BJSS is the UK’s leading privately-owned IT and business consultancy serving UK central government bodies such as the National Health Service as well as an array of companies predominantly from the financial services, retail, energy and utilities sectors.
We spoke to Stuart Bullock, managing director at BJSS, about growing demand for technological services and the company's international expansion plans.
What does your company do?
We are one of the biggest privately owned technology consultancies in the UK and we've been going since 1993. We are a full-service consultancy so we do everything from service design at the early stages right through to outsourced project delivery and all the way to managed services. Wrapped around that, we offer strategic advice consultancy, working heavily in areas like the cloud, data, AI and machine learning.
We are privately owned and are completely a services company so we sell no products. We just do consultancy services. We have clients in a number of sectors: half our business is in health and social care and central government; the other half comes from the private sector split largely between retail, financial services and energy and utilities.
We have worked with most of the UK's main retail banks and other clients include Refinitiv (formerly Reuters), Co-Op, Specsavers and BP. Public sector clients include the UK's National Health Service (NHS) and the Home Office [of the UK government].
Tell us about your UK and global operations.
The head office is in Leeds which is where the owners started the business. A large part of our early work was very much financial services oriented and therefore in the City of London. We did a lot of work in London from Leeds and then we opened an office in London in the early 2000s. That worked well as we had a London office for near client onsite office work and the Leeds office for the project delivery work. Even from Leeds, we can be onsite with a client in London at 9am.
We then expanded and grew as the work grew and as the client base grew. We began to spread around the UK as we got clients in different geographic locations.
There are now about 1,600 of us working across 15 different cities – largely in the UK but also in the US and Europe and with embryonic operations in Australia. We opened in the US about 8 years ago.
The UK is very advanced when it comes to technology and there are also strong regional tech hubs like Leeds which have a lower cost base but still really strong access to talent. Leeds is becoming a bit of a hotbed for tech in the UK
What are the benefits of being UK based?
Being active in financial services, it is a massive draw card globally being close to London. We build big things, like trading platforms, and you need big clients involved in that space to be able to do this work. London is a great place for that and has been a powerful thing for us to build our business on as we have been able to work with Tier 1 global banks.
From a talent pool perspective, we take in a lot of apprentices and graduates and there is a great flow of bright young talent from universities across the UK. The regional cities around the UK have provided us with a good talent pool and a good platform from which to grow.
The UK is very advanced when it comes to technology and there are also strong regional tech hubs like Leeds which have a lower cost base but still really strong access to talent. Leeds is becoming a bit of a hotbed for tech in the UK.
We build big things, like trading platforms, and you need big clients involved in that space to be able to do this work. London is a great place for that and has been a powerful thing for us to build our business on as we have been able to work with Tier 1 global banks.
What are your company's growth ambitions and how does the UK feature in these?
In the short term, our UK growth is outstripping our international growth as we have such a good reputation here in the UK. We are currently on a plan to expand internationally but it will take a little while to get bedded into new markets while we build our brand and reputation overseas.
We are lucky that technology has been one of those sectors that has been very busy over the last year. People have moved to technology as a way to deliver revenues, especially in sectors such as retail.
Ecommerce will continue to be a big thing going forward. Digital transformation is also very important. Big organisations have always got legacy platforms to transform and move forward.
For us, it's important to have that consultancy side of the business so you can understand the business that your clients do and where they generate revenue from so you can help them identify how they can use technology to generate revenue or run things more efficiently.