Service Equity swaps stock with Madison firm

Bedrock Managed Services & Consulting, a Madison-based information technology outsourcing firm that has offices in Milwaukee and Chicago, recently swapped stock with Service Equity Technology Holdings, the technology development arm of Service Equity Inc., a Milwaukee-based private equity investment firm.

Service Equity Inc. owns controlling shares or interests in seven companies. Most of those companies are in the financial services and technology fields.

The stock swap, of an undisclosed number of shares between the privately held firms, gives the firms an interest in each other. That interest will be useful for Bedrock, which is beginning to offer BizStorm, a program developed by Service Equity Technology Holdings, to customers.

BizStorm is a sales qualification, automation and opportunity distribution business process application, said John Stevens, principal with Service Equity Inc.

“It connects buyers, sellers and opportunities in real time using Web 2.0 applications,” he said. “We use it to cross-sell on insurance applications. It’s a cross selling machine.”

The BizStorm program was developed on top of another software system named Skelta BPM.NET, a business process management (BPM) program owned by Skelta Software, a software development company headquartered in Bengalore, India, said Chip Pieper, another principal with Service Equity. Skelta entered into a joint venture with Service Equity Technology Holdings to develop the program, Pieper said, and has received a percentage of BizStorm.

“Skelta provides the ability to automate all of BizStorm,” Pieper said. “It would have been $5 million to build it from scratch. By using a BPM platform we were able to automate the whole process.”

With the partnership, Bedrock will be able to sell BizStorm as part of its managed services package that it offers to clients.

“We’re a managed and professional services company,” Houchens said. “We let our clients get out of IT. We

allow our clients to focus on their business. With BizStorm, we’ll provide the expertise to implement it and will create a package around it.”

Bedrock opened its Milwaukee office about one month ago in space formerly occupied by Service Financial LLC, one of Service Equity’s portfolio companies, at 809 N. Cass St., Milwaukee. The 3,000-square-foot space houses four employees now, including Clint Houchens, general manager of the Milwaukee market.

Bedrock anticipates having 20 to 40 people working from the space within one year, Houchens said.

Bedrock was founded in 2004. Although it is headquartered in Madison and its Milwaukee office has only been open for about one month, Bedrock has worked with Milwaukee clients since it opened, said Mark Bakken, president and CEO. Its clients include Johnson Controls and P&H Mining Equipment, a division of Joy Global Inc.

“We’re experts with large organizations, but we’re able to offer (solutions) to any size organization,” Bakken said. “We see people spending so much money on infrastructure – when you minimize that you free up money to help the business.”

Bedrock’s ability to help clients save money by outsourcing and streamlining IT needs will be helpful for Service Equity in the future, Pieper said.

“It’s critical for us when we go into a company to be able to assess (their IT needs) and find out how to best maximize them from the standpoint of asset management,” he said.

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