By: Matt Parker, CEO of Babble
2020 flipped everyone’s plans for the year upside down, with no corner of the world left untouched. In this state of complete disarray, the primary business challenge for many was to keep customers happy while rapidly shifting staff to remote working. With this now mastered for most businesses and homeworking being the new norm, the next hurdle for leaders will be getting the balance right between the many conflicting desires of those in their workforce. Here, Matt Parker, CEO of Babble, provides his own view on the considerations, decision-makers must factor into their planning, and how having a successful technology partnership can be an enabler to solving the issues at hand.
“The pandemic has exposed deep divides between those desperate to get back to the office and those relishing the flexibility of working from home. Business leaders must tread carefully to ensure they’re not simply catering to those employees that are making the most noise. The world of work is evolving fast, business leaders should forget about ‘the now’ and start to focus on the future, sooner rather than later. They should be thinking far on from today’s issues and focusing instead on a time when COVID-19 is behind us and the new trend in working practices has truly gathered momentum. Whatever operational decisions are made now will have long term, wider impacts on company culture, so it’s vital leaders get it right from the outset.
“A thriving workforce is invaluable – it keeps the cogs turning and contributes to a company’s overall success. Striking a healthy balance between keeping the two sides of the argument happy will be the goal – achieved by creating a fluid working structure that permits both flexible working, the typical 9 to 5 and – well, let’s face it – whatever else life has to throw at us. Businesses should therefore be adaptable, imaginative and have an open mind as they evolve their ways of conducting business whilst keeping the employee experience front and centre. This is, of course, sometimes easier said than done. Leaders can often be too close to their company’s operational processes to see the cracks or indeed sometimes obvious ways to improve. That’s why building strong technology partnerships and leveraging their deep expertise is critical for building resilient companies and getting a unique advantage.
“Catering to one side of the argument will result in a huge backlash and people are bound to change their minds on what style of working they prefer – so it’s best not to get pigeon-holed from the outset. The hybrid model, in which companies future-proof their businesses by providing employees with the freedom to work as they please, will be the future. It still offers the human contact that’s required to develop staff, creativity and relationships for the better, and means businesses can adapt to challenges or changes in circumstances in an instant, if required. Essentially, it’s about operating with maximum efficiency and productivity from your team, resulting in maximum benefits for your customers.
“Being agile requires business leaders to identify change and understand how it could benefit their organisations. Seeking new opportunities and deploying the resources needed to secure these opportunities futureproofs a business and helps it to succeed. But it’s worth noting that there’s no set formula for agile working. Businesses can’t follow a ‘how to’ guide for agility. Every business has its own way of working – its own processes. Identifying where there’s need for change is unique across each business, but I’m looking forward to playing a part in this new era.”
About Matt Parker, CEO of Babble
Matt Parker has more than 20 years’ experience leading organisations that deliver business enablement solutions to companies around the globe, and as a CEO for over 10 years, has used his entrepreneurial knowledge and executional excellence to scale technology businesses. Before joining Babble, Matt led the talent management business of StepStone from start-up to a team of over 800 people generating global revenues of more than $100m. He was part of the leadership that led the sale of StepStone to Axel Springer in 2009 and subsequently, as CEO, led an MBO backed by Hg Capital of the HCM leader, StepStone Solutions, rebranding it to Lumesse.
Following two years as CEO of VC-backed retail analytics business, Path Intelligence, while holding the Non-Exec Chair role of BGF-backed Petrotechnics, Matt then joined Babble as CEO in February 2016. His second MBO, backed by LDC, was completed in October 2017, before Matt lead the cloud-based solutions company on an ambitious organic/acquisition “Buy & Build” growth strategy. Previously a £7m revenue, break even business in 2017, Babble will exit 2020 with £30m of revenues, and a clear view of how it gets this to £100m.
Babble is a leading technology business that is reimagining how we do work. Founded in 2001, the company works with over 3,000 organisations in a wide range of sectors – including financial, health and education, travel and accommodation, and public services – by sourcing and deploying the very best cloud solutions to deliver increased efficiency, customer engagement and profitability, whilst protecting customer’s businesses.
Babble’s growth over the last few years is one of the big success stories in its industry. This is demonstrated by the private equity investment of Graphite Capital in November 2020 – which was supported by reinvestment from LDC and management – to accelerate the buy and build strategy for the business. Annual revenue has rapidly grown to £35m – over 90% of which is recurring. It has over 15,000 cloud-based users, 24,000 mobile connections and 3,000 CCaaS supported agents.
Delivered through long-term client relationships, Babble offers three core solutions to businesses: Babble Comms drives efficiencies through cost saving and productivity improvements; Babble Contact – which has been named as Five9’s EMEA Partner of Year for two consecutive years – increases customer engagement by enabling high quality, positive, productive and ultimately more profitable conversations with customers; and Babble Cyber embeds business resilience by delivering the best cloud-based tools and security available, allowing teams to work the way they want to work.