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Ki Solutions
Industry: Corporate Business Solutions
Location: Irvine, CA

"A Pioneering Role"

When UC Irvine Paul Merage School of Business alum and entrepreneur Paula Milano decided to start-up Ki Solutions, an end-to-end business solutions provider for mid-market companies, in 2005 she was well acquainted with the challenges and opportunities associated with building a new IT firm in Orange County. Milano co-founded, along with Karen Mills, the successful Axion Solutions, Inc. in 1997 from which Ki Solutions is a spin-off specializing in SAP business solutions. For Milano, who has over 25 years sales and management experience at large firms such as Oracle, Hewlett-Packard, DEC, Sybase and Hughes Aircraft, the choice to head-up her own business was largely a function of her professional goals.

“I had always worked for big companies, but I felt that I could make more of a difference and be more creative in leading my own company,” recalls Milano.

As a woman who has earned entrepreneurial success in the traditionally male-dominated tech sector, Milano is a recognized leader and role-model for professional women looking to establish successful careers in the IT and business consulting industries. Speaking to OC Register columnist Colin Stewart, Milano notes that, “I was always in a pioneering role. I went to all male meetings and never paid attention to it.” When asked about her success as an entrepreneur today, she firmly believes that gender is a non-factor, “If you go out there and perform, you will be successful.” To that end, she emphasizes long-hours, commitment to client and supplier relationship building and the top-down prioritization of tasks as principal factors that have enabled her to build Ki Solutions into a successful business.

Entrepreneurial Challenges and Insights

Although experienced in starting and leading companies, Milano did not find the process of building Ki Solutions’ business to be an easy task. As a self-funded start-up, Ki Solutions suffered from early cash-flow issues that prevented Milano and her management team from acquiring many of the support personnel that were available to her more established competitors. At first, Milano and her business partners had to work long hours filling-in the administrative and marketing personnel gaps while also conducting their core, front-line business consulting.

“I was able to overcome these initial challenges through putting in a lot of hours and working to prioritize tasks.”

Always a challenge in a fast-paced, growing company, Milano believes “it is extremely important to the success of the company to concentrate more on working on the business than in the business.” She believes that having a solid vision and building a strategic plan are essential to achieving entrepreneurial success.

Ki Solutions Today and Tomorrow

Ki Solutions has emerged as a tier one SAP software provider and Certified Channel Partner offering SAP All-in-One solutions to midsize firms all over the US in a variety of specialized industries including wholesale distribution, life sciences, and consumer products. The focus on these specialized industries is one of two core Ki Solutions innovations developed to help the company better compete against its multinational rivals. The other innovation being a proprietary methodology that streamlines business processes resulting in lowered customer costs and reduced implementation times.

Milano first steered Ki Solutions from local start-up to a US player and now has her eyes set on the global marketplace. Poised to become an international provider of SAP business solutions and consulting services, Idhasoft bought into the company in 2008 retaining Milano’s leadership.

“A global offering is required in this [IT and business consulting] industry. We wanted to be able to grow the business, so we decided to sell,” recounts Milano.

Still eager to take on new entrepreneurial challenges, Milano stands ready to be part of the senior management team of Idhasoft as they continue to build their global SAP practice.

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