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Friday, Dec 1, 2023

The Briefing

Srinivasan Ramaswamy has one of the best problems a chief operating officer can have managing his company’s staggering growth. Since it was formed in 1993, Glendale-based Systech Solutions Inc., a provider of application and integration services for e-commerce, market research and data collection, has grown from a two-person team to 165 employees throughout the U.S. and India. Revenues have soared from $472,000 in 1995 to $11.8 million, making the company 79th on Inc. Magazine’s list of the 500 fastest growing, privately held companies last year. With a growth rate in excess of 2,000 percent, some might start flying by the seat of their pants. But Ramaswamy and Arum Gollapudi, the company’s other co-founder and CEO, took a far more methodical approach. Ramaswamy spoke about it with Business Journal senior reporter Shelly Garcia. “What we have done differently from (other companies) in our industry is the way we are structured. There’s not too much hierarchy, and decisions are made by teams. When we are growing like this, the decisions have to be made fast. (Groups are) autonomous in decision-making with assistance from Arun and I. “Systech has a few groups. The business development team, professional services, the advanced technology team. If a client gives us a problem (to solve), business development goes to advanced technology and says, ‘Is there a technology that can solve this?’ Advanced technology goes and finds out what the technologies are and trains professional services on what technology can be (applied). “One thing that actually helped us grow like this was we created a kind of boot camp for the organization in terms of internal training. “There are two different boot camps, one for the U.S. (and one for India). When companies hire new people it’s a very difficult transition process. There may be a few experts and the rest of the people are just carried along. Because of our good training program, we had successes even after new people joined. “I think everybody walks into an organization with certain expectations of how the organization should be. Managing that is the most difficult. Apart from that, I think every other challenge has been a cakewalk. “When I say managing expectations, we have done it by mentoring, by encouragement, by being critical about any process. We have post-mortems for almost everything, success or failure. Being at the top I have to be open to being criticized myself. That’s the only way, the two-way communication, and I think that has helped us a lot. We are not the only people who are steering the boat. I think when you hire people you have to manage expectations so they help in steering the boat.”

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