Who starts a scale-up subsidiary in the middle of a pandemic?
Companies like SHI International. A company that doesn’t have any debt. A company that is eager to gain market share at a time when others may just be trying to hold onto what they have.
That’s the way Senior Vice President David Olzak described Stratascale, which launched earlier this week.
Stratascale is the latest effort of SHI, the Somerset-based information technology solutions provider that has grown into an $11 billion global company under the direction of Thai Lee. The company, which topped $1 billion in revenue in 2000, has been growing rapidly ever since.
Olzak said Stratascale has been created to make SHI more nimble — to be in position to help growing Fortune 1000 companies better react to market conditions with consulting and IT solutions in a quickly changing world.
Olzak said Stratascale will focus on five major practice areas: cloud, automation, digital experience, data intelligence and cybersecurity. They all lead to what he calls digital agility.
“There’s a lot of things that are being inflicted upon these Fortune 1000 companies that are happening, whether they want them to or not: They are being asked to move in other directions, spin off new revenue lines, acquire organizations, invest,” he said.
“So, there’s all this change that is occurring. That path isn’t a straight line of, how fast can you go from here to there? It’s an adaptive one. It’s really about digital transformation and agility.”
Olzak talked with ROI-NJ about Stratascale. Here is some of that conversation, edited for space and clarity.
ROI-NJ: Let’s start with SHI, a global brand. Why did it need to create Stratascale?
David Olzak: An $11 billion company is pretty big. And, when you get to that size, it becomes very challenging to be nimble and adaptive. That’s one of the biggest reasons that we spawned Stratascale.
Startups want nothing more than to be a big company. And big companies wish they could be like a startup again. And, with the pace of change that’s happening with the industry at large, with the contracting that’s happening and all of the unknowns that are going on in the marketplace, there’s a lot to adapt to.
SHI wanted to develop something that was going to be seen and viewed and perceived differently. A scale-up company, not a startup, but one that is powered by this $11 billion, 30-year-old, no-debt organization that can go have very specific conversations in a consultative fashion.
ROI: Give me your elevator pitch about Stratascale?
DO: Stratascale is focused on the Fortune 1000, specifically to help them leverage technology to address business and technology obstacles. We’re an idea IT solutions provider, focused on cloud architectures, focused on consulting, focused on innovative services and engagement with our clients. We’re focused on data intelligence, automation and cybersecurity.
From new ideas to prioritizing deployments, the Stratascale team can work together with a customer’s existing SHI account team — leveraging our strong vendor partnerships and product and program expertise. Or customers can engage Stratascale independently of SHI. Either way, Stratascale will lead the way in utilizing technology to solve business challenges.
ROI: Who would be your competitors in this space?
DO: We’ll be competing against traditional consulting companies and then emerging technology companies like an IT solutions provider. So, from a classification perspective, I would say we’re going to be in this mix between the two.
ROI: Last question. And it goes back to the top. Why now? Why start a scale-up company in the middle of a pandemic?
DO: I would say it’s the best time to make this investment. Thai did the same thing in 2008, when she started a new division to attract midmarket clients when others were contracting. It’s now 35% of the company’s revenue.
Maybe the economy isn’t necessarily where it should be right now, but there are a lot of people that are thriving in this. Not being exploitative, but thriving because of the nature of things going on. And, if you have the ability and the wherewithal to make investments now, you should.
We feel we can take market share and run past our competition in the near- and long-term future because we’re able to do that. A lot of companies don’t have the ability to do that. We do. And we have an owner-investor that’s very aggressively looking at capturing market share and thinks this is an opportunity to do that.