Bashir Bseirani, Co-founder Giancarlo Reyes, Co-founderIt was a challenging journey,” exclaims Bashir Bseirani, looking back at the meandering journey he and Giancarlo Reyes, his business partner, had to traverse to visualize their idea, aptly named as Avertra. Starting off as an initiative to improve firms’ workflow and business analytics through intuitive products, today it has grown from a firm run by a two member squad to having multiple offices and customers in the U.S., Middle East and South-East Asia.
As the name implies, Avertra is about bringing the ‘excellence’ to utilities providers through ‘transparency’. “We are very different from most of the people in the industry,” says Bashir. “We are a self-funded and self-created firm that has now reached a point where we have people as high as Vice Presidents from organizations such as Capgemini and IBM leave and join us,” he explains.
This reputation of Avertra is not built in a day. “We are marathon runners, not sprinters, and we have a long term vision,” affirms Bseirani. The company is dedicated, not just towards the customers but also with regards to their employees. This goes hand in hand with accuracy. “We are committed to constantly implement solutions which provide accurate real time information to our clients,” asserts Bseirani.
Avertra’s work speaks for itself. The company’s customer base has grown sevenfold over the last few years and includes names such as Oklahoma Gas & Electric, Peoples Natural Gas, Fairfax Water, Peoples TWP and Oklahoma Water. The increase in the number of customers can be accredited to great references by their existing clients. “When utilities leaders and decision makers see the kind of solutions that we offer, they realize that we are different from the larger brands and organizations,” reveals Bseirani.
Redefining the term “Out of the Box”
Avertra thrives on chaotic situations where customers need quick creative solutions to be able to meet regulatory needs and business demands. “Our solutions help the utilities to be in control,” says Bseirani. It helps customers to have control over the ways they engage with utilities, while still being in control of the amount of information being revealed to the outside world.
The company specializes in providing subject matter expertise across all areas of SAP development and deployment to energy and utilities clients across the U.S. “We work diligently to deliver the highest quality consulting services that meet client’s unique needs, using a proactive approach to understand their requirements and long term objectives,” affirms Bseirani. Avertra has coupled this with the latest best practices to identify the talent that can meet the demands of the engagement, while adhering to the highest level of professional standards.
Avertra’s team creates a solid foundation for client’s SAP system and configures it in a way to optimize the system performance and to incorporate future business needs. The company’s SAP implementations cover all ERP and ISU modules and the company’s consultants are experts in complete lifecycle implementations—from project scoping and blueprinting to post implementation support and performance optimization. Avertra’s hybrid onshore/offshore SAP Application Management and Support (AMS) services model provides complete coverage for processes relating to knowledge transfer and acquisition, system enhancements, and quality management. It also promotes ongoing system optimizations while insuring 24/7 system monitoring and reducing overall operational costs of our customers. “Our goal is not to support clients forever, but to help insure that their staff can take over support once we leave,” clarifies Reyes.
Avertra’s SAP implementation and support services to large and mid-sized organizations insure increased visibility into operations, increased process integrity and heightened competitive agility in a dynamic regulatory and customer landscape. Further, Avertra’s SAP audit service experts/team focuses on enhancing client’s organizational gains from their SAP implementation by charting out small incremental steps, to provide clarity into what was really delivered as part of their SAP initiative. The audits include alignment review and enabling of support offered by the SAP implementation to core business KPIs, system validation review from a risk mitigation perspective and review of current internal competencies.
For instance, consider the case of a utilities company that was unhappy with their existing BI vendor. The knowledge and services provided by the vendor was unsatisfactory, and the client turned to Avertra. Avertra carried out a thorough evaluation—a pre-audit. “We took over the BI area for the customer, working with one onsite representative/BI lead and then designed an offshore team specific to the need,” explains Bseirani. Within the first nine months of this association, Avertra synchronized all direct modifications that were done in production back into development as well as QA, and performed a full blown assessment of the transportation documents that were left hanging by the previous vendor. Avertra’s team also remodeled sales and statistics, as well as the entire BW landscape to easily adopt any new mergers and acquisitions. “The client realized benefits of every single new purchase because they didn’t have to rebuild all their reports,” reveals Bseirani.
