Each year in May, the National Capital Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) brings together the top business minds and corporate growth professionals for a black tie gala dedicated to networking and celebrating the community’s best and brightest. During this black tie gala, the Corporate Growth Awards are presented to the companies, executives and deal teams that have executed on some of the most aggressive and successful growth strategies to catapult their companies to incredible heights.
In years past, many of the awards are presented to companies that pulled off incredible, high-value mergers and acquisitions that have drastically increased their size while strategically positioning them for continued growth in the future. However, some of this year’s fastest growing companies weren’t the result of large corporate growth events – they grew the old fashioned way – organically.
One of those companies is CVP, a business and technology consultancy that works predominantly in the government and healthcare markets. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with the CEO of CVP, Anirudh Kulkarni, to discuss why organic growth was the right strategy for the company, and the four core values that he feels are the cornerstone of the company’s success. Here is what he had to say:
Corporate Growth, Capital Style (CGCS): Can you tell our readers about CVP and its services? What does the company do, and which industries/markets does it service?
Anirudh Kulkarni: CVP is a business and technology consulting company that helps organizations navigate disruption with innovative strategies and solutions to prepare for a culture of Continuous Change — a culture that can adapt to any IT or business problem. We serve federal, state, and local governments, as well as corporations, as they tackle some of the most challenging issues of our time.
From identifying and mitigating cyber and physical threats to modernizing systems with agile methodologies and cloud-based architectures in healthcare, national security and civilian service, we immerse ourselves in each client’s organizational mission and tailor solutions for them. CVP’s approach is to create a roadmap to resolve client problems, upgrade legacy architectures, and set a course toward adaptable, scalable solutions ready for the future.
CGCS: CVP was a recipient of an ACG Corporate Growth Award this year and has been named to the Inc. 5000 List of Fastest Growing Companies for eight years. Has this award-winning growth been mostly organic growth, or has it been driven by acquisitions, mergers and other corporate growth activity over the past several years?
Anirudh Kulkarni: CVP has a long history of organic growth and has not made any mergers or acquisitions. In 2017, the company won multiple contracts representing new relationships including the Defense Health Agency, Customs and Border Protection, the Administration for Children and Families, and the HHS Office of the Inspector General.
The reason more organizations are choosing CVP is because of our reputation for excellence in complex industries and our great culture. In the past two years our projects have been recognized for several awards including AFCEA Industry Leader of the Year Award, two finalist projects for the Greater Washington Innovation Awards, and two consecutive FedHealthIT Innovation Awards. Our solutions, and our customer-centric values, deliver the highest quality outcomes.
CGCS: Why is CVP growing so quickly? To what do you attribute the company’s success?
Anirudh Kulkarni: At the highest level, we help our clients navigate change and enable positive outcomes. We pride ourselves on providing solutions that focus on strategy but are agile and adaptive to a constantly changing environment. CVP adheres to three elements when creating innovative solutions.
First, we work in an agile environment to provide solutions tailored to the problem. Projects are continuous delivery, meaning every step of the way we are delivering to the client and in communication with them. Second, we take the time to recognize the best ideas. Our Solutions Innovation Office looks for and tests innovative ideas and determines where they can be applied. Finally, we use cross-project pollination to group our people across different projects by expertise. Experts from different projects discuss solutions they’ve found successful to allow our best ideas to be applied across projects.
At a deeper level, our people and our four core values are the bedrock that our solutions and innovations build off. No matter what work we are doing we need great talent, so we strive to create a culture that keeps the best people coming back. We have heavily invested in corporate programs like mentoring, personal development, employee training, employee philanthropy, and social events. These may not be related to the day-to-day work but they are the investments that make our employees stronger and keep them coming back.
CVP’s four core values are Intense Client Focus, Mutual Respect, Individual Responsibility & Growth, and Uncompromising Integrity. If you want to know the “secret recipe” for success, this is it. Having values means living up to them even when it means passing up short term gains. These values have led our growth, innovative ideas, reputation, and lasting success.
CGCS: CVP has won an impressive amount of government contracts in the past year, including contracts with the State Department, DHS, CBP, HHS and the Alliant 2 Small Business GWAC Contract. What is driving this success in the public sector for CVP? What differentiates the company and has allowed it to compete in a very crowded government contracting marketplace?
