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Posted 2nd February 2016

CFO of the Year

Syncsort is one of the largest big-data companies and oldest software companies in the market, drawing on it wealth of experience to provide unique solutions.

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CFO of the Year

Syncsort is one of the largest big-data companies and oldest software companies in the market, drawing on it wealth of experience to provide unique solutions. We invited CFO Krish Venkataraman to talk us through his role in the company’s success.

At Syncsort, we provide enterprise software that allows organizations to collect, integrate, sort and distribute more data in less time, with fewer resources and lower costs.

Our unique software solutions are used by thousands of customers in in more than 85 countries, including 87 of the Fortune 100 companies, use our fast and secure software to optimize and offload data-processing workloads.

Powering over 50% of the world’s mainframes, Syncsort software provides specialized solutions spanning “Big Iron to Big Data,” including next-gen analytical platforms such as Hadoop, cloud, and Splunk.

The firm offers fast, secure, enterprise-grade products to help the world’s leading organizations unleash the power of big data. With Syncsort, clients can design their data applications once and deploy anywhere: from Windows, Unix & Linux to Hadoop; on premises or in the Cloud.

Additionally we offer the world’s most popular sort, with our products helping clients to move the same sort job between Unix, Linux, and Windows platforms with full backward compatibility.

Alongside this Syncsort is the market leader in providing high-performance sort for z Systems, and our flagship product in this area, Syncsort Ironstream, makes it simple to securely collect and forward mainframe log data into Splunk Enterprise and Splunk Cloud, providing a real-time, 360-degree view.

With these strong product offerings and our more than 48 years’ experience, Syncsort’s software and expertise is able to dramatically improve performance of our clients’ data-processing environments, while reducing hardware and labour costs.

During our 40 plus year history, we have been able to anticipate key innovation trends and build capabilities around it. Under its new direction and leadership, the firm is going to accelerate its investment in its organic and inorganic initiatives.

Over the last two years, our investment in our organic initiatives has driven over double-digit growth and a 50% increase in profitability. By focusing on our core principles of building world-class enterprise software that allows organizations to collect, integrate, sort and distribute more data in less time, with fewer resources and lower costs, we believe we can continue on our long journey.

As an executive my role is new within the corporate world, as I act as both the CFO and COO, meaning that I am responsible for both financial stewardship and company operations.

Therefore I lead the traditional finance activities like treasury, control, banking/ debt relations and M&A, but also corporate functions including renewals, internal IT and legal.

Over the last two years, I drove a massive reengineering of our organizational structure and operations that resulted in a 50% increase in profitability and the highest revenue achievement in the firm’s long history. I also manage the firm’s inorganic growth strategy and 75% of the firm’s revenue. These efforts culminated in a very successful acquisition by California-based Clearlake Capital at an EV of 100% or more over previous bids.

Prior to my role at Syncsort I held global leadership roles at some of the world’s best-known firms, from NYSE Euronext and its iconic New York Stock Exchange to Lehman Brothers, Amex and Deloitte. Currently I serve on the board of electronic trading solutions firm SR Labs (an Insight Venture Partners company). I also hold an MBA from Cornell University and a B.S. from Carnegie Mellon University.

Through these various roles I have been fortunate to gain a tremendous amount of expertise in financial services, technology and big data.

I have managed billion-dollar profit segments, expense lines in excessive of $600 million, capital expenditures in excess of  $400 million, and revenue lines that account for more than 80 percent of a firm’s revenue.

At my 2014 hire, Syncsort CEO Lonne Jaffe touted my “20-year track record of consistent execution, including turning cost centers into profit centers and exceeding Wall Street’s growth expectations quarter after quarter, even during a recession.” 

In previous roles, I served as CFO and CAO of global information technology for NYSE Euronext, CAO of equities liquid markets for Lehman Brothers, financial strategist for Amex, and as an M&A expert at Deloitte. Among my career highlights, I worked on what was then the largest financial-services merger in U.S history and helped one of the largest payments firms expand globally. 

Over the last year Syncsort achieved one of the most profitable and highest revenue results for our data-integration business, driven by a greater than 200% increase in YOY revenue from new products related to Hadoop, Splunk and the IBM z Systems mainframe, and record revenue for the company, as well as a more than 30% growth in fourth-quarter bookings.

Given the segmentation of the business and investment in both new organic and inorganic channels, Syncsort was able to drive significant value creation for our shareholders, customers and employees.

The firm has a history of succeeding even in tough economic climates, and during the 2008 recession Syncsort was able to sustain its revenue because our products are in mission-critical systems. Customers use Syncsort’s software and expertise to dramatically improve performance of their data-processing environments, while reducing hardware and labour costs.

Another key factor to our success has been the firm’s ability to anticipate trends and identify emerging developments in the industry. In order to stay ahead of the curve, we take our customers’ feedback into consideration to identify any pain points they’re experiencing. Discussing those opportunities directly with the customers enables us to improve upon our current software, or recognize a gap that needs to be filled with an entirely different solution.

This strong relationship with our clients is at the foundation of our company, and we work with companies that are both well-versed in big data, as well as those that are just starting out in their big-data journey. We look to identify the pain points of each individual company, and work with them to provide a solution that helps facilitate their big-data initiatives.

These clients come to our firm because they see that we are completely different to our competitors. Many of the companies offering solutions around data analytics are new to the game. The advent of cloud computing over the past decade has brought tremendous innovation and opportunity to our market, and that’s a good thing.

However our experience, rooted in the dawn of the information age, is what sets us apart. Syncsort has been working and evolving with mainframe computers since the late 1960s. Over the course of nearly five decades, we have managed to stay current to the needs of our customers and the market and bring the longstanding experience and legacy technical expertise that comes from our maturity and time in the business. This is a competitive space. Syncsort offers innovation with consistency and stability.

Moving forward, as adoption of big-data technologies accelerates within the enterprise, customers will be looking to Syncsort to help them take advantage of their most critical data assets. We are using our momentum to continue to drive value for our customers by investing in our state-of-the art organic initiatives and driving an expanded focus on M&A.

As CFO I am especially focused on growing the business through acquisitions, looking for high-value, highly differentiated solutions with high barriers to entry that are in adjacent spaces that will be applicable to our existing customer base. We have completed two in the past two years and have a large pipeline of additional targets. 

Organically, we will continue our course – helping companies improve their Mainframe operations and lower costs, while focusing on the company’s growth in big data, helping liberate data from legacy platforms so companies can do more advanced big-data analytics projects in industries like healthcare, self-driving cars, and the Internet of Things.

We will also look to improve our product capabilities with emerging technologies, especially with regard to real-time analytics, where we’re seeing an increased demand in industries such as financial services, healthcare, telecommunications and retail.

Contact Details

Company: Syncsort

Name: Krish Venkataraman

Email:  kvenkataraman@syncsort.com

Web Address: www.syncsort.com

Address: 50 Tice Boulevard, Suite 250, Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, 07677

Categories: Finance, Strategy

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