“It doesn’t matter how many times you fail. It doesn’t matter how many times you almost get it right. No one is going to know or care about your failures, and neither should you. All you have to do is learn from them and those around you because all that matters in business is that you get it right once. Then everyone can tell you how lucky you are.” – Mark Cuban
The global construction industry has been valued at $8.5T with a growth outlook of over $10T in 2020. With large construction projects generally having contingency budgets of 15-20% in order to cover unexpected delays, cost overruns, litigation, and liquidated damages, this potentially is a large determinant to the project’s profitability. Current Project Management and Risk Management for construction companies ostensibly utilizes a SME based approach to identify potential problems and risks throughout the project lifecycle. As in all SME based operational scenarios, the success of problem identification impacting mitigation is based on the knowledge of the resources and their timely awareness of information. Missed, delayed, or erroneous handling can create front page news, eviscerate margins and have serious financial impact to industry players.
Having identified this niche area, Wai Wong and Bill Guinn stepped in to fill the gap between technological innovation and application by founding WGSigma Systems and launching their Sigma iContractRisk to target this large opportunity. Offering enhanced results when used in conjunction with existing methodologies and risk solutions such as Oracle Primavera risk analysis, WGSigma Systems based in CA is making heads turn with their unique application of Big Data and inferencing technology to project risk management, under the able guidance of the entrepreneurs.
Since inception, the company has been developing technologies in this field using NLP, Machine Learning and Probablisitic Reasoning. Using an exceptional vision coupled with experience and knowledge, the entrepreneurs built a risk inference solution which got the company their first customer.
WGSigma Systems in the Coming Years
Using a unique big data approach, the entrepreneurs at WGSigma Systems have improved current techniques in the industry by using an automatic intelligent decision system that continuously scans and analyzes unstructured information. Sigma iContractRisk monitors information such as plan changes, inspections, contracts, status reports and relevant emails, it will generate impact analysis and risk mitigation alerts to SMEs and management. The Sigma Discovery Engine sits in the background serving as a safety net, catching expensive problems early, preventing cost and time overruns and automates what-if schedule impact analysis. It can even answer Discovery questions of who knew what and when.
With innovative plans in mind for the days ahead, the leaders see themselves bringing state of art Big Data technology into an industry which has tremendous amounts of unstructured data and little way of gaining value without a large manpower effort. Risk Management being the company’s first focus point for realizing the value of the data to the construction industry by supporting a higher Risk visibility resulting in higher project margins, the entrepreneurs are sure to continue improving their partner and customers’ business performance through state of art intelligent real time solutions.
Think like an Entrepreneur
Q. What are the key challenges that are faced by you and the company, at large?
Wong: As a company, we face several challenges such as standard startup scenario, building the awareness, funding, customer acquisition, etc. But the most important and crucial challenge that needs to be solved 24×7 is client satisfaction.
Guinn: We have to find the best way to explain what we do succinctly. In fact, when we first demonstrated our solution to a General Consul ( potential customer), they were immediately angered by the impression that our solution was positioned to replace lawyers, which in their minds was impossible, we were quite tensed about what would happen. Thankfully, five minutes later when the light bulb came on, they realized how much of the constant burden of searching and scanning reports and emails this took off their plate and how much more lucrative work they could take on as a consequence of it.
Q. What are your present and future focus areas?
Wong: We believe in going with the flow. However, we always make sure that our first project is a resounding success and then move on to acquiring funds, in order to scale up the different levels of operation.
Q. What are your learning’s from the previous fiscal year that you are keeping in mind while crafting your future road map?
Wong: We have decided not to build out too much technology beyond the core functions until a customer engagement requires it. Our focus will basically be on maintaining a balance between innovation and pragmatic day to day operations.
Meet the Leaders
Wai Wong, President and CEO
With more than 30 years of executive leadership experience, Wong founded WGSigma and prior to that had served as President and CEO of SUMMUS Software. He has also served as the Executive Vice President of Products at BEA Systems, where he was responsible for industry-leading enterprise middleware products such as WebLogic, Tuxedo and JRockit, and for the creation of new and innovative product offerings such as the AquaLogic brand of products.
Wong also spent 16 years at Computer Associates (CA Technologies) in a variety of executive management positions including senior vice president and general manager of Unicenter solutions, senior vice president and general manager of worldwide services, and general manager of interBiz Solutions. Prior to CA, Wong held a variety of development positions for Online Software International, Inc., IBM and Bell Communications Research. Wong holds a master’s and a bachelor’s degrees in computer science from Columbia University.
Bill Guinn, Co-Founder and CTO
Guinn brings more than 30 years of experience in the communications and enterprise IT industries. Most recently, he was CTO at SUMMUS Software. Prior to that, he served at Amdocs as CTO of the Product Business Unit where he was responsible for the development of real-time customer experience platforms.
Before joining Amdocs, Guinn served as senior vice president of product planning and architecture at DST Innovis, where he was responsible for strategic technology platforms, product management and pre-sales for the cable, broadband and satellite industries. Guinn also spent 5 years at DBS Systems Computer as chief technology officer, leading the development and operations of DirectTV’s billing, provisioning and customer care solutions. Prior to joining DBS Systems, he served in executive management positions at Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). Guinn holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in computer science from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
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