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Helping business with the unknown

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If Brand SA wanted a blueprint for all that it stands for, it needn’t look much further than Boileau Business Technologies.

Locally based and locally focused, the Cowandilla company has built its business by meeting the needs of the SMEs that are at the heart of the local economy then churning some of the proceeds back into local causes.

It even gives the likes of Zoos SA a little extra exposure via the large LED screen mounted prominently outside its offices on Sir Donald Bradman Drive. [We’ve all stared at it at some stage on the drive back from the airport, on the north-east corner of the Marion Road intersection.]

The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, the Crows and Scouts SA are also on BBT’s books, alongside a number of charities. However, the great majority of clients are lower profile companies that need advice – and sometimes reassurance – on that complex beast we know as Information Communications Technology.

The company was until recently known as Boileau Business Solutions, but changed its name to more accurately reflect its service mix.

That mix is diverse – from hosted application delivery, virtual infrastructure capacity and managed backup to business intelligence, procurement and practice management – but Business Development Manager Danielle Scheid says its main service is helping businesses understand which of these they need and which they currently have but don’t do very well.

As Donald Rumsfeld would put it, there are a lot of unknown unknowns.

“People know these things are important but they don’t have time to think about them, let alone keep up with all the changes and options,” she said. “What they are looking for is a trusted advisor who can bring it all together for them and make things happen.

“It’s all about specialising and catering for that SME market that’s had so much missing from it at the support level.”

Can they actually save a struggling business? “I’d have to say yes,” Scheid responds.

“If we are given the right opportunity and an open platform to have the discussion – let us really have a look around, let us have a look at everything for you – we can come back with a lot of options that could lift the level of the business and could make the difference.”

BBT has never felt the need or inclination to move into the government, education or large corporate markets, and in the early days that wasn’t an option. When Scheid’s mother and stepfather Angelique and Michael Boileau started the business in 1989 it was primarily a Fuji Xerox outlet, with a clearly defined patch in which to work.

engine-room

Relationships with Fuji and other big suppliers such as NEC, Microsoft, Cisco and Lenovovo remain central to the service mix, but it has expanded widely and rapidly, often in response to client requests.

Some services have been dropped (no-one needs help getting a mobile phone these days) but others are regularly added.

“One of the biggest things that we have moved into in the past 12 months is business process optimisation,” Scheid said. “That’s looking at online learning capability, how they can best create best practice within their business.

“Products and technology are just that – products. You need the consultative service sitting over it; as in what’s going on, what are you not happy with, how can we help you with the kind of people we have now?

“Some of this might slot into it; some might not. But it’s just giving that end-to-end capability. If we’re trying to optimise your business, what do you need; we’ll go and look for it.”

Even more recently BBT has become part of The Engine Room, a networking and development concept established as a catalyst to help local businesses reach their potential, and receive some recognition at home.

“I went to my first function just before Christmas and I thought ‘where have all these people come from’,” Scheid said. “Networking has always been a big part of what we do but this brought a whole lot of different people together.

“There were so many young people with good ideas in the room, it was fantastic.”

Scheid is part of the new generation driving the family-owned business but her charismatic mother remains very much part of its ethos.

“Mum is fiercely South Australian even though she worked in Melbourne before starting this business,” she said. “This is where she first lived when she arrived from Hungary.

“We have always looked to be a part of the local community and to pass on business to South Australian companies.”

This article is part of a special Engine Room series in InDaily which features some of the “undiscovered gems” of SA business.

The Engine Room is dedicated to championing the growth of South Australian companies – for more information go to www.theengroom.com.au.

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