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May - 2013 - issue > Cover Story
SI Team
Sunday, May 5, 2013
Effective workforce management can be a major business pain point for companies of all sizes and shapes. American CyberSystems (ACS), headquartered in Duluth, Georgia, is in the business of alleviating these challenges for its customers. Over the past fifteen years, ACS has grown to be a half a billion dollar company serving hundreds of customers with a suite of innovative, customized and turn-key solutions in workforce management and Information Technology solutions.

ACS was founded in 1998 with the purpose of sourcing consultants globally to work on Y2K and dot com projects at major U.S. companies. In the wake of the great dot com burst, ACS Founder and CEO Raj Sardana decided to reshape the company and direct its efforts towards the growing U.S. Defense sector. As a result of this refocused strategic vision, ACS grew steadily from 2000 onwards, gaining new customers through increased service offerings until the recession of 2008.

By then a veteran of boom and bust cycles, Raj did what comes best to a seasoned entrepreneur – he seized new opportunities to accelerate growth, while many others sought shelter. Having already tested the waters with a handful of smaller acquisitions, starting in 2010 ACS capitalized on opportunities in the wake of the recession and acquired progressively larger companies. This ultimately culminated with the acquisition of COMFORCE, a major workforce management company with offices across the United States.

Today, with a revenue run rate approaching $500 million, ACS is a rapidly growing, innovative and versatile company with a strong management team in place to take it to the next level.

Search for Identity
For ACS, the early period from 1998-2000 was akin to a gold rush and like all market pioneers, Raj had a dream to strike it big in the technology industry. In a prescient move, he decided that ACS was better positioned to be a provider of talent rather than to leap into the frenzy as another opportunistic dot com. This was a perceptive move that helped ACS weather the coming storm, allowing the company to stay afloat through the dot com bust.

Opportunity knocked in the form of the great defense spending boom. Capitalizing on this, ACS was able to position itself as a preferred vendor to a handful of large defense integrators seeking a reliable minority-owned subcontractor for their government IT projects. The company continued to grow and diversify its business by winning new commercial accounts. Increasingly, ACS developed a name for itself in reliability and integrity, and built a reputation for being a great employer to its consultants.

"In this period, we shifted gears and began supplying workforce augmentation to the U.S. government. After working for two years in the government space, we saw the need to elevate the company to a higher level. We got ourselves a top secret facilities clearance and become a significant player in this space," explains Sardana.

At the next stage, ACS jumped into managed staffing services. The company partnered with a marquee enterprise customer to run a comprehensive vendor management program that provided improved quality and speed of service while lowering overall costs. The program was a huge success and laid the foundation for ACS's evolution into a leading workforce management solutions provider.


Company: American CyberSystems, Inc.

Founder & CEO: Raj Sardana

Focus: IT, Engineering, and Business Services, offering Consulting, Staffing, Software Development, Workforce Management and Healthcare BPO to clients across a spectrum of industries.

Founded: 1998

Customers: AT&T, Verizon, AIG, Boeing, General Dynamics, Abbott Labs, Novo Nordisk, Johnson & Johnson, Wipro, Coca-Cola, BNY Mellon, PG&E, Xcel Energy, Northrop Grumman, Office Depot, US Government Agencies, and many others.

Headquaters: Duluth, GA

Website: www.acsicorp.com

On The Road to Success
From 2010 onwards, the company embarked on a significant program of investments in technology and talent. It developed a set of core competencies to help its enterprise customers manage a large and growing pool of independent contractors, subcontractors and contingent employees. "Our technology investments help us develop a scalable, efficient and economical platform to perform all staffing-related HR functions, including on-boarding, off-boarding, time collection and bill-pay management. These investments ultimately benefit program administration, both in-house and for our customers, while allowing a variety of consultant engagement models for our clients," explains Barry Olson, President of HireGenics, the division of ACS that provides workforce management solutions.

ACS's systems allow the company to ensure compliance with applicable labor laws regarding over-time, FMLA, and other government regulations in an efficient, auditable manner, which helps mitigate workforce-related risks for its customers. ACS has had huge success with a number of marquee customers in managing their contract workforce and ensuring regulatory compliance – this has been a significant driver of organic growth for the company.

Simultaneously, ACS started increasing its focus on the high value-add business of solutions-oriented engagements by taking on complete delivery responsibilities for its customers. These engagements required the company to build its portfolio of in-house resources and competencies.

