22 January 2019


This month Simon Banks talks to Matthew Tolkien, Group Sales Director at BusinessWatch, a Fire Compliance & Security maintenance group enjoying rapid growth through acquisition.

What was your background before you joined BusinessWatch?   

I joined BusinessWatch in February 2018 as part of a three-person Executive team tasked with looking at the wider picture for the overall Group and how we could improve efficiency and processes. Previously I helped SMEs grow their businesses by focusing on strategy and planning. My 20 years in our sector has enabled me to support the Group following the 7 acquisitions made in recent years – including the Electronic Security division of Gunnebo UK (previously Clear Image), adding a Category 2 NSI Gold ARC to our portfolio. We now boast a £12 million business with a 150-strong workforce across our offices in Peterborough and Leeds.

What has been your main focus during your time at BusinessWatch?

Our focus has been to guide the direction of the business from a group of SMEs and regional domestic brands, to a nationally recognised provider of high-end integrated solutions. We have looked to streamline services to help our multiple teams work more closely together for the benefit of our customers. We also have a £4.5m recurring revenue side to the business that needs management and we have focused on consolidating this. Proving ourselves as an NSI approved installer and a BAFE certified supplier has helped us to ensure our standards remain high across the company.

How important have partnerships been as part of your growth strategy?

Our partnerships have been a fundamental element of our growth and success. Some of our major contracts include Water Authorities such as Northumbria & Essex Water and 800 sites for Yorkshire Water – who we have worked closely with for over 20 years. Today our customer partnerships are stronger than ever, enhanced by the new technologies we can offer them as part of a ‘World Class service’. Today, security is vitally important for national infrastructure such as Water Authorities, due to international terrorism and cyber threats. Reservoir hatch alarms are now required on sites across Yorkshire Water’s estate as the impact of ‘break-ins’ would be catastrophic. These are all tailored solutions for specific threats and we are working in partnership to deliver these.  

How would you define ‘World Class service’?  

If the client doesn’t know there is a problem until we have managed and controlled it, that’s World Class service. The phones aren’t ringing, because we are reaching out to update our customers. Complete peace of mind for our customer is what we strive for. Technology is vital to the systems we provide and BusinessWatch are one of the largest users of CSL’s Emizon TCD in the UK. The Emizon maintenance portal and UDL capabilities enable us to monitor our systems to help build confidence in the service we provide. Standard 6-month maintenance visits are now replaced with always-on 24/7 365 monitoring, instant response and monthly/weekly reports where required. The latest addition to our offerings is CSL Router. We are now supplying one with every CCTV system that goes out to provide a 4G back-up for installations that are setup using existing broadband and as a standalone connection for those that have no internet. With partners like CSL we can ensure our customers’ sites are always connected.


“You can't beat IP/GPRS alarm signalling from @CSLGroupLtd ;)”.

Advanced Alarms – 4th Jan

For more information about BusinessWatch, click here to visit their website.

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