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Technical expertise helps drive sales

RICHARDSON, TX – January 06, 2002 – In March 1996, six months after starting their business, Sean Yalamanchi and Raman Kovelamudi weren’t sure whether their company would survive.

Their software development firm had no customers and no revenue. And they were making cold calls trying to drum up business from companies looking for software consultants.

We struggled in the beginning, Mr. Yalamanchi said. Getting the first customer was really tough.

Today, their 6-year-old company, InfoVision Consultants Inc., has grown from the original two founders to 80 employees working across the world.

The company surpassed $8 million in annual revenue in 2000, putting it at No. 82 on the Dallas 100 list of the area’s fastest-growing private companies.

The early days were part of the firm’s growing pains, said Mr. Yalamanchi, the firm’s president. But the two founders who had met at an Indian engineering college in 1983 pushed their way through.

The real relief was in October 1996, when we started getting salaries said Mr. Kovelamudi, who serves as InfoVision’s vice president.

The founders said their greatest handicap at the beginning was their lack of a sales background. They banked on their software knowledge to attract customers.

The gamble paid off, said Nitin Naik, a director of systems development at Citigroup.

One of the difficulties in hiring a consulting firm, Mr. Naik said, was finding one with the proper technical background.

There have been companies that think they can dump 20 resumes and then expect me to weed through them and tell them which ones I would like to interview, he said. We pay them for that, and they don’t do their task.

InfoVision tries to understand exactly what kind of resources I need, Mr. Naik said. I don’t have to spend much time screening.

In addition to Citigroup, InfoVision’s 40 clients include major corporations such as Electronic Data Systems, General Electric, NEC America, Qwest, RadioShack, and Verizon.

Half of InfoVision’s 80 employees are based in the Dallas area, with the rest spread out across the country. They are available for projects around the world, Mr. Yalamanchi said.

Although software consulting remains InfoVision’s biggest business, the company is trying to expand.

In March 2000, Mr. Yalamanchi and Mr. Kovelamudi joined two other partners and launched Virtual E3D, an engineering services firm based in Bangalore, India.

Part of Virtual E3D’s purpose, Mr. Yalamanchi said, was to help InfoVision set up offshore development centers for U.S. clients, allowing customers to manage software development projects at lower costs.

The subsidiary, which has 40 employees in India, is focusing on a growing area of software development and engineering called “product life-cycle management,” Mr. Kovelamudi said.

Virtual E3D is working on projects to create prototypes that simulate products through computers and allow greater collaboration among engineers during development.

Sudeep Reddy covers business news in Richardson. He can be reached at 972-234-3198, ext. 112, and at sreddy@dallasnews.com