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From start to finish: Gautam Ijoor, CEO of Alpha Omega Integration

Gautam Ijoor, CEO of IT integrator and federal government contractor Alpha Omega Integration, speaks with Acuris Capital Intelligence about the shift in the company's acquisition strategy and what prompted the change.

Interview by James Ward

Q. Alpha Omega made some big internal strategic shifts this past year, most notably deciding to lower its revenue growth target and instead operate with a higher EBITDA margin. What were those changes?

First, there was the implementation of the entrepreneurial operating system, which is an accountability chart defining functions and roles that every person in our organization is accountable for. It showed we had overlapping lines of accountability and when we started working to fix it, we got a lot of mileage, traction and clarity.

The second change was to our core values. As this organization kind of grew quickly, we outgrew and outlived our core values. We redid them from the ground up and it had a profound effect and buy-in from everyone in the company.

The third change was to become an organization that is more mission focused. We want our government customers to say, “I want them, and I can’t get their solutions and services elsewhere.” That’s customer entanglement. We need to demonstrate a deep understanding of, and our expertise in, the chosen mission of the agency—the business of our customers— and to prioritize the mission of these customers ahead of Alpha Omega's likes and dislikes.

It's not about top line revenue. It's not about bottom line profit. It's about enterprise value, where you have systems in place that continuously generate perpetual revenue. What is very typical of our federal contracting industry is winning a contract and then losing it when your turn is over. Here, you have a relentless effort in building enterprise value. You win something and you continue to win it.

Q. Alpha Omega helped process checks during the pandemic, working with the Paycheck Protection Program, which was integral in keeping small business workforces employed during the crisis. Now that the pandemic is subsiding, what are the biggest lessons Alpha Omega learned from the experience?

There is a huge scope for automating a lot of the work that happens in the federal government. There are several manually intensive processes—loan procession claims, insurance claims—and they should be automated. There is absolutely no reason why a bot should not be used for handling all these manual processes. We need to get a better understanding of how and where we can automate the manual processes in the federal contracting space.

Q. How do you do that?

The key is mission focus. Your leadership team, your sales and marketing team, your solutions architect, tying them with career federal employees that recently retired who can help you implement solutions that handle the automation within the digital transformation sphere.

A bit of background: Alpha Omega has grown organically in five years to a point where it is about to graduate in January as a small business 8(a) contractor. That means it will be competing against larger companies in the “full and open” federal contracting market. After two buys, Alpha Omega performed a strategic review and refocused on becoming a US$100 million company with 25% EBITDA margins as opposed to a US$500 million company with 5% EBITDA margins. It also decided to target two US federal agencies—State and Homeland Security.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.