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Greenville Business Magazine

Merit Positions For Growth

Jan 02, 2018 01:00PM ● By Emily Stevenson
By AnnaMarie Koehler-Shipley

As a pre-med student, Abe Varughese was always interested in the problem-solving aspect of medicine. The future founder and CEO of Merit Technologies found he wasn’t so interested in seeing blood, so he decided to take his love of diagnosing and solving problems to the field of computer science.

“I always had a desire to solve technical problems,” Varughese said. “I love helping people, and I love helping someone who is frustrated with a computer and making their day better.”

With more than 30 years of experience in the industry dealing with a variety of situations and technologies from software development to network installs and project management, Varughese has dedicated his life to just that.

Varughese began working for himself in 2005, and in 2009, he pulled in a partner and founded Merit Technologies. The Greenville-based company specializes in IT and software development, and it provides both full service IT needs as well as supplementary IT support for companies who have their own in-house team.

This model allows the company to individually tailor its services to each of its clients, and Varughese says that he credits the company’s growth to its ability to keep its clients happy. Part of that happiness means remaining accountable, a cause and effect of running a business out of such a close-knit community.

“[Greenville’s] a small town, so you have to make sure that you protect your reputation of excellent delivery, and you’ve got to make sure that you pay attention to details and that [your clients’] expectations are clearly met and that at the end of the day the solutions you bring are adding value to the customer,” Varughese said.

For Merit, this means adapting its expertise to suit the needs of its clients.
When Merit first began, it established itself as a more general technology solutions company and has since evolved into more of a specialist role.  The company’s focuses now include software and mobile application development, and it offers 24/7 helpdesk support, remote monitoring and management services, consulting, data security, and custom software development. The company even has its own cloud-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) service called Sales Manna.

“We consider ourselves a full-service IT and software [company],” Varughese said. “We want to be your one-stop shop.”

Merit mainly caters to small- to medium-sized companies that are large enough to require daily IT support. A typical client may have 15 to 100 employees, and depending on their needs, Merit will work with the client to determine the best relationship for each party.

“The main justification of a business partnering with us is that we work with other companies, too,” Varughese said. “We bring a level of experience that can be timesaving because we’ve seen [the issue] happen somewhere else that [the company] can benefit from. We’ve probably seen that technology and worked with it, and that’s a huge advantage.”

IT is a particularly tough field to stay ahead of, so Merit’s employees on both the engineering side of things as well as the business side are constantly researching the latest problems and trends.

“No one knows it all,” Varughese said. “Even the experts will tell you that they don’t know it all—the rate of change in technology is too fast.”

When new technologies come out, the team carefully vets them before recommending them to clients.
“We’re not really into early adoption,” Varughese said. “Which means that when a new technology comes out that has all these new bells and whistles, we’re about the business.”

This strategy seems to be working for them, too.

“Of course we want to grow,” Varughese said. “Because if you’re not growing, then I think you’re going in the wrong direction. We don’t want to grow just for the sake of growth, though; we want to earn the right to grow.”

For Merit, this means continuing to put its clients’ business needs first in terms of IT and continuing to explore areas of opportunity in the market share in terms of software development.

“We enjoy what we do; we think we have something special,” Varughese said. “We want to offer some value-add with what we bring to the table, and so I think that’s a recipe for growth.”