To effectively serve customers in healthcare and financial sectors with regulatory concerns about the location of data and services, ACS built delivery centers in lower cost, rural U.S.-based localities. "This model creates a perfect win-win-win solution: our customer gets an affordable solution, rural communities get access to high-paying jobs, and ACS gets a satisfied customer," says Brian Soderholm, Senior Vice President of Sales for ACS. ACS is rapidly expanding its portfolio of core competencies to deliver end-to-end solutions with a mix of robust technologies and program management capabilities.

Providing Healthcare IT Solutions
Emblem Health, a New York based, $8.6 billion health insurance company, was struggling with the high cost of on-site staff augmentation consultants to support their complex Healthcare IT program. Highly qualified on-site resources in New York City are some of the most expensive and hard to find, and Emblem’s existing staff augmentation model provided little long-term relief in the areas of management oversight, productivity, intellectual property protection and turnover.

Emblem had tried driving down the hourly rates of their staff augmentation resources, but this impacted the quality of the resources and exposed Emblem to consultant turnover as resources sometimes left for other, higher-paying positions. Turnover with the staff augmentation model created a significant increase in cost to find replacement resources and the training they required to get to the desired level of productivity. As a result, Emblem needed a solution that addressed these challenges in both the "Managed Maintenance" and "Project-Based" types of work for their various applications and initiatives.

By leveraging its project-based, rural outsourcing model, American CyberSystems (ACS), an Atlanta-based IT services and workforce solutions provider, helped revamp Emblem’s resource strategy by implementing a dedicated development team within its Rural Project Center located in Eveleth, MN. This team produced an immediate impact of 48 percent in cost reduction. Over the last 8 years, as ACS has increased its domain knowledge of Emblem’s legacy systems, the partnership has grown to an entire team of dedicated resources supporting both managed maintenance and project-based work for Emblem.

Building a Solid Track Record
ACS has made a significant impact on the workforce management and compliance landscape over the past fifteen years. Currently, its largest customers include major players across the IT, Telecom, Healthcare, Engineering and Financial sectors, including AT&T, Verizon, AIG, Boeing, General Dynamics, Brookhaven National Laboratories, Abbott Labs, Novo Nordisk, Johnson & Johnson, Wipro, Coca-Cola, BNY Mellon, Northrop Grumman, Office Depot, and the Federal Reserve Bank, in addition to others.

To address its customers’ needs on a national and global scale, ACS has field offices across the U.S., as well as centralized staffing delivery centers in rural America, India and Latin America. "We have taken a major part of staffing service delivery and put it into bigger centers where we can deploy resources in the most efficient manner. Wherever the demand is, we can service it," adds Joe McAvoy, COO of COMFORCE, the workforce management arm of ACS.

Recognition has followed ACS's success in the marketplace. The company was recently named "Supplier of the Year" by Gulfstream and was awarded a Supplier of the Year recognition by the Midwest Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC), through a nomination by Xcel Energy. Furthermore, ACS was named a Top Diversity Supplier for 2012 by Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), the premier industry association in the workforce management space.

A Platform for Accelerated Growth
Through its journey from zero to half a billion dollars in revenue, ACS has built its success on the foundation of its core principles – Reliability, Quality, Integrity, and Value. "The value driver is the hardest to achieve when you are dealing in the highly volatile human capital market, in a relentless environment of increasing cost pressures," says Sardana, "but we are well positioned to succeed."

The company currently has master service agreements with over 500 hospitals in the U.S., providing solutions in healthcare IT, billing services and back-office support. "This is the next big frontier where we are focusing a lot of effort in light of the regulatory changes brought on by the Affordable Care Act. Even with the changes coming to the healthcare industry, we are well situated to serve our customers with the best services," adds Sardana.

ACS has built its success on a solid foundation – investments in technology to lower the cost of delivering high quality service, a globalized service delivery model astutely mixing on-shore and off-shore capabilities, a high-touch customer service culture to meet the needs of customers and consultants, a robust balance sheet and a seasoned management team that allows the company to take advantage of M&A opportunities.

Today, ACS is positioned as a service provider with top-notch teams and best-in-class processes to bring the "WOW" experience. "This is our time to capitalize on our past successes and grow our footprint in these markets. What we need is depth of penetration in each customer segment. So even if we do not add new customers, just by selling more into the same client base, we will double ourselves in the next 3-4 years," explains Sardana. He plans to take the company from $500 million in revenue to a billion dollar company by 2016.
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