An interview with Prathiba Ramadoss, CEO and Founder of Business Integra
Business Integra’s CEO, Prathiba Ramadoss was recently interviewed about her fierce pursuit of growth. She talks about why she believes Business Integra is successful, what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur and what she focuses on in running a successful business.
BI is 22 years into its journey as an integral resource for government and commercial clients. We’ve grown up to become a company with approximately 500 people, with 85% of our work being for federal contracts in support of their missions. We hold a staggering number of certifications and have received 17 awards in that time, including being one of only 22 in the U.S. awarded the CMMI Level 5 maturity level for both development and services (out of 11,808 appraisals globally). In addition to all that, we’ve co-founded 2 joint-venture SBA approved partnerships (BME and AI), and we’ve graduated into the large-business space – That’s a lot of growth!
Ms. Prathiba Ramadoss, Founder, President and CEO of Business Integra, is an award-winning entrepreneur. Her dynamic leadership, adaptive thinking and problem solving over the past 20 years have propelled the company from a niche IT services firm to a large U.S. Federal prime contracting IT powerhouse it is today, with a suite of proven enterprise IT service offerings that continuously enable the critical missions of U.S. Governments and address the range of human capital challenges that public and private corporations face today.
Prathiba outlines her thoughts below, on lessons learned over the last 22 years of complex business ownership, with diverse teams set up around the globe:
How would you say your leadership approach/strategy shifted in ways you didn’t expect it would?
Any lessons learned that have enabled this success?
“For me it’s a mindset matter. The method I apply that adds value is a clear focus. We want to be a strong player in the large business arena supporting the military and national security missions, so we brought in industry specialists onto our board of advisors and carefully selected strategic proposals to help us build out areas we wanted to strengthen. We also have good partnerships and process in place – that shows in our CMMI Level 5 rating. Process is very important to me – we apply it to everything we do and that gives us leverage to move to the right edge.”
How did you shift from IT staffing, into having a much broader repertoire of capability areas – and how do you envision building those areas out?
“We are not just a staffing company. We want to move beyond talent services and into SME and creating our own products and being specialists in niche areas of technology. That’s why we’re now building cyber, cloud and digital transformation capabilities and products.”
What is the most surprising shift in successful work areas that BI does now, compared to what you’d imagined long ago?
“The ‘cyber and AI shift’ has been a surprising niche we hadn’t envisioned entering. But being an agile company and having great developers and subject matter experts within our team, we’ve been able to step up our game and become serious competitors in this area.”
What were the top impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic had on BI?
“To be honest, the pandemic had its impact, but we were able overcome. We could no longer meet in person to collaborate and celebrate together. But that wasn’t really an issue for long, because we adapted quickly to using virtual collaboration tools. In fact, people seemed to be even more productive because they didn’t have anything else to do during lockdowns. In our industry, we were not too heavily impacted, thankfully.”
For other entrepreneurs like yourself, can you share any wisdom with us on how to effectively lead people who are spread around the globe, with project teams and offices all over the US and Southwest Asia?
Future vision. Clear strategy. Clear focus.
“I use both predictive vision (to identify what we want to do in future) and creative vision (to envision how to get there while keeping the work interesting for our staff). The best way to succeed is to have a clear vision so you can understand what you would like to accomplish. When starting out, entrepreneurs need to have a clear strategy and undivided focus. They should take calculated risks and be honest about what their team is able to do. If they’re not able to do something, the team needs to intentionally think it through from different angles to solve the problem together. A well-defined vision will help your organization stay focused on their goals and make sure that their actions match up with their values, so they can build trust with customers and employees alike.”
What would you tell someone now that you wish someone had told you about business ownership?
“Oh, that’s a very, very good question! One example is that I wish someone had told me that as an 8a small business, it’s important not to get comfortable just going after the small opportunities, but rather to go after bigger opportunities anyway – envision the future growth and go after it sooner than later.
Think far out into the future, strategically keeping an end in mind.Even if you’re a small business owner, you have to think and do like a large business.”
What personal career growth are you pursuing now, and why?
“I’m doing my MBA now at Babson College and that is very important to me. Until now, I’ve learned everything on my own, but I want to make sure to apply the right methodology and methods to my businesses. So I’ve started classes, and am hoping to finish in a couple of years.”
What do you perceive as the next growth steps for BI as a whole?
“We want to build our ability to compete fiercely in the large business space by catering to the most demanding and complex challenges, by providing a high quality product while keeping our clients and employees happy – because that is the key to our success.”
Business Integra is an award-winning, global provider of information technology, cybersecurity, aeronautic engineering, scientific and mission support services. We are committed to producing efficient and ethical results that cut costs, reduce risks, secure data, and advance human progress via cybersecurity, IT, engineering and mission support services.
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