Anirudh Kulkarni: We have been extremely successful in the public sector over the last several years because we had a significant focus on four areas: change as a holistic process, moving beyond “lift and shift,” overcoming budget issues, and focusing on people.
For change as a holistic process, we help our clients understand that change does not simply mean going out and buying new technology. It’s important to look at how organizations do business, how they operate, and what change means for their acquisition approaches. The goal is to make organizations nimbler than they’ve been in the past so they can build a culture of continuous change.
Many organizations are taking what is called a “lift and shift” approach to modernization: moving existing systems from agency-run data centers to cloud-based servers. However, this approach does not let organizations take advantage of the advanced features available within the cloud and today’s open source technologies. At CVP, not only do we help organizations modernize their operations, but we also look at how we can help them maximize their success by bringing in new IT processes to move beyond “lift and shift.”
Budget is a perennial issue for many companies, and CVP strives to help them overcome this problem. To help our clients invest their funds as efficiently as possible, we look at their current technology footprint to see if they can reduce their operations and maintenance costs and use that cost savings to implement newer, more modernized technologies. Reducing Operations and Maintenance (O&M) costs is a way to create surplus money for investing in the future. In addition to reducing operations costs, we help our clients look for lower cost alternatives by implementing open-source technology that does not have the expensive license costs associated with some older technologies.
Finally, we focus on people. We often hear from customers that we are the only vendor to articulate how our proposed strategies will impact not only the organization, but its people. From our perspective, “How do we deal with the impact to the people?” is the most important question in any technology initiative.
These four ideas have allowed us to understand our clients’ issues and create solutions that make a difference for our clients. They are what set us apart from other consulting companies and are a driving force behind CVP’s success.
CGCS: Back in July of 2016, you spoke with FedHealthIT Magazine and listed healthcare as a market with significant potential for growth for CVP. Why is there so much opportunity in healthcare? In what areas can CVP support healthcare organizations? How has the company performed in the healthcare space since that interview?
Anirudh Kulkarni: There are two key factors that make healthcare such an exciting market – disruptive technology and policy. Firstly, with the maturation of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, cloud, machine learning, and natural language processing there are constantly new applications of technology in healthcare. Hospitals, researchers, and patients can all improve their outcomes by integrating these new technologies. However, more technology means more data that needs to be protected. Massive amount of online patient and research data means increasing the time spent on cybersecurity. These factors create huge opportunities for CVP, where we can identify a technology opportunity and then design a solution.
The other huge factor is the changing world of federal policies and laws. Legislation, like the Affordable Care Act and the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, is still radically changing healthcare markets. Our clients need to modernize and develop a culture that is flexible to future change. Our expertise around change management allows us to help our clients navigate changing policy.
As to how we can support healthcare organizations, as new technologies emerge, cost and access to healthcare changes. We help our healthcare clients by leveraging the right data to drive continuous service improvements through better customer insight, allowing CVP to optimize organizational performance. Our business and technology consultants help private and public healthcare clients improve access to quality, affordable healthcare through analytical and consulting solutions that improve beneficiary services, claims processing, program rollout, training, and performance analysis of research.
CVP has been exceptionally successful in healthcare since July of 2016. Specifically, we have won contracts with the NIH National Cancer Institute, Department of Health and Human Services, Defense Health Agency, and CMS Center for Clinical Standards and Quality. This success has led to us winning the “Industry Leader of the Year” award from AFCEA for our Health Care Quality and Analytics project, as well winning two FedHealthIT “Innovation Awards” for our Enterprise Blood Management System and Medicaid Waivers Performance Metrics Database and Analysis projects.
CGCS: In February 2017, CVP introduced a new growth team. What was the mission of that team? How has the introduction of a growth team helped sparked the company’s continued growth and success? How do you see this team spearheading growth for CVP into the future?
Anirudh Kulkarni: The Growth team is a response to our success. As we have grown into a midsized company, the number of opportunities we have has exploded. This is why we had to bring on a growth team. Our growth team value lies in two major areas. First, it has given us the additional bandwidth to bid on larger more complex proposals. It has also expanded our business development and capture resources which has allowed us to better prepare for upcoming opportunities.
Better research has allowed us to better understand client needs as well as the technology partner ecosystem so that we can propose more relevant solutions to our clients. The team spearheads growth efforts by providing us with in-depth research on what potential clients want, conducting competitive analyses, and articulating complex solutions in easy to understand proposal responses.