Mteto Nyati targets global tech consultancies with BSG deal

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 15 Nov 2022
BSG CEO Jurie Schoeman and executive chairman Mteto Nyati.
BSG CEO Jurie Schoeman and executive chairman Mteto Nyati.

Former MTN South Africa and Altron CEO Mteto Nyati has bought a controlling stake in local technology and consulting firm Business Systems Group (BSG), for an undisclosed amount.

In an interview with ITWeb, Nyati, who also served as Microsoft South Africa MD, said he has snapped up a 40% shareholding in BSG.

The home-grown BSG competes with multinationals such as Deloitte, Accenture and KPMG in the South African and African consultancy space.

BSG has been operating across South Africa and the broader African region for more than two decades, with a specific professional focus on providing tech-based consulting services and solutions to clients.

According to Nyati, the other shareholders include the BSG employees, who own 15% of the company, and two shareholders who own the remaining stake. “I don’t want to name them, but there are two other separate shareholders that hold the rest of the shareholding.”

Nyati − who sits on the boards of Eskom, Nedbank, Telkom and Massmart − bought into BSG through investment vehicle Wazo Investments.

As the majority shareholder, Nyati has been named executive chairman of the Houghton-based company.

“I’ve bought 40% of the company, which is a significant shareholding. The rationale behind it is that I wanted to be involved in a local and home-grown company that is making a difference in South Africa.

“Some of the challenges that we are facing in South Africa is our inability to translate strategy into reality. Implementation is a big problem in South Africa – whether you are talking about private sector or public sector,” Nyati told ITWeb.

“Here we’ve got an entity that has a proven track record of helping very large enterprises, particularly in the financial services space, and it’s really doing a great job in helping them to realise value across their strategies.”

Broader targets

Nyati believes with his experience gained at Microsoft, MTN and Altron, he will be able to assist the company to diversify to other industry verticals beyond financial services.

“I felt that they [BSG] can do much more than they are currently doing in financial services by also operating in other industries. That’s where I see the potential for growth. But right now, they have a great track record in financial services, and they are doing what many South African companies are unable to do to implement and drive execution.

“They are using data insights to guide their interventions. So, the combination of all of these factors made me feel this is a good candidate to be associated with.”

The target markets Nyati is looking to tap into with BSG include telecoms, oil and gas, as well as healthcare.

“Not that we will not be going to other industries, but we feel these are the key industries that talk to our value proposition.”

Nyati buys into BSG − a company founded by Greg Reis – just as it celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Also speaking during the interview, BSG CEO Jurie Schoeman said the company has grown into a formidable business with a strong purpose and values.

He noted that Reis founded the company from scratch. “We have since evolved our value proposition to a point where we are now trusted by executives to help them solve their most significant problems, as an alternative to working with typical large global consulting and technology companies.

“We now have about 160 people in BSG, and I think that represents a good growth base to scale,” Schoeman pointed out.

Nyati added that in 2008, BSG won the Deloitte “Best Company to Work for Survey” when it scooped the overall small company category and the IT company sub-category.

“At the time, when they won the award, I was working for Microsoft and we won in a different category and they also won in that category. For me, that says a lot about this company in regards to how much it takes care of its people. It puts its people at the centre for it to be able to compete against global multinationals.”

In 2011, BSG was the overall winner of the Discovery Health Sunday Times Healthy Company Index. In 2019, it was named the Best Employer Brand in South Africa at the 2019 LinkedIn Talent Awards.

Balancing act

Describing how he juggles the multiple board roles, as well as his new venture, Nyati explained: “I’ve always told myself that I need to balance myself and spend at least 70% of my time on my investment entity, which is BSG, and spend the remainder of the time trying to help organisations that are struggling; organisations that I feel have got an important role in the lives of South Africans. Those organisations are Eskom, Telkom and Nedbank.

“In fact, at the end of this financial year, it’s going to be back to three roles because Walmart has decided to buy the minority shareholding in Massmart, so that company is going to be de-listed and the board is going to be dissolved.

“So, I have told myself that I only need to sit on three boards and the bulk of my time will be used on my investment company.”