Interview with Sana Salam

WITI News Staff

November 04, 2014

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Sana Salam is the Founder and President of Canada based technology startup Sodales Solutions, a company which has grown considerably within its first year. Her firm uses SAP's innovative technologies and user experience design to resolve business complexities using an agile and cost effective approach. As a winner of the SAP Mobile Apps Challenge for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 and recently the SAP and Google Apps challenge, Sana has a significant amount of knowledge and a unique perspective to offer to other women who are looking to build their tech startups.

Before starting Sodales, Sana worked as a turnaround project manager where she revived derailed IT projects that suffered from complexity. Sana's inspiration behind Sodales was to help enterprises simplify their business by humanizing the meaning of technology.

The motivation for becoming an SAP PartnerEdge for Application Development partner was SAP's encouraging culture that promotes innovation with a human touch.

"We had a brilliant technical team but we were missing the required business framework and technology platforms to build our ideas. Starting your own business is a journey of self-growth and uncertainty both emotionally and professionally. There is no way you can go through this process without making mistakes. The SAP PartnerEdge program for Application Development greatly minimized this uncertainty for us. In addition, the SAP community support and global customer reach massively reduced our startup cost and time to market. "said Sana Salam.

In addition, attending SAP events, gave her the opportunity to directly educate customers as well as other SAP partners about her products. In fact, she met her first major customer at a hotel gym that one of these events was being held at.

Sana feels that "Startups can die quickly without a substantial marketing budget. Customers can't buy from you until they know about you and trust your standing. Being a lean bootstrapped startup, we didn't have the necessary resources for marketing. Participating in SAP’s Apps Challenges allowed us to establish our brand credibility and gave us spectacular marketing support from SAP. Furthermore, the app challenge itself imposed tight deadlines on us that gave us conviction in our vision and made us stronger."

On the go-to-market side, Sana emphasized that consistently educating your target customers about your products and services can develop your credibility much faster. Utilizing multiple channels to share this knowledge is critical whether it is in person, blogging, email, or online seminars.

Presently, Sodales Solutions is aligning its strategy to address the market needs of cloud, big data and user experience. With the flexibility of SAP PartnerEdge program for Application Development, it is easy to enable these innovations in order to support growth.

Sana offered five pieces of advice for women looking to build their own tech start-ups.

1. First step to success starts with your own belief system. YOU are your first customer. If you feel passionate about the products and services you are offering, your customers will sense it too. Your passion not only gives you the strength to persevere but also the charisma to create an emotional connection with people.

2. Dream big and start small with what you have now. Remember that every expert was once a beginner so everything that you need to become successful can be learned over time. During your journey to success, you will face a lot of setbacks and challenges. The key to success is to persevere with patience and to consistently act with faith in your vision.

3. Start with a small team of ‘A’ players with complementary skill sets. Startups change fast. Look for people who are entrepreneurial in nature and can lead their own way with passion.

4. Make sure you start getting in front of the customers in person as early as possible. Many entrepreneurs begin to lose confidence in their marketing efforts because they rely heavily on online channels where things often move very slowly especially within the B2B segment.

5. Lastly, Sana advises to be completely honest with your customers and to capitalize on your strengths as much as possible. Seeking partner alliances in areas that are not your core strengths will greatly accelerate your startup journey and in turn boost your chances of success.

On a final note Sana said "I want to take this opportunity to encourage other women to pursue their dreams. The technology marketplace is abundant with fascinating opportunities. You can start with a little to no capital and convert your ideas into meaningful products or services that make a difference. However, the vital step is to get started ! "

On December 4th, Sana will join SAP for an exclusive webinar with WITI, free of charge. Don’t miss this opportunity to get informed, inspired, and involved. Discover how you can engage with SAP today and grow your business tomorrow,

Register Now:

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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