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Morphing a Consulting Business to a Cloud Computing Product Company: Bill Loumpouridis, CEO of EDL (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Oct 25th 2010

Bill Loumpouridis is the CEO and founder of EDL Consulting. Prior to EDL he served as vice president of CRM at iXL, regional customer relationship management (CRM) practice leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers, founder of Strategic Technology Resources (STR), founded Strategic Technology Resources, and served as an executive manager at Lante Corporation. He studied math and computer science at the University of Illinois.

Sramana: Bill, let’s start with a review your background. What is your personal story?

Bill Loumpouridis: I am the son of Greek immigrants. My parents got here in the late 1950s and did not know the language and were unskilled. All they had was a burning desire to be successful and make it in the land of opportunity.

Sramana: What city did they come to?

Bill Loumpouridis: Chicago, which is where I was born.

Sramana: What did they do to establish themselves in America, and what kind of environment did that create for you to grow up in?

Bill Loumpouridis: My parents were always working. As a result I needed to be very self-sufficient. I needed to be their window into the country and world. I was my father’s secretary and dealt with bank correspondence from a very young age. I was balancing the family checkbook at 11.

Sramana: What drove that? Was it the language or schooling levels?

Bill Loumpouridis: My parents were busy working, and I got to do a lot of the things around the house that were normally done by adults. That gave me a strong grounding in written and oral communication. Their hard work and their entrepreneurial spirit was passed down to me. I had my first business in my early teens. We had a lot of snow, so I started a snow shoveling business.

Sramana: What did you do after high school?

Bill Loumpouridis: I went to the University of Illinois and got a degree in math and computer science. I got into consulting at a very early age, and at the perfect time for our industry because the IBM PC was just coming out. This was in the mid-1980s, and it was a very exciting time to be entering consulting. I watched that progress through successive waves, on to client servers, on to Web 1.0, then web 2.0, and now the cloud era.

Sramana: Did you consult for large companies?

Bill Loumpouridis: My first firm was Lante. They eventually IPO’d during the dot-com bubble. I left in the mid-1990s to start my first company. The great thing about Lante is that we were all the same age. It was a very forgiving learning environment. We could make mistakes and consider learning a part of the result. We learned a lot about what to do and what not to do. We learned that being focused is very important and that you need to choose your partners closely.

Sramana: What was your first company, and what were the circumstances in terms of leaving Lante to start that company?

Bill Loumpouridis: The primary motivator to leaving Lante was to start my own business and apply my lessons learned. In the early 1990s there was a big shift away from procedural programming toward object-oriented programming. It opened up a whole new way of approaching how problems were solved and how IT was applied to solve business problems. Reusable components made a lot of sense in the business world. I created Strategic Technology Resources, which was extremely successful in the Chicago area and is still around. We were able to carve out a niche as the experts for object oriented programming. We were doing work on the NeXT computer and its operating system. When Steve Jobs came back to Apple, that operating system became known as OS X.

This segment is part 1 in the series : Morphing a Consulting Business to a Cloud Computing Product Company: Bill Loumpouridis, CEO of EDL
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Very nice working example of time tested strategy – continuous quest of building value by being closer, relevant and significant to key stakeholders – customers/market segments.

Professional Services companies are generally presented with multiple opportunities to move around adjacent spaces of – operation/solution/technology. Most of them stay in the services mode and get into typical market challenges – of supply, cost and competence. Those who drift towards product offerings – augmenting the services mode benefit by non-linear business returns – especially when focused on key vertical/domain/solution.

We see many half-hearted, accidental – product business pursuits from services companies. If designed with focus, services can truly fuel a successful product business.

Manjunatha Hebbar Monday, November 1, 2010 at 4:45 AM PT