Looking to gain perspective from one of the fastest growing digital services firms in the Washington Metropolitan region, we caught up with Softrams’ CEO Atchut Kanthamani and Chief Growth Officer Bryce Golwalla to learn about this team’s mission, how the development of its own internal tools benefits clients, how it has maintained its culture through growth, and we get some advice for potential partners.

Like-minded Mission

Building on expertise and commitment to the CMS mission that combines experience within the agency, and supporting it, Softrams has been successful in recruiting and retaining people who share a commitment to the end users of CMS services, and an empathy for those working within the agency. “When we can satisfy the end user, we also make our stakeholders happy, helping them fulfill their goals and objectives. Improving processes and finding efficiencies, we support the needs of the civic-minded tech people working in the space, opening new opportunities for engagement with and within government.”

Standing side by side with the agency, understanding its pain points from various views, and understanding its mission, the company has developed a reputation in meeting government clients where they are and moving the needle in the right direction.

That mission focus has both attracted and continues to motivate the Softrams team. “Talented people can have many other opportunities for work and some may have different advantages. We ensure our people understand the big picture which means they see the real beneficiaries, know that what we are supporting helps their families, their friends and communities. They see this is not just another job; we are not just another software developer.”

Developing its own Tools

Just as Softrams works to create efficiencies for its government clients, so too does it work to create efficiencies and tools that will support its own people. “We spend a lot of time building accelerators that allow our team to work quicker, more effectively. We also invest in learning, in upscaling our resources using modern technologies that will benefit our teams and that we can translate for our customer’s use.”

Understanding the client, providing demonstrated enablers, these tools and best practices, implemented internally, can also drive success in the federal space. “The stakeholders we work with believe strongly in what they are doing and they want to succeed. We know there are policies and constraints in budget and timelines weighing on our customers, so when we can leverage what we are able to do and appreciate what they bring to the table, they open up to the possibilities and we are able to earn their trust. We all become part of one winning team.”

Simplicity in Culture

Embracing a hands-on, connected leadership model, Softrams is focused on not creating its own internal hurdles. Standing side by side with its team from start to finish, as it does with clients, project delivery is centered around badgeless environments, and blameless interaction.

Need evidence of the success of this culture? Look no further than its current team and Softrams’ success in attracting Bryce to the team. “It was clear that Softrams was based in commitment rather than grabbing one-off wins. Even back when I joined almost four years ago, the advancements taking place here from a technology standpoint, and not just when the contracts required it, but driving innovation on its own dime, through the prototypes, the accelerators… Coming out of government that mindset of going above and beyond was pretty exciting.”

Saying the role of leaders is to remove hurdles and blocks, to avoid becoming an item on someone’s agenda for the day, leadership across the company instead works to see how they can help. Whether that is coding alongside the team or talking through solutions, success in leading happens here at the ground level.

Culture through Growth

While many small businesses are created from a focused intent or culture, as companies grow, it can be challenging to maintain that culture, the shared purpose. “As we are recruiting and hiring new staff we work to keep a pulse on what’s important to them and we circle back on that throughout their journey and multiple times during the year.”

Encouraging people to learn, to innovate and by creative fosters a nucleus and an ecosystem that resembles a commercial experience where people can thrive and grow and really enjoy what they are doing, all while serving a mission and creating a positive impact for millions of people. “When we can visualize connecting dots, can save taxpayer dollars or lighten someone’s workload, even in incremental steps, we are succeeding for our government client. Internally we look at that all of the time. It isn’t about the level of profit but about how much help we are providing our client now that we can measure.”

Beyond Innovation

Understanding innovation is among the latest buzzwords, Softrams understands it is not about the shining star but about trial and error, about lessons learned, about putting in the hard work, and the money that is required.

And, along the way, leadership must be able to connect the dots, to see where new opportunities and advances can be applied. “We’re looking to see whether these changes are relevant, whether they can support the missions and if they do, we must demonstrate that value to our stakeholders, find opportunities for them to insert these into their workflow.”

Rather than reinventing the wheel and starting from scratch, solutions deployed across multiple programs solve the challenges, gain trust and become familiar across the organization.

Measuring Learning

One example of this, born from Softrams’ culture of learning, was a learning management platform. “Learning is key in this space and everyone wants to invest in their people but then how do you track and measure that?”

The development of an internal platform called Springboard was the answer and is now used as part of onboarding and throughout the careers of every employee and contractor working with the company. Enabled with peer-to-peer learning, certifications and more, that proven solution is now something that is available to its customers.

Coming Together through the Digital Services Coalition

With the formation of the DSC came the opportunity for the landscape to change, for the community to come together with shared goals, to create a shared language and understanding. “Being able to be a part of this is a huge honor for us. We respect all of the firms that are already there and appreciate those who will commit and join in the future.”

While the customers these members serve may diverge in their understanding, in where they are in their journey, having industry speaking the same language, coming from the same view, resonates throughout the GovCon space as customers are working with and hearing from different people. “It is really helping a lot of the small businesses coming into the space who bring innovative ideas and new ways to deliver work.”

A Focus on DNA

Acknowledging that maintaining who and what you are takes work, Softrams is laser focused on its goals of innovation, a customer first approach, and an appetite for approaching procurement in a different way. “We think about what our impact could be, the breadth we can reach winning larger contracts but we work to ensure the bureaucracy doesn’t sink in, that we maintain the DNA on which we were built.”

A remote first company, Softrams also works hard to ensure its team is connected, through focused team building activities across a variety of interests, and opportunities for the whole team to come together, regardless of where their home base may be.

Approaching such events with a ‘one voice’ view, people leave their titles behind, showing up as people first and only, connecting on a human level. “No one’s boss shows up as a boss. Everyone is there to have fun, to connect, to dance if that is the activity. People don’t worry about watching what they say and they are free to just be themselves.”

Advice for Partners

Avoiding leaning on socioeconomic status, Softrams grew based on its deep agency understanding, and its technical expertise. “In the end there is limited value for partners based on classifications. It’s more about knowing how you can help the mission, where you can really provide value. If you can do that it really helps clear the field because there are a lot of small businesses around and a lot of potential partners. Once you have that, and you earn work and help your partner be successful, more work will follow.”

About Softrams

Softrams is one of the fastest growing digital services firm in the Washington Metropolitan region designing human centered software and developing digital services focused on HX, AI, Cloud, Devops, RPA, Blockchain, and Cyber Security. Our offices are located in Leesburg VA, Baltimore MD and Plano TX while our teams are spread across the US. The App Foundry @ Softrams is our research lab and innovation hub with dynamic collaboration spaces where ideas come to life. Our customers walk in with a challenge and walk away with a practical, human centered solution. We believe in mentoring to bring the best in each of us and build the next generation talent in UX, DevOps, AI and Cyber Security with job ready workshops and training programs. We offer Google CS First clubs to introduce Computer Science to kids, job ready training and internship programs for young adults to unleash their careers and workshops for professionals to advance their careers. We partner with Teaching for Good to hold free virtual skills training for various lucrative positions and hope to build not only our present industry but also our future workforce.

Want to get involved with OS AI? - A small number of Sponsorship Opportunities are now available here. Starting at $500.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Leave a Reply