.”

In conclusion he said: “The market is rapidly changing, the conversation has shifted, and there are definitely new opportunities. We are excited about the future.”