Trusted adviser

Octo Consulting helps executives with IT decisions

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Print this page by Joan Tupponce

Octo Consulting Group has yet to reach its fifth anniversary and it’s already ranked No. 23 on Inc. magazine’s list of the 500 fastest-growing companies in the country.

The Tysons Corner-based business provides guidance to executives making decisions about information technology investments and initiatives. “If you are going to be buying and making an investment in IT, we help you make the right decisions,” says Mehul Sanghani, the company’s president and CEO. “We analyze the pros and cons to fit your requirements.”

Company services include acquisition management, enterprise and solution architecture, IT portfolio/investment management and program management. “Everything we do [for businesses] can be broken down into four questions,” says partner Jay Shah. “Where should I be five years from now? How do I pay for this? Who is going to do this work? How do I execute the plan?”
Sanghani founded the company in 2006, quickly winning a contract to provide program management support for an IT initiative at the U.S. Department of Labor. “We were fortunate enough to have earned the trust of that client very early on, and things have really snowballed from there,” Sanghani says. “We’re still working with that same client at the Department of Labor today, and I think it speaks volumes on the trusted-adviser status that we’ve been fortunate enough to maintain.”

The company works primarily with executives in the federal government but has a few commercial clients, as well. The client base includes the Army, Navy, Census Bureau, Amtrak and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To help develop the company, Sanghani brought in three partners — Shah, Jack Arthur and Brian Swenson. Today, Octo Consulting has more than 80 employees, some working onsite for clients.

The company has worked with more than 20 government agencies on a variety of projects and closed last year with $20 million in revenues. “Our overall client retention rate is over 97 percent,” Sanghani says. “It’s that track record and those results that allow us to stand out as a small business. I think our clients love working with us for three reasons: We adapt, we’re leaders, and we consistently deliver measurable results.”

Octo recently developed an interactive, diagnostic tool that will help chief information officers pinpoint specific problems. The company is also adding services geared to recent policies and management solutions required by the White House Office of Management and Budget. “We have developed solutions for our customers that have to follow these policies,” says partner Arthur. “We help them translate policy statements into action.”

Recently, Octo landed a five-year $25 million agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “We will be providing both advisory and technology enablement services to agencies across the department,” says Sanghani. “We also secured a multi-year blanket purchase agreement with the U.S. Army. We’re very excited about these new deals and customers. We’re equally excited about the extensions we’ve secured with existing customers at the National Institutes of Health, FBI and the Department of Labor.”

Sanghani believes Octo’s customer service is a leading factor in its success. “We are in the service industry and there is a premium on service,” he says. “I think we do a better job of understanding that our customers aren’t buying widgets or any other kind of tangible assets. They’re buying trusted capabilities and expertise. Those assets largely lie between the ears of our exceptional people, and that’s probably our greatest and most important differentiator.” 

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