Home Industry Deals Telstra acquires NSC for contact centre and unified comms

NSC’s Craig Neil – 24 years of hard work NSC’s Craig Neil – 24 years of hard work Featured

Telstra has acquired NSC Group, a privately owned Sydney based unified communications and contact centre specialist. It is part of Telstra strong push into services.

The value of the deal was not disclosed, but is believed to in the $50-100 million range. NSC was founded by Craig Neil in 1989 as North Shore Connections, with three staff. It began its life as a small outsourced call centre for businesses on – as its name suggests – Sydney’s North Shore. The company now has 230 staff and over 600 customers – mostly small business -including an operation in New Zealand.

The company grew quickly during the long tech boom of the 1990s. It became a user and a reseller of contact centre products and related equipment from Fujitsu and Avaya, and is today Avaya’s largest reseller in the region.

It also resells ShoreTel’s unified communications products. It had already established a strong relationship with Telstra as a reseller of data services and other products, including enterprise VoIP.

NSC Group Chairman and founder Craig Neil said the acquisition would give Telstra complete contact centre capability and give current NSC customers access to the broader range of Telstra’s products and services.

“We’re really proud of the business that we’ve built at NSC Group. We recognise our business is a terrific fit for Telstra. We know our customers will continue to receive outstanding service and our people will add great capability to Telstra,” Neil said.

Telstra’s Network Applications and Services (NAS) head David Burns said the acquisition would make Telstra the leading provider of unified communications solutions in Australia, and greatly strengthen its contact centre and related services.

“We are committed to giving our customers powerful communication solutions that improve the efficiency of their businesses and enhance the way they serve their own customers,” Burns said. “Contact centre solutions are highly valued by our customers and NSC’s technical skills, integration capability and reputation for speed to market make this an important and exciting addition to our NAS portfolio.”

NAS is Telstra’s fastest growing area. Its recent financial results showed that the division, which provides enterprise and business customers managed network services including cloud, security and communications services, increased revenue by 17.7% last year. NAS currently offers unified communications products and services – the acquisition of NSC will greatly boost its capabilities.

“Unified communications can transform an organisation, by integrating communication and collaboration applications such as voice, video, messaging, email and social media,” said Burns.

“Adding NSC’s capability to Telstra’s own unified communications and network-based services including cloud, managed networks and security, will help us create even more compelling solutions for our customers that can increase productivity, promote frequent collaboration and, ultimately, improve their own customers’ satisfaction.”

Telstra CEO David Thodey signalled a bright future for NAS when he spoke with analysts after the announcement of the company’s annual financial results (CommsWire, 12 August 2013). “We initially started the NAS business as an addition to our core network service, but we’ve made a very conscious decision that NAS needs to be a stand-alone profitable operation in its own right as well.

“As you see us building our capability in call centres, unified comms, security services and video conferencing, those businesses all need to be stand-alone profitable as well, as well as wrapping around that core network.”

It is now obvious Thodey was alluding to the imminent acquisition of NSC, which was still not disclosed at the time. Telstra has had an ambivalent approach to services for some time, acquiring and then selling Kaz under Sol Trujillo’s reign. But since Thodey – an ex IBMer –took over in 2009, services have become increasingly important to the company.

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

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