Karsun Solutions LLC

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December 12, 2016 Issue



Innovative IT Modernization Company Provides Agile Development, Cloud Solutions and Advanced Analytics to Federal Government Agencies



Sundar Vaidyanathan

Chief Executive Officer


Karsun Solutions LLC


Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – December 12, 2016


CEOCFO: Mr. Vaidyanathan, what was the vision when you co-founded Karsun Solutions?

Mr. Vaidyanathan: When we started our company in 2009, we were entrenched in implementing IT modernization solutions for the General Administration Services (GSA), one of the key federal agencies facilitating the acquisition of products and services for the government. We successfully implemented innovative processes and technologies to improve the acquisition processes for GSA. Our customer recognized our ability to provide objective recommendations and brought in innovative solutions to solve their challenges. Our vision then and now remains unchanged. It is to be a Premier Service Provider of IT Modernization Efforts for the federal government.


CEOCFO: What types of projects are you working on today?

Mr. Vaidyanathan: The US Federal government procures close to $500B worth of products and services. The acquisition processes and supporting systems are complex and need to be updated to accommodate changing regulations and market conditions. With our unique knowledge of the acquisition process and systems being used, we targeted and won programs with a scope of reengineering acquisition processes and modernizing acquisition systems. Based on our experience and performance in IT modernization efforts, we were awarded a $110 million, five-year PRIME contract with GSA. We developed new techniques and implemented innovative solutions that resulted in an improved acquisition process and increased operational efficiency for the government. We successfully orchestrated higher performance for the government through our transformative solutions using our core service offerings in Modern Software Development, Cloud Solutions and Advanced Analytics.


CEOCFO: Would you give us a couple of examples of how this works?

Mr. Vaidyanathan: Back in 2014, before we embarked on pursuing this major opportunity ($110m), we invested heavily in our Karson Innovation Center to develop a comprehensive methodology (a.k.a. GoLean®) to enable the transformation of software development with lean driven automation of Agile and DevOps processes. The key goal was to come up with an innovative methodology to develop high-quality software in a fast and agile fashion with a minimal overall cost. We looked at every aspect of the software development process, experimented with several open source innovations, and assembled the key ones to create our GoLean methodology that brings processes, tools and data across the development lifecycle into one platform. We also built partnerships with key tool vendors, such as Amazon, Red Hat, Microsoft, etc. to provide seamless support to our customers. To summarize, our Karsun GoLean® methodology helped achieve high quality software with defects well below industry standard, faster delivery and reduced cost of delivery through time reduction and resource optimizations using Agile and DevOps.


CEOCFO: Do the agencies you are working with understand what you are doing or skeptical you can make those changes and reduce cost and time?

Mr. Vaidyanathan: That is a very good question. We recognized early on that there would be a barrier to adoption of any new idea or approach at the initial stage. However, the key is to take risks incrementally by trying it out on a specific project, demonstrate measurable results and create a ‘Fly Wheel’ condition of accumulating incremental success. That’s exactly what we did. We convinced our customer to experiment with GoLean on a specific project and we demonstrated visible outcomes such as defect reduction (increased quality), reduced time to deploy enhanced features to production (faster delivery) and optimized resource utilization (cost reduction). Once, our customer started seeing results, they were all very supportive, and we are able to bring this across the board in our company. In fact, Karsun is now known as a leading innovator within our customer base.


CEOCFO: How do you decide what projects to bid on? What is your focus?

Mr. Vaidyanathan: Our decision to bid projects is predominantly based on alignment of the project scope/requirements with our capabilities. We have developed core competencies in three key areas:


First is Modern Software Development. We combine modern best practices from Agile development, DevOps, Lean operations, Behavior Driven Development (BDD) and Acceptance Test Driven Development (ATTD) into what we call modern software development. We created the GoLean methodology to enable this modern software development through which we bring processes, tools and data across the development lifecycle into one platform.  We provide visualizations correlating delivery metrics, and provide a tool kit to scale lean practices within, between and across teams to orchestrate high performance for enterprises.


