Customer contact specialist Sabio recently secured a multi-million pound investment from UK-based growth investor, Lyceum Capital. The company now plans to grow through acquisitions for which it has raised £30 million ($39.40 million or €34.9 million) of available funding.
So it seemed a good time to talk to Andy Roberts, Sabio’s CEO (pictured), about the company’s expectations in the Internet of Things (IoT). Interview by Jeremy Cowan, editorial director of IoT Now. (Also see: Customer contact tech firm Sabio speeds growth plans with new investment from Lyceum Capital.)
IoT Now: What is Sabio’s interest in the Internet of Things? Why particularly this market?
Andy Roberts (AR): As the IoT economy accelerates, our homes, products, enterprises – even cities – will become continuously connected, presenting an enormous opportunity for customer service across the whole value chain. Customer contact and service operations will need to prepare for the impact of a ubiquitous Internet of Things enabled world. While updates from IoT devices will initially be processed automatically, there will be an inevitable proportion that requires some form of customer contact or service outreach.
Organisations need to start thinking about Internet of Things as a key component of the customer journey, and explore what resources they will need to support this important channel. One of Sabio’s longest-standing customers HomeServe, for example, is already starting to work in this space with its LeakBot HomeServe Labs initiative that aims to protect homes from the impact of water damage before it becomes a larger problem. At Sabio we’re interested in how IoT-enabled processes can play an important role in reducing effort and streamlining the customer journey.
IoT Now: How do you plan to achieve a 100% growth in the size of your business within 3-5 years?
AR: In the immediate term we’re looking to accelerate how we execute against our existing business plans, taking advantage of our new funding to make sure we have all the right resources in place to maintain our growth. At our current rate we estimate it would take us five to six years to double in size, however – with the support of our recent investment and through targeted acquisitions – it’s something we believe we can achieve in three.
IoT Now: In such a competitive market how is Sabio differentiated from other solution providers?
AR: Sabio is the only technology specialist focused exclusively on helping organisations meet their customer contact technology challenges. With over 17 years’ experience and a proven team of more than 200 solutions, services and support experts, we make it really easy for our customers to work with us. We bring together all the in-house skills, resources and industry thought leadership that they need to create the kind of end-to-end solutions that will transform their contact centre performance.
IoT Now: Who do you see as your main competitors?
AR: Our competitors vary depending on the detail, scale and location of the project – ranging from end-to-end enterprise service providers such as BT or Capita, to specialist resellers and partners for more specific solutions or support engagements.
IoT Now: Now that Sabio has £30m investment funding from Lyceum for new acquisitions, what sort of business or assets are you looking for? And over what timeframe?
AR: We’re now looking to complement our organic growth with a number of targeted acquisitions – both in the UK to gain a broader customer base, and internationally in Europe and APAC to support organisations with a global contact centre vision.
We will also look at strengthening the Sabio proposition with ‘adjacent’ technologies – particularly those that will support our customers in bridging the divide between their digital and customer contact strategies.
IoT Now: What is Sabio’s interest in the communications service provider market?
AR: With our focus on technology for the customer contact sector, Sabio is at the heart of the drive towards omnichannel, and we believe that the most successful deployments will be those that create smarter ‘Digital Front Doors’ that span the end-to-end customer journey across both self-service and assisted interactions.
We’re also well placed to help our customers take advantage of the pronounced shift from separate ‘channels’ to more extended customer engagement ‘sessions’. Initiatives such as WebRTC will help enable this shift, and will serve as a precursor to more communications-enabled APIs (application program interfaces) – enabling organisations to develop more distinct, end-to-end customer experiences. However, voice will continue to account for the majority of interactions for at least the next five years, so the omnichannel debate will still have to focus on how newer channels integrate with our customers’ existing voice infrastructure, CRM and contact centre platforms.
Andy Roberts has been a Board Director at Sabio since 2003 and until the end of June 2016 – when he was appointed Sabio’s Chief Executive Officer – was responsible for pre-sales, solutions delivery and managed services/support for Sabio’s UK and International operations. He also served as executive sponsor for Sabio’s strategic partnerships with key technology partners such as Avaya, Verint and Nuance.
He has also been a member of the Avaya EMEA Partner Advisory Council and also served on the Customer Contact Association’s CCA Supplier Council. Andy joined Sabio’s Sales and Business Development team in 2001, and before that spent the previous 10 years working in the financial services sector for LloydsTSB.
Andy Roberts was talking to Jeremy Cowan for IoT Now and VanillaPlus.
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