By Brenda Beveridge
For Reena Batra, CEO of Software Professionals Inc., the idea of launching a business began in 1992 when the tech industry was rightsizing and downsizing.
“My mentor at IBM [Corp.] bridged to retirement, sharing with me ‘The writing is on the wall,’” she said. “Believe it or not, I got scared! Fear is a great motivator; sometimes it kicks us in the back and gets things in motion. I decided to take matters into my own hands to chart my own path and destiny.”
Armed with her master’s degree in computer science, background in software development and experience in sales, Batra left IBM to start SPI.
SPI is an information technology staffing and custom software development firm. She said SPI is recognized for responsive, efficient and accurate services that have been utilized by Fortune 500 companies in various industries.
Thirty years ago, “was a time when there was no internet and most of the research had to be done by reading newspapers and going through documents in the library,” Batra said. “Cold calling is a humbling experience. To get positive energy, I started helping consultants write their resumes. One day, one of the consultants called me to share that he got a job, so he gave me the name and phone number of the person who was looking for consultants. That was the beginning of the relationship with SPI’s first customer, formerly called BancTec Services. The rest is history.”
She said SPI’s powerful combination of consulting and product expertise provides clients with end-to-end, technology-driven, enterprisewide business solutions.
“Our passion for performance has driven us over the years, enabling us to deliver quick, measurable and long-term results,” Batra said. “SPI integrates people, processes and products to deliver innovative results. Our promise: Quality, Flexibility, Responsiveness.”
SPI products are the brainchild of Suresh Batra — Reena Batra’s brother — who retired from ExxonMobil Corp. in 2016 after 38 years. He became SPI’s subject matter expert on safety.
“He put the requirements together and started the development effort in our Flower Mound [Texas] office,” she said. “We tested the concept with [the] WE Innovate program of WBENC which was well-received, developed the product and featured it at [a] Women’s Business Enterprise National Council National Conference, receiving a safety contract with a Dallas-based utility company soon after.”
One of SPI’s products is SafeConnect, which is web-based, as well as an app that can be installed on any device be it Apple iOS or iPadOS or Samsung Android devices. If employees see something, they can report it on their phones, iPads etc. The application is built on leading indicators and according to SPI, all incidents are preventable.
“We believe that everyone in the organization is a safety champion — whether it is in the field, manufacturing plant, construction or in the office,” Batra said. “SafeConnect is built to make sure that every employee comes to work and returns home safe.
“SafeConnect focuses on observation and intervention to highlight good practices and the risks that lead to a hazard-free workplace where safety practices become a habit,” she continued. “SPI has taken the importance of safety and applied that to a business solution software tool that fits into any organization’s safety culture.”
The application also has built-in, real-time analytics that can show location and type hazards.
Another product created by the SPI team is SafeSchools that is designed to meet the need to implement a technology solution that addresses the issue of school violence and other suspicious activities in schools.
Planes, trains and …
“SPI got into the railroad industry due to my knowledge and background in IBM mainframes,” Batra said. “Railroads have niche applications that they develop themselves. Once SPI started, we built on developing strong knowledge of applications and became the go-to company for the senior managers and technical leads. They rely on SPI to bring strong consultants that can do the job and produce results in the expected timeframe.
“Once we got into [the] transportation industry, SPI targeted other organizations in the same industry, like airports and airlines,” she added. “We are considered the company to go to when you need skilled, reliable resources.”
The new norm
Like most small businesses, SPI had challenges during the pandemic, Batra said. Overall, there was not a heavy impact, but SPI learned to adjust to new norms.
“All of our client and new leads communication shifted from in-person to video calls and, most importantly, LinkedIn. Eventually, our employees reverted to working from home and maintaining productivity to keep the business running as smoothly as possible. SPI shifted our software product development to create a new product called SafeContact, a critical infectious disease assessment tool utilized to protect workers and their families during the pandemic,” she said. “Work from home and hybrid flexibility has become the new norm now and has helped employees who had small children at home. We work with large corporations, so being a company that is flexible in work models — along with an inclusive culture — is admired by our clients.”
A certified business
Batra said a significant benefit of being certified through women and minority certifying agencies is the amount of exposure that these entities bring to the table, such as attending the yearly events.
“These events have proven to be fruitful with introductions to individuals in procurement — the buyers — and influential executives of corporations we are trying to earn business with,” she said. “For example, meeting a well-known beverage company’s director of sourcing and its [chief information officer] led to a contract for staffing [information technology] consultants.”
Batra’s daughter recently joined SPI and she hopes the legacy of the business maintains its reputation, but also its contributions on a social level.
“For the next 30 years I want to be able to give back to the community,” she said. “I am working closely with Harmony Schools — 59 schools in Texas — and Akanksha in Mumbai, India.”
Batra serves on the boards of WBCS – Southwest, Nepalese American Chamber of Commerce and US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce – Southwest. She also sits on the advisory board of the University of Texas at Dallas’ Eric Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science and Dallas Venture Capital.
To learn more about Software Professionals, visit spius.net.
Reena Batra Software Professionals Inc IBM SPI information technology staffing and custom software development Fortune 500 companies BancTec Services Suresh Batra ExxonMobil Corp Flower Mound TX WE Innovate program WBENC Women’s Business Enterprise National Council National Conference Dallas SafeConnect Apple IOS iPadeOS Samsung Android LinkedIn SafeContact Harmony Schools Akanksha Mumbai India Nepalese American Chamber of Commerce Southwe US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce University of Texas at Dallas’ Eric Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science Dallas Venture Capital