Second is Cloud solutions. We have proven experience with establishing and optimizing cloud platforms that are multi tenanted and FISMA security compliant to deploy applications. We also provide support with migrating legacy/non-legacy applications to the cloud and integrating with on premise applications. We achieve cost reduction by not only migrating to the cloud, but also by optimizing on the cloud though containerization. Karsun has become one of the government competency providers for AMAZON AWS. Through our partnerships with cloud providers such as AWS, we are able to accelerate these solutions for our customers.


Third is Advanced Analytics. Under this competency, we have developed capabilities in three core areas: Information Management, Business Intelligence, and Predictive/Prescriptive Analytics. We have successfully provided on-premise and cloud-based information management solutions that are centralized, standardized, and automated data collection with improved data quality. We have implemented comprehensive end-to-end business intelligence solutions using big data analytical platforms on the cloud by aggregating multiple raw data sources rapidly to provide business analysis reports and dashboards for our customers. We can also develop and implement predictive analytics models by using demographic, behavioral, and psychographic data to improve event outcomes. We are investing R&D dollars to mature our capabilities in predictive/prescriptive analytics by bringing in artificial intelligence and machine learning that will ultimately help customers focus on higher value tasks.


CEOCFO: How is business these days?

Mr. Vaidyanathan: Karsun is doing well. In 2010, we were fortunate to start our company with a $23 million five-year contract. Our revenue for first year was about $4.1 million, but then we grew from there steadily to $22 million last year. This year, we are on track to cross $30 million. More importantly, we have built a great deal of backlog for next year and we hope to cross $40 million to $45 million next year.


CEOCFO: What do you look for in your people?

Mr. Vaidyanathan: First and foremost, we try hard not to compromise on the quality of technical and professional competency. We look for people with the right DNA to get embedded in our innovation-driven and performance-based culture. We look for leaders with an innate ability to collaborate and bring the people together based on their leadership as opposed to relying on positional authority. We greatly emphasize and reward “Teamwork” and “Collaboration” more than individual accomplishments. We nurture an environment where ideas compete and the best ones bubble up to the top, and everyone gets behind the best idea and executes on it. My co-founder, Kartik Mecheri and I demonstrate that on a daily basis. Sometimes our own ideas get shot down, but that is how we set the example. We have had innovation as a key area of focus in terms of performance rewards since 2011. We provide an environment that promotes “Cutting through the red tape” and “Fighting on merit”. We evaluate performance in terms of the impact to our corporate goals and reward our team accordingly.


CEOCFO: What is ahead for Karsun Solutions?

Mr. Vaidyanathan: We have consciously altered our approach to growth by leading with capabilities. We are in pursuit of a two-pronged strategy to (a) expand our customer footprint by targeting our IT modernization solutions to other federal agencies (b) make entry into commercial sector with our GoLean cloud offering. We currently have a deep presence in two key federal agencies: General Services Administration and Department of Homeland Security. Agencies are pursuing the “Cloud First” policy which is certainly contributing to the acceleration of cloud adoption within federal agencies. They are also looking to modernize their business process and supporting systems to get more agile in meeting their missions. We have identified a $2B+ qualified pipeline of opportunities that are aligned to our core competencies in the federal market and we believe we are poised to capitalize on those opportunities in the coming years. On the commercial front, we just launched our GoLean offering at AWS re:Invent cloud computing conference in Las Vegas. We have allocated adequate R&D dollars to continue to enhance and refine our GoLean offering to make it very attractive to our commercial customers. We also plan to build out a dedicated organization to go after commercial opportunities. Overall, we are very excited at the possibilities ahead for Karsun.


“Karsun GoLean® methodology helped achieve high quality software with defects well below industry standard, faster delivery and reduced cost of delivery through time reduction and resource optimizations using Agile and DevOps.”- Sundar Vaidyanathan


Karsun Solutions LLC



Juan Robles






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