Amina Jafery, CEO, Systel Inc

The IT industry is known for its ever-changing and volatile characteristics. Companies in this field must constantly adapt to new technologies, market trends, and consumer demands to stay relevant and competitive. Amina Jafery, CEO of Georgia-based Systel Inc, which has been offering IT solutions and services for over 20 years, says, “At Systel, we are committed to staying informed about emerging technologies and assessing their impact on legacy systems through our Centers of Excellence (COEs). Our COEs, led by senior subject matter experts from various technical platforms, are dedicated to monitoring every development and preparing proactive upgrade strategies.” Systel’s dependency on global economic trends is mitigated by its longstanding policy of cultivating deep and trusted client relationships. Ms. Jafery adds, “We invest heavily in maintaining our client’s trust, which provides a degree of insulation from market volatility.”

Founded in 1997, Systel was the brainchild of a young visionary, Mr. Madhusudhan Raju Chintalapati, who recognized the potential of the dotcom revolution and the upcoming demand for skilled professionals. Starting out as a one-person operation from a home office, the company quickly gained momentum. Mr. Chintalapati understood that the strength of the company lay in its team, and he hand-picked individuals who shared his ideology, ethics, and drive. In their first year, the team focused on understanding and identifying potential clients who could adapt to information technology, creating individual roadmaps for each. Within a few years, Systel had on-boarded major clients such as Ford and IBM, achieving an unprecedented compound annual growth rate of over 45%.

Delivering Unmatched Quality Services

Systel is a professional services organization offering IT staff augmentation, IT product development and maintenance, and business process outsourcing services to some of the largest System Integrators and Fortune 1000 companies. “Our COEs enable us to consistently deliver high-quality products and resources with short turnaround times. We prioritize scalable and robust solutions, and our delivery model ensures seamless coordination between business and technical teams to deliver high-quality solutions aligned with business objectives,” shares Ms. Jafery. Systel’s COEs are specialized groups with a wealth of subject matter expertise and extensive experience in their domains. These teams are skilled in sourcing, screening, skill-based testing, and interviewing candidates, resulting in reduced effort for their clients and high-quality resources being assigned to their projects.

To ensure higher customer satisfaction, Systel has implemented a 3-tier delivery model. The on-shore account managers work with each account lead to understand their requirements and coordinate delivery. At the second tier, on-site coordinators closely collaborate with account representatives to ensure timely delivery and gather feedback on performance. Finally, at the third tier, the off-shore delivery team takes over. “This 3-tier model not only guarantees high-quality and customer satisfaction but is also highly cost-effective,” pinpoints Ms. Jafery.

Systel has developed the ‘Train and Deploy’ model, which hires resources and trainers to impart comprehensive subject knowledge on niche technologies based on client needs. The company collaborates with its clients to understand the technology and demand, and its internal team of trainers and SMEs create a curriculum tailored to the client’s exact requirements. “We hire resources with basic knowledge of the technology for the role and groom them as per the client’s specific needs. This model is designed for situations where the demand is high, and the supply of resources on the particular technology is sparse,” states Ms. Jafery. The in-depth technical knowledge imparted by Systel helps clients reduce the induction period for the resources as they are ‘ready to roll’ right from day one, ensuring higher quality of resources and a continuous supply. Systel has successfully implemented this model with two of the world’s largest system integrators for Hyperion and Oracle ATG.

Building Deep-rooted Relationships

Systel has a track record of providing its clients with top-notch services and has expanded its customer base by catering to diverse demands while retaining its existing clientele. The company has witnessed a consistent up-curve of over 30% yearly in its growth history with HCL and Cognizant. Systel has added several significant clients to its portfolio in the past couple of years, including Metlife, Regeneron, Dysis, State of GA & IA. “We have a systematic process for incubating new accounts, with a dedicated leader assigned solely for incubation. We believe in providing personalized support to each account until it has gained momentum, allowing it to understand the traction better and fine-tune its practices,” says Ms. Jafery.

The dedicated incubation team at Systel brings in a lot of experience, ensuring that the company keeps focusing on its existing accounts. Examples of Systel’s success in this area are Genpact and Wipro, where the company has grown these accounts to contribute 10% and 12% of its top-line revenue, respectively. “Though we started with staff augmentation as our key services area, we have a key focus on expanding its service portfolio. In the past few years, we have diversified into IT recruitment process and career management services,” shares Ms. Jafery.

Systel’s market can be categorized into two segments: the primary market comprises large system integrators and Fortune 1000 companies, where IT staffing is considered a foot-in-the-door strategy, and once established, Systel can graduate up the value chain to IT services. In recent years, Systel has also targeted medium and small businesses to offer IT services such as product development and maintenance, remote infrastructure management, and training solutions. Ms. Jafery states, “From a geographical perspective, the US remains the lion’s share of our business focus, although we have succeeded in providing IT services in other regions.”

Systel has achieved all of its growth organically by focusing on building deep-rooted relationships with its clients. The company firmly invests in relationships and redesigns its delivery models and solutions based on customer needs to ensure high customer satisfaction. Systel uses the credibility built from these relationships as a foundation to move up the value chain. “Growth through references has yielded great results for Systel, as satisfied customers often lead to referrals,” states Ms. Jafery. Systel has remained one step ahead of the game to attract top talent by establishing a robust social media strategy. The company has partnered with a leading consultant to execute this strategy and continuously monitors viewership and engagement metrics to ensure the highest level of penetration into resource farms.

Engaging Employees Efficiently

“At Systel, we firmly believe that our employees are the ambassadors of our brand, and they hold the power to make a lasting impression on our customers. As a company, we strongly emphasize employee satisfaction and strive to maintain an excellent standard of employee relations management across our global locations,” says Ms. Jafery. Systel invests heavily in employee relations management, implementing initiatives to engage and motivate its staff. One such program is the career path program, which outlines a clear path for each employee’s future growth, linked to their KRA/KPI and developed in collaboration with HR and their reporting manager. By identifying areas for improvement and arranging tailored training programs, this initiative helps employees envision their future with the company and aspire to remain with the organization.

Moreover, a revised incentive structure was introduced by Systel, which linked every effort made by the employee and their performance on KRA/KPI to monetary benefits. Systel also launched a portal allowing employees to measure their performance, set financial goals, and calculate their anticipated bonuses. This increased transparency and benevolence led to higher employee retention rates.

“We have also implemented quarterly appraisals to ensure that each employee is aware of their performance and areas of improvement to meet their goals. This early warning system has proven helpful in optimizing employee performance and improving satisfaction levels. By giving employees a chance to improve their ratings in advance, instead of an end-of-year surprise, we have seen a positive impact on employee retention and motivation,” shares Ms. Jafery. Systel strongly believes that all work and no play make the office a sad place. The company has initiated several employee engagement programs such as weekend parties, surprise office games, and celebrations to create a fun environment in the office and enhance employee motivation and teamwork.

The Way Forward

Systel strongly focuses on staying up-to-date with technology and industry advancements to ensure continued growth. Ms. Jafery says, “We believe in being a disruptor in the space we play in. Our definition of disruption actually means progress and evolution. That means anyone waiting for someone else to take the lead will be marginalized and sidelined. So, better to be the disruptor than disrupted.” Systel is investing heavily in building reusable components and open-source technology, which is different from conventional IT service firms. The company is also exploring ways to revolutionize the IT staffing industry by developing a platform that provides on-demand resources without requiring multiple layers of recruiters. “Our goal is to become the “Uber” of the staffing industry by leveraging technology and simplifying the staffing process,” concludes Ms. Jafery.

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