Wow! I can’t believe an entire year has gone by since I launched TeamSWAMI! I am naturally an analytical person, so I spent a lot of time talking with mentors and others before I made the decision to launch my own firm. I researched the market, secured funding, created a business plan, and forged connections with current business owners who shared the joys and challenges of owning a small business. Bottom line: I knew my journey was going to be challenging but also had the potential to be very rewarding.
Leaving a stable job to start a company is not for everyone, but I know I made the right decision for me. Prior to starting TeamSWAMI, I spent my career working in consulting and corporate America. I “grew up” around structure, process, rules, filling out approval forms, and the politics that accompany corporate leadership positions. I can’t explain the freedom that has come with starting this business. I can try different things and see what works, meet people from all kinds of backgrounds and organizations, continue to mentor students and technologists, and most importantly, provide value to our clients.
Although starting a new firm comes with many challenges—financing, resource acquisition, and business development, to name a few—I wouldn’t change my decision to launch TeamSWAMI. My professional experience, schooling, and personal drive come in handy as I look for creative and imaginative ways to address both expected and unexpected challenges. I have always been scrappy. As a result, I face each challenge individually and do not allow myself to get caught up with unproductive scenarios. This approach provides perspective and ensures I focus my time on constructive pursuits.
When I launched the company, I had no idea what my first project would be, but I was confident my team’s experience would provide value to our clients. I am fortunate to have a very professional and talented team. One subset of our team focuses on mainframe and application modernization. We complete due diligence on a client’s mainframe environment and help them look for ways to reduce their costs more efficiently. We provide options to modernize applications through use of APIs on hybrid architectures. We are also actively engaged with colleges and universities to educate the next generation of technologists on the value of mainframe technology.
The second part of our team focuses on providing customized solutions on Cloud technologies. We are currently working with an educational assessment company to enable test assessments for students in the Middle East. We built a customized solution in less than 5 months, and are excited about completing production implementation this month. It is so rewarding to provide efficient and effective solutions that help solve our clients’ business problems.
When I contemplated going to graduate school for my MBA, one of my uncles gave me some great advice. He said, “Don’t give them a reason to pass you by for an opportunity.” His perspective helped motivate me through an incredibly difficult joint MBA program (Upon completion of the Executive MBA program, we received MBAs from UCLA Anderson’s School of Management and the National University of Singapore’s Business School). I persevered because I wanted to ensure I had the qualifications to be competitive for leadership positions. I also applied his advice to my plan as I established my company. I wanted TeamSWAMI to be considered for a variety of opportunities. In our first year of operations, we became certified for the following:
- IBM Gold Consultant
- Approved Federal Contractor
- Women Owned Small Business through the U.S. Small Business Administration
- Women Minority Business Enterprise for the State of Illinois
- State of Illinois Approved Vendor
If you’ve gone through the process of applying for and acquiring these designations, you know how much time and documentation is required prior to approval. It was worth the effort. I am now able to compete for corporate, state, and federal opportunities. In addition to these certifications, we also partner with hardware and software vendors and consulting companies. There is a need for technical talent across many industries and I am proud our team can help other companies solve their technical challenges.
As I think about what’s in store for year two, I am focused on three goals:
- Continuing to expand our consulting team with high-caliber talent
- Growing our client base with clients that value quality service and relationships with their vendors
- Helping to build the next generation of technical talent
We are proud of the value we provide to our clients and look forward to another successful and productive year. If you are interested in learning more about our services, please reach out to me, [email protected] or our Principal Consultant, Greg DeBo, at [email protected]. We’d be happy to discuss ways we can help your organization solve your unique business challenges.