November 25, 2013 Issue
The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information
Management and IT Professional Services for the Public Sector
Rahim Inc. dba RNR
Consulting, (est. 2001) is a management and IT professional services
consulting firm that primarily services the public sector. Our
organization grew out of the Weatherhead Consulting Group at Case Western
Reserve University. It is primarily a "think tank" organization that
includes a select group of cross-sectional and deep-functional skilled
consultants. Our team includes consultants with masters degrees and project
management professionals experienced
in various industry service specialties
definition, vendor and contractor selection and implementation, business
process reengineering, strategic planning, and enterprise architecture
planning. RNR Consulting is a Small Business Enterprise and a Minority owned
Business Enterprise (MBE). We are based out of Cleveland, OH.
Interview conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – November 25, 2013
CEOCFO: Mr. Verekar, what is the concept at RNR Consulting?
Mr. Verekar: We provide management and IT consulting services to the public sector. What that means is that we go in and help government agencies in cities, states and counties as well as other related agencies to find ways to conduct their operations better and efficiently using the same resources or sometimes by implementing newer and faster informational technology systems. We also conduct strategic planning, organizational assessments and business process reengineering. The bottom line is that we help our clients do business better using available resources or helping them find resources that will help them achieve their vision.
CEOCFO: What are some of the challengesyou facing in working with the government?
Mr. Verekar: I think the biggest challenge we have is that the sales cycle is very long. Because it is the public sector government, they have to do everything by competitive bid, they have to find required funding, they have to approve the funding, they have to go to legislature and they have to put RFPs out. Our typical sales cycle is anywhere between six months to a year or a year and a half. The way we deal with that is planning and strategizing to go through the cycle. We explore all options to influence and to get things moving fast enough, but there are times when situations and outcomes are not in our control. The other challenge we are facing especially these days is budget cuts with the agencies. We actually turn this challenge to our advantage because with the services we provide, the end result more often than not helps our clients find some cost savings or more revenue generating opportunities. That is how we deal with our challenges.
CEOCFO: Do you find that because there needs to be cost savings now, you are getting more business or that people are too cautious to change?
Mr. Verekar: I would say we are getting more business in specific areas that public agencies want us to find efficiencies. A few years ago when the economy was better, the business that you were doing was more about buying new systems or buying new information technology. Over the last couple of years, it evolved to finding efficiencies, doing more with less, doing more with existing resources and reengineering their business processes for efficient use of current technologies, people, processes and strategies. In short, business has not grown or reduced; the type of business that we get changes with the economy.
CEOCFO: Your company overview shows that RNR takes an academic perspective and couples it with the practical part. Could you give me an example of how that works and how it makes RNR different?
Mr. Verekar: It is very important for management consultants to provide recommendations to clients that are actionable. What that means is we do not necessarily give them a book of recommendations for them to follow, but a lot of times they hire us again to help implement some of our recommendations. When we say that we take the academic and turn it into practical recommendations, there are a lot of strategic models that are in business schools and universities that say, for example, the Porter’s Five Forces model or the BCG Matrix model and things like that. You cannot necessarily turn them into a business environment and expect them to work. You need to make recommendations that are specific to the clients’ needs. Our approach is very tailored, we do not go in and say that there is a model developed by this or that institution, which should work because it came from them. It has to be tailored to each client’s specific needs.
CEOCFO: How do you reach potential customers?
Mr. Verekar: We do a lot of competitive bids, but most of our business comes from word of mouth. As a consulting firm, you cannot really advertise the market yourself in a traditional fashion. We strive to give our best performance to every client because we know that whoever hires us or is looking to hire us next will contact past clients and ask if we did a good job. We respond to bids, we are members of various industry organizations, we attend conferences and we have long-term relationships with a lot of stakeholders from different states, counties and cities. Over all, it is a matter of networking and using your network to get more business. We respond to about 10-15 bids every month, but most of them are blind. What that means is that these are new client targets, but we have won a lot of business just based on our qualifications and unique methodologies.
CEOCFO: What are the intangibles that you look for in your employees so that they understand the corporate philosophy and will treat clients as that should be?
Mr. Verekar: Most of our consultants have at least one Master’s Degree. In intangibles, for me I am looking for someone with an entrepreneurial mindset. I do not promote an employee mindset at RNR Consulting. If you come in to work 9-5 without taking any initiative and go home without doing anything above and beyond your job description, you are not going to do well. The intangibles are hunger to learn, hunger to grow and hunger to succeed. I want every employee to treat this as his or her own business. Those employees do very well at RNR Consulting and elsewhere in the industry.
CEOCFO: How do you find the right employees?
Mr. Verekar: When we do hire people, we do the typical job postings on internet job boards or local universities. What I found mostly is that referrals work well. People who have done well here know other people like them, so they bring them on. The thing with consulting and especially in our business is that a lot of the skills that are essential to doing well can be taught and learned. You need to have formal graduate level or master’s level education. Most of our consultants have MBAs and some of them have Master’s in other fields, such as organizational development or engineering and information technology. There is no cookie cutter approach here. We might find them off a job board or fromuniversities. We do an internship program and we hire people who have been referred to us by other employees or past employees. We have a good alumni network of people who have “graduated” from RNR consulting and would attest to the learning opportunity that this company provides. They constantly send us resumes to say someone is very good and we need to bring him or her on, given the opportunity that they received to learn from us.
CEOCFO: What has surprised you as the company has grown and developed?
Mr. Verekar: I started at the company seven and a half years ago as an intern. Whatever I told you about how people can succeed or what kind of people succeed; I am saying it through experience. What I have learned is that in our industry and technology especially- consulting for technology- I do not think anybody knows everything. There is always ambiguity, people and companies that thrive on that ambiguity to do well. As I said, the surprising thing looking back is that there is no one way to approach a certain business solution. There are multiple ways and there are multiple actions that people can take. You cannot just hire or trust somebody just because they have a certain degree or certain amount of experience. People who really succeed or companies that succeed are innovative and able thrive on vague instructions and ambiguity.
CEOCFO: Why should our readers take a look RNR Consulting?
There are internal and
external factors. If I focus on external; this is the second time in the
last three years we have been listed as one of the fastest growing companies
in the US. On Inc Magazine, we are one of the fastest growing companies in
Northeast Ohio. RNR Consulting is a training ground for future CEOs. We
deliver exceptional value to our clients. If you call any of our clients
today, they will say no bad things about us. They will have glowing reviews.
I think that is a real need in the market today, because we focus
exclusively on the client’s requirements and not on our own agenda. A good
example of that is we do not resell or create our own software products. We
are completely independent, so when we go onto a client’s side for a
project, we are able to advise the clients on everything that is out there
and find something that fits their businesses processes and strategies. It
is not something that a lot of companies do and I think that is a very big
need in the market today.
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