If you build castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Nowlay foundation under them !! It means that entertaining daydreams will never come to pass. However if an idea if one has conceived is brought to fruition, it is no longer a case of building castles in the air. By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of achieving the goals that you always wanted to achieve. Put your future in good hands – your own. That is what S. Sriram 1986 Mechanical did !!
‘Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea, Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of the body, be full of that idea and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success’, said Swami Vivekananda. Sriram had 3 choices – To start an auto ancillary unit or an agro based industry or an IT industry. After a lot of thought and deliberation he and his wife Mrs Anu BE, Electronics (1988 batch) decided to get into the IT sector.
Sriram comes from an agricultural background in Madurantakam. His father the Late Mr.N. Subramanya was a first generation graduate. Sriram did his early schooling from Madurantakam and in his 7’th standard moved to Ramakrishna Tapovanam’s School, Sri Vivekananda Vidyvanam High School, at Thiruparaithurai, near Trichy. This school shaped the heart and mind of Sriram from an early age which proved to shape his life. A boat in the sea moves up and down because it doesn’t have a foundation whereas a light house stands erect because it stands on a solid foundation. Solid foundation in morals and ethics besides independence and confidence were the attributes that were ingrained into his system in the formative years.
Sriram knew what he wanted to become when he was in the final year of his engineering. He wanted to either become an entrepreneur or become a CEO of a big company. He had a habit of writing down his goals for the future and he has to this day, the journals where he had written his aspirations !! Writing down the goals means that you can visually see them. It helps create in your mind, an image of what you want to be in future.
In 1988 Sriram joined an auto-ancillary unit in Chennai as a Graduate Engineer Trainee. After working in various departments from maintenance to process engineering, he was selected to head a greenfield project in Bangalore. He was looking after the entire unit implementing new ideas. One such innovation was hiring only female workers. He found that women worked harder and demostrated higher productivity. The company transferred him to Pondicherry to set up an other greenfield project. The company sent Sriram to Stuttgart, Germany for training as it was a German collaboration. He once again got a good exposure to set up a new venture. With all this experience and exposure he now wanted to launch his own business.
Sriram decided to start a new Company in the IT sector and chose DTP as his line of business after consulting friends, cousins and other well-wishers. They started off in a small way with one computer and working from home. The work was mainly designing brochures, flyers, and project documents. The first big client was Pondicherry University followed by a British company. The company now had 5 employees and started in a rented office. The going was not great for the first 3 years and as the saying goes when the going gets the tough get going !! Indeed after 3 years Integra broke even and then came to the growth phase. Sriram started getting more customers. He worked rigorously for more than 6 years, not taking any weekends or holidays.
In 2003 Integra had about 400 employees working across 14 different buildings and Sriram wanted to assemble all of them under one roof. That was when in the year 2003 on an acre of land 60,000 sft building got constructed. As a 100% export oriented ITES unit and working with reputable foreign publishers, there were no bad debts and, payments were coming regularly.
Sriram’s vision of becoming the No 1 player in the world, attracted investment from a Private Equity Fund. The fund acquired a majority stake in Integra in early 2007 and the business went into hyper-growth mode. They now began to automate all routine, repetitive tasks. With higher levels of trust and collaboration customers began to outsource more and more of their core activities. Integra decided to expand its customer base beyond UK and beyond STM (Scientific, Technical, Medical) publishing.
By 2011 Integra had a 1000 strong work force. Along with growth, employee welfare had been a priority. More than 60% of Integra’s employees were women at the entry level. Sriram’s goals were to have 50% of men and women in every department. His wife Mrs Anu Sriram handles the portfolios of Finance and HR, while also looking after the house and their 2 children Dhanvin and Advaith. Today both of them have joined their parents’ business after their education abroad.
Integra celebrated its silver Jubilee in 2019, and today Integra has a 2000 plus global workforce. In addition to the services business, Integra is also in the products business. Visit www.integranxt.com for more information.
Among the many business excellence and other awards, the latest that Sriram and Anu have received, was the Nanaya Vikatan award for Business – Rising Star Award in 2020.
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years back. The second best time is now. Sriram has a private forest, his endeavor to maintain ecological balance in a 150 acre organic farm. He has planted around 10,000 trees inside the farm. This is in addition to 20,000 trees he had planted in and around Pondicherry and Cuddalore, which comes to a total of 30,000 trees. These trees are part of Sriram’s effort to improve bio-diversity, support conservation, protect the environment & the ecology and also enable ground water retention.
Global warming is a major threat to our planet, with temperatures increasing by almost 1 Degree Centigrade every five years and we are responsible for reducing the impact and to contribute towards leaving a cleaner and greener planet for the next generation.
Sriram also built 10 farm ponds in his organic farm, which can store 33 million litres of water which can be used to recharge the earth and percolation into the earth and recharge the aquifer.
Everything inside the farm is organic. The farm has an orchard comprising of mango, guava, papaya trees besides cultivation of paddy, millets etc. visit www.Biovilleorganicfarms.com for more information.
Sriram also runs two Schools in Maduranthakam with highly subsidized education for all the students. They were founded in 1883 and are 137 years old. There are around 1,100 students currently studying in the two schools combined. The schools were started by Sriram’s great-grandfather to impart highly subsidized education especially for children from underprivileged families. Sriram’s late father was at the helm of affairs till a few years ago. Thereafter he had handed them over to Sriram, and now Sriram runs the schools, as part of his own Philanthropic and Charitable works. Visit www.hinduhsschool.com for more information.
In 2006, he established Sriram Charitable Trust (a non-profit organization) by contributing his personal wealth. With a strong personal urge for upliftment and contribution to the welfare of the society he has invested in philanthropic activities focusing on the following areas:
- Social rehabilitation and rural upliftment
- Women empowerment
- Supporting government to improve governance
Sriram initiated CSR activities, for philanthropy, 20 years ago, in 2000, before the Government made it a mandate in India in 2013. Visit more www: sriramcharitabletrust.org for more information.
Sriram is a spiritual person and feels connected to both human beings and nature. He sets aside time for Yoga, Pranayama and meditation. This was the antidote for stress and for overall spiritual development. There are different paths to enlightenment – Bhakti yoga, Jnana yoga, Karma yoga. The paths are different but the goal is the same. - Oneness with the whole. Sriram is a karma yogi - Inspired by an ideal when you are functioning in the world outside, surrendering to the Lord and working on the world outside, rising above the ego and selfish desires is Karma yoga. It destroys the vasanas or tendencies and thereby quietens the mind and intellect. Karma yoga is a process of purifying the heart. If while doing every action, even your breathing, your eating, your working from dawn to dusk all actions are undertaken constantly remembering the Higher Reality, that is called Karma Yoga.
At the end of the day, Sriram believes that spiritual enlightenment is the ultimate goal. All his spiritual pursuits as well as his temporal commitments are aligned in the direction of attaining that enlightenment.