Our goal is not to support clients forever, but to help insure that their staff can take over support once we leave
“All reports were already out there in the bunch, ready to be a multi-company code. And for them this was something that they wouldn’t have dreamed of,” he adds.
Protection is a key factor in today’s utilities market and Avertra has invested heavily into building out security protocols and PCI compliance solutions. “At a time when cyber crime is rampant all over the world, we need to make sure that when our customers implement our solutions or services, they are well protected and all of their sensitive data is safe,” asserts Bseirani. “Whenever our customer needs us, we will be there to serve them, to give them advice and make sure that they utilize the value we bring in to the table,” he adds. Process automation is another key area that the company focuses on. For instance, consider the case involving an electric utility that sent a bill of $35,000 to one of its customers by mistake. Avertra came in, carried a thorough evaluation and implemented a validation check. This enabled the client to generate bills and send it to a supervisor. The supervisor had two days to approve or reject the bill going out to the customer. If the two days exceeded, the bill would go to their manager to review and approve the billing doc. “This mechanism completely eliminated the risks of wrong bills going out to customers,” asserts Reyes.
Chasing the Sun
Avertra’s solutions deliver true self-service business intelligence that empowers customers with the right information. In addition, they also provide the ability to easily adapt new information and regulatory needs. These capabilities allow customers to have a single decision support system that serves as a ‘Corporate Memory’ for all the transactions and data of an organization.
The company has built a solid hybrid division of onshore and offshore support for their customers. “A lot of competitors have a model where they have one person onsite and the whole team is offshore,” says Bseirani. “We believe this is a flawed model where there will always be communication gaps between the onshore and offshore team,” he explains. Avertra’s hybrid model bridges the gaps in communication and allows the business to leverage the full onsite support; while in the background, the offshore team is busy building out stuffs and doing the tedious work.
“We have become experts over the years to help business users and utilities to make insightful decisions and realize the true value f the data that they have,” affirms Bseirani. “We have some of the best business intelligence analysts in the market, and based on the customers’ needs and budgets, we use tools—such as BusinessObjects, SAP HANA, and QlikView—to help them with business discovery. We enable and streamline our customer’s decision-making process by providing smart technologies and build out intelligent queries and dashboards specific to each customer. Our process and solution set ensures the utility is able to track all KPI’s set at an organization and departmental level, while giving the business the power to get answers to “Why” things are happening the way they are,” he explains.
The quality that Avertra delivers is un-matched and can go head- to-head with the top vendors in the market. The company has their own SAP delivery methodology that is a hybrid of SAP’s methodology and Avertra’s own best practices that have helped them deliver solutions on-time and on-budget. “Another set of functionalities that has helped us reach this point is the different sets of templates—analytics templates—that we have built internally,” exclaims Bseirani. “These are the intellectual properties that has helped us dissect and analyze situations when clients are trying to implement new SAP solutions or enhance current capabilities,” he adds.
Architects of Responsive and Creative Solutions
Through its SAP Consulting Services and its software products development, Avertra strives to provide the highest level of satisfaction, professionalism, superior quality and innovation to its clients. “Our focus is to be the architects of responsive and creative solutions to our clients’ complex needs,” says Bseirani. The company understands that it is not just about meeting the current requirements; it’s about being a genuine innovator who will help clients to continuously improve their processes and operations. Hence, Avertra is committed to work in partnership with clients and assure that the value is delivered.
One of the company’s biggest goals is to have ’Avertra’ become a home grown brand name across utilities in the U.S. Toward this, “we aim to buy some of our smaller competitors and partners to grow the value of Avertra and increase our outreach,” notes Bseirani.