Avaap Inc.


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October 5, 2015 Issue

The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information


Industry Specific IT Technology Service Provider with Consulting Services around Back Office ERP, Business Intelligence Solutions and Systems Integration



Dhiraj Shah

President and CEO


Avaap Inc.



Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – October 5, 2015


CEOCFO: Mr. Shah, what is Avaap?

Mr. Shah: Avaap is a technology innovator and software services organization, specifically focused on Infor software within specific industries. We do consulting services around enterprise software and business intelligence solutions for industries that we target such as healthcare, public sector, manufacturing, and retail.


CEOCFO: Did you start out looking at specific industries or was it more opportunistic?

Mr. Shah: We did start out looking at certain industries. We started out in healthcare, which is our dominant vertical, and specifically on the provider side. With Obamacare coming around there was a great deal of attention paid on the clinical side, but we were a part of that wave and had a tremendous amount of growth that came from the healthcare side. We saw having industry focus and specialization on Infor distinguished us from many of the IT tech service providers, so we continued on that path and went into other verticals.


CEOCFO: How does being a technology innovator work, as opposed to just having a standard solution that you offer?

Mr. Shah: A large part of our business is doing systems integration work, so we do implementation of enterprise software. Implementing enterprise software is complex, so we work in tight partnership with our customers to understand pain points, and which ones are more prevalent across the board. From this collaboration, we develop solutions to address needs in the market. An example of that is software we created called Avaap Test Automation. What that does is it automates the entire regression testing cycle and condenses the implementation timeline for our customers from what would traditionally take three months of testing to maybe a week or two at most of testing time. We have a library of solutions that we have developed and we continue to drive innovation through those.


CEOCFO: Who is coming to Avaap and how are people finding you?

Mr. Shah: That is a very good question. If you had asked that question two years ago, it was through a great deal of personal handshakes, references and real grass roots approach. As we have grown, however, so has our presence in the Infor ecosystem. Avaap has been featured for two years in a row on Computer World’s Best Places to Work in IT, and we have hired 50 people in just the last 90 days. While we still maintain a high-touch, hands-on approach, people today are finding us through social media, recognition in the media and industry specific magazines that have featured us, which has allowed us to be a big employer in the industries that we are working in.


CEOCFO: Why are people coming to work for you and how do you know when someone is right for your organization?

Mr. Shah: We have a phenomenal work culture, where everyone is very happy. At the heart of that culture is one principal that I echo: Early on my father taught me that you have to love what you do and if you love what you do, you will never feel that you have worked a day in your life. That advice is credit into the core foundation of Avaap, where every individual loves their work and is passionate about what we do. If someone comes in for the role of a technician, but enjoys analysis more, we seek to move them accordingly so that they are able to enjoy that work and through that give the best output for our customers.


CEOCFO: You work with INFOR; what do you like about that system?

Mr. Shah: In the last two years, INFOR has really invested heavily in creating cloud-based next generation software solutions. Their strategy is the same as our strategy; very industry aligned. They are the only enterprise software provider that is providing software specific to industry and micro-verticals within the industries, which matches with our approach, and it is something that has worked very well between our two organizations.


CEOCFO: How do you work with your clients on both regulations and security, which are big issues today?

Mr. Shah: Our security practice started back in 2008, when Sarbanes-Oxley was a major concern. That tied into the innovation. Our first solution of innovation came through a turnkey data mart and reporting solution that gave our customers the ability to do things that Sarbanes-Oxley dictated, such as segregation of duties, which is very important in financial services, but also in other verticals. As more companies are moving into the cloud, a large part of our security service practice is validating those migrations into the cloud.


CEOCFO: When you are initially talking with a company, how do you assess what they really need as opposed to what they think that they need?

Mr. Shah: One of the service offerings that we have is a Business Process Assessment, which looks at current processes and where there are opportunities for improvement and cost control. Before taking on any large project, whether it is a cloud migration or an ERP implementation, or a big data project, we recommend customers complete that assessment, which is essentially documenting the needs and mapping that to the potential solutions and the cost tied to that solution. That exercise allows a customer to confirm their needs and that the solution matches current requirements, along with scalability to support future growth goals.


CEOCFO: How do you ease implementation? What are the steps?

