The Digital Transformers
William Martin and Matt Bomberger of Plano-based Bresatech on what it’s like to take their clients on a digital transformation journey
Buzzwords like innovation and digital transformation get thrown around a lot these days. But what do they mean for real CEOs leading real organizations? And why do these concepts matter?
Bresatech, based in Plano but global in scope, isn’t interested in offering a one-size-fits-all solution for digitally enhancing businesses. As CEO William Martin and senior VP of global sales and operations Matt Bomberger tell us in the conversation below, they prefer to start with where the client wants to go, then discover how optimizing the business digitally can get them there. That often involves upgrading legacy, manual systems to automated, digital processes that help the business move faster and smarter.
We asked Martin and Bomberger about the company’s recent growth trajectory, the vision of Bresatech owner Jessey Lee (also a cast member on Netflix’s recent reality show Bling Empire), and the strategic priorities that drove their recent expansion into Austin.
Texas CEO Magazine: Can you tell us how Bresatech got started?
William Martin: Sure. Our owner, Jessey Lee, has been involved in many different industries including furniture, real estate, and liquor. I’ve known Jessey for about seven years, and back in 2016, he came up with the idea of launching a tech company. But we wanted to find a niche we could excel in. We started thinking about digital transformation and intelligent automation and how these can really be the foundation of a company’s strategy.
At the time, I was an executive at Pegasystems, a software company that’s now one of our key partners. I came over to serve as president and CEO of Bresatech. Matt drives our sales and operations globally.
One of the things that’s unique about Bresatech is that we’re privately owned by one investor, Jessey. In a lot of cases, companies like us are owned by private equity firms or there’s a conglomeration of ownership. In our case, Jessey made an investment of seed money, and we’re driving to a point where we will be completely self-sustained.
Texas CEO Magazine: Let’s talk more about digital transformation and intelligent automation. What exactly do those concepts mean?
Martin: Before they engaged with us, a lot of our clients were still running the business on legacy systems, many of them manual. We take them on a digital transformation journey. So we help them shift to a more automated, intelligent, and digitally enhanced way of running the business. That journey involves people, processes, and technology.
When we come into a client, we don’t have a prescribed method for digital transformation. In that way, we’re built differently from most implementation companies. Typically, they come in with their suitcase and say, “Here’s the playbook for digital transformation.” Instead, we listen to the client, find out where they want to take the business, then create a plan. And we don’t use a bunch of IT-speak. Sometimes it’s transforming rudimentary legacy workflows, sun-setting old systems, and getting on the cloud. Other times it’s about moving into new markets or securing the right talent.
Matt Bomberger: We’re really helping to modernize the entire business. The innovative technology we implement transforms how they operate.
Texas CEO Magazine: Has COVID-19 changed how people think about digital transformation?
Bomberger: It definitely has, especially around teams working virtually. Having strong digital business processes can help that situation tremendously. Before the pandemic, many businesses never dreamed they could be 100 percent remote. Now they’re saying, “You know what? We don’t need this expensive commercial space.” That was already happening before the pandemic, but it’s been accelerated. People are seeing they can take money saved by not having a big office footprint and put it back into the business. It’s a great way to help our clients see into the future.
The other big benefit is that you open yourself to a lot of talent when you run a distributed business. One of our clients had previously never allowed people to work remotely. When we went to help them hire the right talent, we could only look in the Dallas-Fort Worth marketplace. Now that they have opened up to a more distributed or federated model, we can help them pull talent from anywhere to move their business forward.
Texas CEO Magazine: In your materials you talk about having a decentralized structure at Bresatech too. Why is that?
Bomberger: We have an office in Plano, and a new office in Austin, too, but our team members work everywhere from California to Connecticut, Florida to Washington. Currently, we have over 55 people supporting three different divisions—Pega, NetSuite, and our Innovation Solutions business—and we’re massively distributed. Pre-pandemic, our team members were flying into client sites to do their work, and that was all well and good. Now they’re not flying in, and that translates to a cost savings for the client.
Martin: We do a lot of work in public sector, especially at the state level in Texas and Vermont. We opened up an office in Austin a few months back because we wanted to be close to the state agencies there. Previously, our state clients were less open to distributed work. But when COVID happened, offices shut down and they had to adapt.
We were fortunate that our business is cloud-based. To say that is one thing, but to be good at working as a distributed team, with distributed clients, is another. We’ve really gotten crisp about how that model works. And our clients have really gotten comfortable with virtual delivery of our technical and business output. In fact, many still may want us to work on that model when COVID subsides.
We’ve worked hard on measuring the productivity of people and the resources while they’re remote—for ourselves and for our clients. Our clients are very interested in how to measure the productivity of distributed teams. I think you’re going to hear a lot more about that measurement piece over the next year. It’s something we help our clients do with Pega.
Texas CEO Magazine: Can you talk about your partnerships with Pega and NetSuite?
Martin: When Jessey and I started the company, we had a first-mover advantage by becoming premier partners with both Pega and NetSuite. I came from Pega, so obviously I have relationships there. Pega is heading toward $5 billion in topline revenue by 2025, and we want to be with them on that journey. We think they’re the market leader in business process management. They do financial services, insurance, healthcare—every vertical under the sun—but their public sector business was fairly new when we got into it. Now, it’s grown like crazy. We feel that we are their go-to for public sector business at the state level, especially in Texas.
We’re now a Pega Premier Consulting Partner and we’re investing as much in them as they’re investing in us. They have totally embraced the partner strategy, whether it’s with big five firms like Accenture to Deloitte or boutique partners like us. I’m passionate about our Pega relationship. It’s our largest revenue engine in the company right now. We’ve got some big expansions coming on that side of the business in the next three to six months, bringing on new states and new business, including within Texas.
