Built From Experience

Dror Orbach leverages his IT expertise and business acumen to manage growth at SAP provider Illumiti

When Dror Orbach joined his brother Nir’s company, Illumiti, as chief operating officer in 2010, he brought more than 25 years of experience in IT, business consulting, and business management to the midmarket SAP provider. That experience allowed Orbach to shepherd the organization through a necessary restructuring while managing the company’s growth.

Starting out, Orbach began his career as a programmer before going on to work in operating systems and network management. That was followed by nearly 10 years of consulting with Accenture and another 16 years in several vice president and C-level roles at software providers of different sizes. “That very technical early background helps me understand aspects of what we’re doing and how they affect our internal IT environment,” he says.

HOW WE’RE EVOLVING

“Having experience at different-size organizations gave me a great perspective on how to apply different practices and organizational models as we grow.”

Through his roles in business consulting, he gained an understanding of how technology can enable a business to operate not only differently but better. With executive management experience across different areas such as R&D and marketing, at both large and small software manufacturers, he gained a unique perspective on the processes needed to effectively operate different-size software-and-services organizations.

FACTS & FIGURES

$66M

Revenue in 2014, growing from $28 million in 2010

150

Employees in 2014, up from 68 in 2010

50

Number of clients gained in the past four years

5,802

LinkedIn followers as of May 2015

“You want to be able to make decisions quickly and retain as much agility as possible while still ensuring that there are enough formal practices in place to ensure consistency and customer satisfaction,” Orbach says, alluding to the management structures needed for Illumiti’s 150 full-time employees and 200 contractors. “As we grow, there are more things that need to be managed more formally.”

For instance, Illumiti started out with no marketing department and with relatively informal HR practices. “As we grew, it became necessary to put in place a marketing department led by a seasoned professional and to have experienced human-resources professionals manage that aspect of our operations,” Orbach says. The increased investment in marketing generated significantly improved market visibility for Illumiti. And the HR department implemented standardized performance management tools necessary to manage a growing organization.

In just the last year, Illumiti created the position of vice president of consulting to manage its consulting pool outside of the day-to-day context of client projects. “Employees have their careers managed, and they are being utilized properly, so there’s less wasted time,” Orbach says. “You need to evolve slowly when it makes sense to put the management structures in place—as opposed to forcing a smaller organization to behave like a large company,” Orbach says. “It helps to have the experience to know what corners you can cut versus the things you really can’t.”

It also helps to capitalize on business opportunities in order to sustain growth. For example, several years ago, Illumiti built a custom SAP solution for the mining industry. “Now we have 30 mining companies we’ve implemented on SAP,” Orbach says. With a solution in place that the company can use as a starting point, it is less risky, more affordable, and faster to implement a fully functional system for each new customer in the mining industry. “The vertical expertise we’ve gained has helped us become strong in a niche segment of market,” Orbach says.

Focusing on other vertical market segments such as engineering, construction, and mill products, Illumiti has been able to successfully increase sales. “We invest in a solution as a starting-point product; then we can continue to improve the solution as we customize and update the software to meet the needs of each client,” Orbach says. “It is much more effective to really invest in an industry and to understand what is relevant to that vertical. We partner with the customer to get a full picture of their needs—that is a big part of our success.”

Truly understanding the needs of the organization and its clients is the basis for the successful growth Orbach has helped manage at Illumiti, making it one of the top SAP partner companies for the midmarket. “We are poised for expansion in 2015,” Orbach says. He knows they’ll be ready for it.