Telstra should make a quick decision on the future of the Kaz Group and could sell it off within weeks, according to the man who founded the IT services outfit.
Peter Kazacos, now managing director of PK Business Advantage (PKBA), voiced his opinion after buying Invizage from Telstra's advertising and local search subsidiary, Sensis.
"If you told people I had bought a business from Telstra they would immediately think it was part of Kaz," he said. "We always thought Invizage was a little jewel [before selling Kaz to Telstra in 2004] but we were never allowed to touch it."
Kazacos refuted claims Invizage had never been a good fit within Sensis and instead suggested its sale reflected a desire within Telstra to stick to the knitting.
"Sensis initially looked to leverage its existing customer base and cross-sell the Invizage technology services but Sol [Trujillo, Telstra CEO] has really shifted the focus onto making Telstra as efficient as possible in core areas of business. They had to let go of something," he said.
Kaz has been in the news recently following Telstra's decision to sell its business process outsourcing unit to Fuji Xerox. Now that the telcos senior management is sharpening its focus on core business, Kazacos predicted more activity surrounding Kaz in the near future.
"There s an expectation that Telstra will rationalise what s left and a decision needs to be made pretty quickly because you can t be half pregnant," he said. "Something will happen within weeks. Kaz continues to give good ser vice but staff are becoming increasingly concerned and people will start to leave.
"I expect Kaz will be sold. Telstra will try to keep the defence business but the rest probably isn't a good fit. "If the Kaz business is sold in the weeks or months ahead, however, don t expect Kazacos to be the proud new owner.
"I've got my hands full already," he said. "Besides, when somebody buys your car and drives it you no longer know what you d be getting if you bought it back."
Kazacos returned to the IT industry earlier this year when forming PKBA and quickly acquired three regional players in North Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania. Following the Invizage buyout, he now claims PKBA is the largest IT solutions provider for SMEs in Australia.
The acquisition effectively doubles the headcount at PKBA to 150 and swells the customer base to more than 6000 companies. Adding offices in Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney also means PKBA can now boast national coverage.
Although there was geographical overlap in NSW and SA, Kazacos said the acquisition still added functionality in these states. PKBA already had its application development centre of excellence in Adelaide but the Invizage deal now gave it local IT infrastructure staff. Sydney had previously been HQ for the company but now it has a service delivery force.
The deal also adds online capability to the PKBA armoury, via Invizage's BuyIT.com.au website, and Kazacos was particularly bullish about a range of inherited service plans.
"Invizage has built a very rigid process for selling gold, silver and bronze [IT services] plans down to the small end of the market," he said. "It provides businesses with everything they need from helpdesk and onsite or remote engineers to audit processes. "We will refine that over the coming months and add a platinum plan, which will offer outsourced services and utilise broadband capability.
"Not only have we acquired a customer base but also a great range of processes that are integrated into the Invizage database systems. A lot of other companies servicing these customers do it in disjointed fashion."