Mr. Shah: The standard implementation that was used back in the 1990’s and early 2000’s has morphed into a more solution-centric approach. Avaap’s methodology leverages several Avaap JumpStart acceleration solutions. These solutions allow us to condense the timeline and automate certain tasks, enabling our customers to benefit from greater efficiency and lower costs. The Test Automation solution is one example. Another example is a scripted install. One of the first pivotal steps on a project is the installation of software that can sometimes be complex and take 3 to 5 weeks. We have automated those initial activities, shrinking the timeline for the customer. The use of our JumpStart solutions is the key in condensing the timeline and helping the customers lower their budget.


CEOCFO: How have you developed the JumpStart accelerators? When did you understand the need for that and what is involved in creating those services so that your total product is so much more efficient than your competitors?

Mr. Shah: It goes back to the founding principles of Avaap, which reflects the five elements in Sanskrit. The first element, Agni, which is fire, signifies passion, and then there is water, which we tie to innovation, and that has always been our drive. As an organization we are always asking how we can do things better for our customers. That desire for continuous improvement has been the catalyst for all these accelerators and innovations. It’s a proven fact that growth is only possible through innovation. Avaap’s growth has been staggering at 66% year-over-year in the last nine years, and we are forecasting the same growth for the next three years. We are a $20+ million organization and we are looking to be at about $100 million in the next three years. Innovation is the fuel that powers us to continue to leap forward.


CEOCFO: How are you maintaining the corporate culture that you currently have, as you continue to grow? Is this a concern for you?

Mr. Shah: This is a very valid point. In our last all-employee meeting, I ended the presentation with a picture that showed an individual at a crossroad. On the left side was a small house and it said the word “Start-up”. On the right side was a large building representing a multinational company. On top was the word, “Culture”. This was clearly echoing what you are saying. Maintaining the culture in a small company is easy, because everyone knows each other, tends to work closely and feels more personal. However, when you start growing it becomes difficult to maintain that same familial feeling. I told my team that I believe that it is a myth that culture cannot remain in intact as we continue to grow, especially if we continue to attract people who like what they do and committed to the mission. We are constantly looking for opportunities to ensure that we do not lose that culture that makes Avaap the force that we are in the industries we serve.


CEOCFO: What has changed in your approach over time?

Mr. Shah: When Avaap started, we were performing smaller projects, which were easier to control, and they did not require as much of a rigorous process-driven approach. As we have grown larger and   project complexity increases, defined processes and strong project management becomes increasingly important. We’ve learned the importance of having documented processes that are repeatable for more predictable results.


CEOCFO: What is your geographic range today?

Mr. Shah: We have a national footprint, and are active in more than 30 of the 50 states. We are working in the Middle East, we have an offshore service operation in India and we are actively looking at a European expansion.


CEOCFO: Why is this the right time to go after Europe?

Mr. Shah: The opportunity in Europe is tremendous. One of the industries that we are working in for example is retail, which is really running far behind the technology curve in Europe. Some of the largest retailers that leverage Infor software are in the European market. It makes sense to take what we have done in the U.S. market and replicate that in Europe.


CEOCFO: What are one or two key words or phrases that people would use to locate Avaap?

Mr. Shah: People searching online for Avaap would find us under “Infor Lawson services” and “industry specific ERP consulting”.


CEOCFO: Put it all together for our readers. Why choose Avaap?

Mr. Shah: Avaap offers Infor customers three key differentiations from competitors in the market. The first is that we stand by our customers and are committed to delivering outcome-based results that align technology investments with business requirements. We pride ourselves on our customer-centric approach and high customer satisfaction scores. The second thing we have already talked about extensively is our innovation, which essentially lends to us having JumpStart solutions that accelerate implementations. This allows us to distinguish ourselves from of the other vendors and give our customers a more condensed, lower budget solution to meet their technology needs. The third thing is our culture and our people, because at the end of the day, we are a people-oriented company and equally committed to our employees as we are to our customers. Avaap has been ranked on Computerworld’s Best Places to Work in IT at number 11. Therefore, customers can know that they will be getting people that are motivated and good at what they do to satisfy their project needs.


“Avaap’s methodology leverages several Avaap JumpStart acceleration solutions. These solutions allow us to condense the timeline and automate certain tasks, enabling our customers to benefit from greater efficiency and lower costs.”- Dhiraj Shah


Avaap Inc.




Melissa Prusher, Director of Marketing









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