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Alumnus Shares Entrepreneurial Success Story

Bhavesh Bhagat

Bhavesh Bhagat (MBA '97), president and CEO of EnCrisp.

How does it feel to run one of the nation's fastest-growing companies? Bhavesh Bhagat (MBA, '97), president and CEO of EnCrisp, Inc., knows.

Reston-based EnCrisp was recently recognized by Inc. magazine as No. 58 of the fastest-growing private companies in the region. Bhagat shares the story of EnCrisp's success (and his role in it) in a special Q&A below.

You founded EnCrisp in 2004 after several management roles in auditing, finance and software solutions. Can you explain what service EnCrisp provides to its clients?

BB: EnCrisp is a Global Enterprise Application Lifecycle and Governance Risk and Compliance (GRC) management solutions leader.

EnCrisp eases clients' security and risk management worries across the functional and technical business landscape. EnCrisp designs software solutions with a business-driven, risk-based approach to improve our clients' I.T. lifecycle, regulatory governance, environmental sustainability, security architecture and compliance.

Between 2005 and 2008, EnCrisp’s revenue growth rate was 430% - 400% more than the average growth rate of a company in the industry. Why do you think EnCrisp has been so successful?

BB: The key to EnCrisp's success has been three-fold. For me, luckily these involve merging my skills as an electrical engineer, MBA, and genetic entrepreneur.

First, unparalleled customer service and guaranteed outcome assurance. EnCrisp is the only company in the world that has pay-for-performance commitments when we work with our customers. Most of our clients are board members, CFOs, controllers, chief audit executives and CIOS; these senior folks understand the difference between commodity solutions and a true bend-over-backwards partner who looks out for their success.

Second, by building a global brand, we are known as leaders in our field globally. As a founder, I speak internationally on the subject of GRC and solution management. We go to market as experts ; we don’t claim to do everything under the sun in I.T. or auditing. Rather, we specialize in two things: Enterprise Risk and Governance Management and Enterprise Application Lifecycle management.

Finally, we chose a good market. EnCrisp was at the forefront of Governance Risk and Compliance even before the term GRC was coined in early 2007. GRC can be a very broad and diversified field. It can also be extremely specialized, as it's a specific niche working with strategy and technologies such as SAP. The overall size of the GRC and ALM market globally is over 1 billion USD and is growing.

It's been 12 years since you completed your MBA at American University. How did your experiences at The Kogod School of Business shape your career path?

BB: Kogod's location is a winner. All of the action in terms of regulation, compliance and business policy driving entrepreneurs and risk management is in Washington, D.C.

My dream was to work in International Finance at the World Bank. Through AU and my connection with Dr. Dara Khambatta, I even did so at the prestigious International Finance Corporation in their Young Professionals Program. However, I quickly realized that finance was my hobby, but entrepreneurship was my passion.

Kogod taught me a lesson that “if you don't ask – you will never know.” In my second year I needed money, as my fellowship for the first year had completed. Even though I was in the MBA program, I asked Dr. Delone (in the I.T. department) for help. I was persistent, and he helped me get a second year fellowship setting up special computer systems, which helped me in my financial situation.

You get what you put into a program, and at end of the day it's all about opportunities, enterprising ambitions and giving back.

What types of clients do you work with?

BB: Our clients are global companies and government institutions of all sizes, as the concepts of governance, risk management and compliance are universal. We have provided our solutions to diverse companies such as Coca-Cola, T-Mobile, Constellation Energy, and various government agencies, among others.

Why are IT monitoring, compliance and governance solutions so vital to your clients, and what would you say to a student who is considering pursuing a career in your specialty?

BB: We do not just monitor IT; most risks are process driven risks. So essentially this field is about process and business-driven risk management with I.T. as an enabler.

As long as there is human nature, there will be a need for GRC and monitoring and we will be in business. Right now, we are seeing what ten years of misgoverned ambition for growth can do to an economy and businesses.

The entire issue of Harvard Business Review this month (Sept/Oct 2009) is devoted to Enterprise Risk Management, if I have not convinced you of importance of the field of GRC.