The intersection of technology, innovation, and deep business acumen, altogether form a strategic leadership. Accumulating expertise in these three areas, Neelima Parasker, the Founder, President and CEO of SnapIT Solutions, has held various leadership positions with Fortune 500 companies.
Neelima holds Masters in Computer Science. She has gained valuable experience and expertise in Information Technology industry and used emerging tech skills to manage, develop and support business/mission critical applications. Alongside tech skills, she was positioned to hone her leadership skills and trained to be an executive responsible for nationally and internationally teams for about a decade. After gaining confidence that she can create innovative solutions for some of the growing challenges for this industry, she founded her purpose. Being 14 plus years within IT Industry, Neelima founded SnapIT Solutions in 2015 with a mission to “Empower Communities and Create Opportunities in Technology”.
Although they say entrepreneurs work in silos, Neelima made intentional efforts to get to know the resources that foster startups. It was with the help of these resources, both local and national startup networks much was accomplished within a shorter span. She first understood the infrastructure of the business ecosystems that later helped her to form allies, sponsors, partners, collaborators, employees and ultimately appropriate clients that great fits her company’s capabilities.
Delivering Smart IT Solutions
SnapIT Solutions is an innovative technology solutions and services company that has three primary divisions including SnapIT Solve, SnapIT Pods, and SnapIT Trains. SnapIT Solve assists in solving the business challenges of its clients with custom developed technology products including software and hardware or seamlessly implement and integrate out-of-box third party solutions. SnapIT Pods provides consulting services that deploy its talented software developers in pods (group) of 4-5 to maintain and enhance its client’s existing systems. SnapIT Trains conducts IT Trainings with custom developed courses to develop software developers from diverse backgrounds.
Presently, SnapIT Solutions is able to create more meaningful and affordable software products for its clients based on their business operations and how their industry works. It does not force them to use software products that are designed by developers who don’t completely understand that particular industry. In addition, due to SnapIT’s custom developed industry ready trainings and on-the-job mentoring, the company is able to reduce the learning curve and launch its students successfully with or without traditional job qualifications in IT careers.
Prepared to Learn, Prepared to Lead
Neelima started as a software engineer back in 2000. She immediately realized that this is ever evolving and changing industry and she needs to keep herself abreast of the evolution, although it was not as easy then, due to limited online resources. Eventually, working with Fortune 500 companies made it easy for her to keep that learning possible.
Being a first generation in US, Neelima needed help in understanding more about the business and ways of life there. Fortunately, she found great mentors and advisors that helped her mold in different aspects of personal and professional growth. She learned that working for Major Corporation and working as an entrepreneur to build a company from ground up are totally different experiences and the tools needed to succeed are also quite different as well. There are multiple factors that are been predefined and taken care off in such a way that they become secondary nature for an individual to depend on these resources. But, soon she realized that these factors were not available and she had to carefully analyze options and put these factors in place that could align with the strategic vision of company’s current stage and growth in mind.
Neelima is grateful for both good as well as bad experiences in her role as a leader of SnapIT Solutions as both were necessary to keep her educated and guided her along the path. She learned important lessons from her bad experiences and is glad to face them on early stages as the damage was relatively minor. Later, she educated herself on the aspects of financial management and risk assessment which helped her save a great deal of time and other resources.
Leading the Market Trends
Due to market research and access to predictive analytics on the growing trends of this industry, Neelima along with her team lined up the company’s assets in the form of capabilities to match the growth potential of the market. She identified liabilities in the form of challenges that the company will need to overcome to achieve its immediate and long term goals. As SnapIT Solutions offers services, product development and IT trainings the pool of its competitors went down drastically as traditional models had been either IT Consulting services or single technology product companies. Besides these, it also organizes 2-3 deep dive sessions with its clients to completely understand the business challenges and provide ROI with multiple options before its clients have to invest in the product creation (buy vs build). This builds trust with mutual parties and tremendously reduced the risk for both the parties.
Empowering Women Entrepreneurship
Women leaders often face challenges in their respective workplaces. For Neelima, gaining trust and respect as a leader from her employees, as an advisor/partner from her company’s clients, and as an ethical client from her company’s vendors is initially daunting when her company is subjected to biases and stereotypes. According to her, the only way women entrepreneurs can tackle them is by being observant to the environment they are in and break this bias by being outspoken on thoughts that will help others with their expertise. She also advises to become a thought leader and a source of knowledge on areas that are in their wheel house. Secondly, utilization of time is another struggle women leaders have to go through. It becomes difficult for them to understand where to spend this most valuable and ever depreciating commodity and how best to utilize it to build processes and systems in place that would operate smoothly and scale seamlessly with limited use of resource consumption. Neelima found that volunteering as a speaker and panelists at non-profit organizations and extending expertise formed great relationships that helped her in enforcing her brand and even her work was greatly supported by these beneficiaries.
Studies show that only about 2% of women and minority entrepreneurs are supported with funding at early stages. Neelima was able to dig into her retirement funds to self-fund her growth stage of the business and it eventually worked to increase the cash flow that is also helping as the source for re-investment as her company is growing significantly. But the fact that there are very less opportunities to find funding is the biggest obstacle a women leader would face when starting and growing their company.
Striving to Scale across the Nation
SnapIT Solutions has experienced a significant growth in its operations and the model, Neelima created within the company, has been a win-win for its clients, employees, and partners. Now, the company is striving to scale this model across the nation and target not only private sector but also public sector clientele.
Enlightening Upcoming Leaders
The journey of leaders tests them in all aspects of their abilities. According to Neelima, decision making, perseverance, mentoring, and being authentic are some of the abilities every leader should possess. She says that leaders will have advisors and experts in different fields of expertise, but choosing the right ones is an essential part. Ultimately, being able to make decisions and take responsibility for these decisions is another vital attribute.
Neelima believes that having the grit to face challenging situations and roadblocks that are bound to hit one and still moving consistently and making informed decisions is pertinent. As a leader, the ability to mentor others can lead to identifying talents in one’s team and this skill is quite helpful during growth stage and expands operations. She also mentions that it’s easy to lose identity when one is trying to live up to others’ expectations. But, in the long run being authentic and truthful to self helps in keeping leaders centered and making the right decisions based on who they are and their actions reflect their brand and identity.
Taking technological advancements into consideration, Neelima asserts, “Technology is a tool that is only as knowledgeable as you take the time to understand what problem we are solving, for whom, and what are the domino effects that can mutate into unforeseen issues. We are now at a great cusp of changing tech landscape with AI, IOT, Quantum Computing, Nanotechnology, etc. that defines fourth industrial revolution this also means we have greater responsibilities to build better products that help save our planet.”
Source: Most Inspirational Women in Tech 2019 January2019