Bomberger: When William and Jessey brought me on board, the first thing they asked me to do was help build a NetSuite practice. Pegasystems is an enterprise-wide solution usually leveraged by large organizations, while NetSuite is more of a small to mid-market business play, so that partnership is a great solution for our clients in that category. If a company is doing from $2 million to $200 million in revenue and is in hyper-growth mode, they may have started their business using spreadsheets or QuickBooks. NetSuite is a good ERP solution that lets them scale beyond those tools and have more transparency into their business.
A small business owner can use it and say, “Now I can now run my business like the big boys.” NetSuite is owned by Oracle, so they have a much bigger enterprise behind them. It takes a lot of the risk out of digital transformation for a small to mid-market company
When we built this practice, we did what we’d done before by taking William from Pega to be our practice director. We pulled our NetSuite practice director straight from NetSuite where she continues to have strong relationships. We very quickly built a practice around her that now includes 18 people and more than 75 years of NetSuite experience. We went from making no money in that practice to roughly $2 million in year one, and we’re going to double that this next year. That practice focuses heavily on retail. To have clients go through the transformation process and say, “Thank you, this is one of the best experiences we’ve had”—that’s very satisfying. Now they can run their business from one place and get rid of all their smaller, separate systems.
Texas CEO Magazine: What happens in the third area you talked about, Innovation Solutions?
Bomberger: The Pega and NetSuite practices are very specific to those platforms. But our Innovation Solutions practice isn’t tied to a certain technology. It’s completely agnostic. There, we help clients unlock the potential of their investment in any kind of software asset. A lot of companies have these software packages just sitting on the shelf, or they’re only leveraging the asset 20 percent. We sit down and talk about their three- to five-year roadmap and what we can do to take their company forward. Essentially, we’re helping them solve business problems from a technology standpoint.
We also do executive search through our Innovation Solutions practice. We’ve helped a lot of our clients find great people, especially in Texas. As you know, Texas is a magnet for people and companies on the East and West coasts. These companies can’t get out of California and New York fast enough. So we do things like work with the Dallas Regional Chamber on talking to clients about why Dallas-Fort Worth is the place to be.
Texas CEO Magazine: It sounds like Bresatech was able to grow even through COVID-19. How did you manage that?
Martin: In the middle of the pandemic, we doubled down on our investment in growth. While everybody else was cutting, we went full force and hired a lot of great talent that was on the street. As I mentioned, we’re lucky that our business is cloud-based and that our clients quickly acclimated to working with us on a distributed model.
We also really built out our own operations last year, despite the pandemic. We needed a chassis behind this thing, because we knew our business was going to take off. It’s tough to hire talent and build a foundation when you’re moving fast. When the race cars are going around the track, it’s hard to change the tires. So we made those investments early, and I’m glad we did. Our Pega, NetSuite, and Innovation Solutions businesses are all exploding now—in a good way.
Texas CEO Magazine: What’s next for Bresatech?
Martin: Well, our Austin office is now opened. We also have an office in Singapore as the foundation of our global business. We want to have everything set up so we can hit the ground running when we’re ready to do more business in Asia-Pacific and Europe. Jessey’s other businesses are global, so he spends a lot of time in Asia. That will be a natural progression for us.
We’re going to continue to invest heavily in Texas. Texas is the epicenter of our state-level and Pega business. We’re also going to move into Florida; Pega wants us to leverage the model we’ve worked out in Austin at the state capitol in Tallahassee. We’re also being positioned by Pega for federal work—usually the domain of the big five firms—because of the excellent work we’ve done at the state level. We’re looking at the VA. There’s a lot of business process automation that could be done there. We’re also looking at getting involved with the FDA, the IRS, and the census. The backend of the census online was all Pega, for example.
Bomberger: We’re looking at Houston as another market to open within Texas. We’ve got a great relationship with [US Congresswoman] Lizzie Fletcher down there. There’s just a tremendous amount of oil and gas now. We’ve got a huge group of folks in the Denver area too, so that’s probably the next marketplace for us to put a banner up in.
Martin: I also think it’s important to say that we’re in this for the long haul. I wouldn’t have come to Bresatech, and I don’t think Matt would have either, if the goal was to get something up and running, show mass amounts of profitability, and then sell. This is a legacy business, which is a very different approach. Most of our competitors are looking to sell in three to five years.
Jessey is fully behind this thing, as are all the executives we work with at Pega and NetSuite. Pega is a billion-dollar company; they’re not going to bet on a partner who’s going to be gone in two years. They want a team with the right skills, the right leadership, the right strategy. Ours is not a short-term play. It’s a long-term play, and that’s different from many startups and other VC-owned or private-equity firms. Again, we’re built differently – in a lot of ways.
Bomberger: Bresatech was founded on white-glove experience. That’s how we treat our clients and each other. A lot of companies pay lip service to that, but really they’re trying to sell, sell, sell, and they don’t worry about what the delivery looks like. We want to build a long-term relationship with our clients and be part of their success. We want to be there for them in the good times and in the bad times, even if it’s two o’clock in the morning when something’s blown up.
When we won the contract with the State of Vermont, we had less than 10 people. It was a David-versus-Goliath type scenario. There were a lot of big players battling to win this five-year, $6 million contract, but this little 10-person company got it. And within six months, we had a very happy client. Because we turned it around for Vermont, we really got Pega’s attention. Many of our large competitors are doing so many things, they can’t focus as much as we do. Our approach is unique, and we take a lot of pride in that.