Thorben: The Interface between IT and Integrator

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Katrina Koomey, President & CEO
Across the board, large scale government organizations, especially in the military and defense sectors, face a common challenge. Many departments within their outfit are in dire need of transforming their digital infrastructure. So, how to begin? Many start by seeking an IT systems integrator that best suits their needs, which in itself is a complex and time-consuming ordeal. After this, most integrators draw up a plan and ask the officials to sign the contract for final approval. Due to their lack of knowledge on the technicalities in the matter, Agencies are at the mercy of the IT systems integrators to get what they need within scope, on budget and on schedule.

There are real-life challenges that agencies can only solve with IT. There are engineering solutions that can solve those problems but require someone with an understanding of both the need and the technology to implement the IT solution.

Thorben acts as the bridge between these two worlds, offering advisory services to governmental agencies and acting as their liaison with the integrators. The company is a 100 percent woman-owned small business that delivers enterprise solutions for growing businesses and provides trusted technology professionals for SAP and other enterprise system integration planning, design, implementation, and maintenance projects. The company was founded in 2004 by Katrina Koomey, who worked as Consultant and IT Architect at Price Water Coopers and later at IBM. As an electrical engineer by trade, Katrina had worked on a variety of large commercial and federal ERP projects during her tenure as a consultant. In that time, she discovered that in many ways, the consulting practice operators made projects more monotonous and provided less scope for innovative ideas. This motivated her to start Thorben.

The company soon received its first project, an IT solution for the United States Department of the Interior, which would become their Financial Business Management System (FBMS). FBMS was the first agency-wide ERP system implemented in the US federal government. At the beginning, the solution focused on the enterprise architecture, revising the old way with 80-90 odd systems to one where one system would manage most of the transactions from the whole agency. As an enterprise architect, Katrina understood how valuable it was to have people who understand how everything connects, and soon, Katrina became a trusted advisor to the government.

Her role developed to help the government in all things pertaining to their IT transformation projects. So now, when the integrator gives a recommendation, Thorben would do an analysis to check if the recommendation is reasonable, practical and if there are more affordable alternatives available. The role of Thorben and the value they provided was quite an innovative change in how the government managed large projects. Thorben would be the trusted technology advisor who would ensure that the project keeps costs in line. And if there was an outrageous quote from the integrator, then the Thorben team would get more hands-on and handle the technology work with the integrator and the government agency, to break down the cause for the pricing and find a more cost effective solution.

The Nexus of IT Transformation

At heart, Thorben specializes in ERP strategic planning, project management, and technical expertise. Thorben delivers proven solutions for managing the technology and processes that support business operations. These solutions are designed to help clients overcome the prevalent challenges in the landscape, including bottlenecks in cloud migration. According to Katrina, customers often find it difficult to strategize their cloud contracts because they lack a deep understanding of multiple aspects of the cloud. “Customers usually buy into the big idea that cloud migration will save money and expand opportunities, but they are unable to properly execute and implement it,” she says. While costs for big projects are similar, Thorben focuses on maximizing benefits realized by their clients.

The Thorben approach is unique. As a people-centric company, it gives utmost priority to listening to and understanding the client’s culture and challenges.
Thorben deeply analyzes the clients’ enterprise architecture and vision towards achieving excellence and devises the technical plan that suits their business needs, budget, and timeline. Thorben’s comprehensive ERP and Operations services that encompass cloud strategy, architecture strategy, infrastructure strategy, HANA & S4 strategy, and on-demand CTO, helps clients “tame the cloud.” The company helps a client better understand the cloud and helps them devise their business plans with a focus on maximizing the value provided by the technical solution. With experts who have garnered more than two decades' worth of experience in working within the SAP realm, the firm banks upon its experts to understand the client's SAP roadmap and help them to plan their SAP HANA and 4HANA adoption strategically.

Customers usually buy into the big idea that cloud migration will save money and expand opportunities, but they are unable to properly execute and implement it

Powered by Innovation, Driven by People

Today, the Thorben team consists of highly experienced people, who in the past have worked on large ERP projects and multiple large system implementations. “One of the challenges with using the larger integrators is that very often they may have people that are experienced, but who've never been involved with a large project. Thorben’s attractiveness is our experienced people who have been through multiple large-scale project implementations.” Thorben thus becomes the interface between the client and the integrator via the protection of experienced and talented engineers.

In short, Thorben coordinates the business processes and provides informed recommendations regarding program performance, quality, schedule, cost, and risk involved. The company efficiently transforms business by optimizing the client’s opportunities in the cloud through trusted processes and simultaneously drives the ROI. Stressing more on the efficacy of its standard solutions, Katrina cites their collaboration with the Department of the Interior. Thorben first developed an ERP system from scratch in their on-premise data centers 15 years ago. Ever since then, Thorben has provided architecture support for their ERP system, upgrading, transforming, and re-platforming it whenever needed. As a result, the client has witnessed a significant improvement in cost management and achieved superior system performance. To further enhance their workflow, Thorben led technical efforts to migrate their system to the cloud. This has not only enabled them to improve their financial flexibility, but facilitated seamless management of their ERP system.

As the government is making a move to the cloud, it is inevitable that almost every project is heading there. Thorben is growing their team and their opportunities, to support these bigger interoperable, integrated systems. Thorben is looking to support these cloud implementations for the Department of Defense and other government agencies. The company’s particular field of interest in the cloud space is on AWS, Microsoft Azure, and the Google Cloud Program (GCP). In fact, Thorben has become a Google Cloud partner and is working on training a dozen interns and team members for Google cloud engineer certification.

This is but one of the successful collaborations that have pushed the sails of Thorben on its voyage of excellence and innovation. With the strong record of being a "trusted technology expert" and bolstered by the ingenuity of its solutions, the firm aims to grow significantly in the cloud space. Thorben looks forward to expanding itself beyond AWS. "We want to move into Google in the future. We look forward to being a cloud service provider with their services," concludes Katrina.


Katrina Koomey, President & CEO and Arlington, VA

Thorben is a 100 percent woman-owned business that delivers Cloud services, ERP services, and Technical Consulting services for growing organizations and enterprises. Thorben strives hard to help its clients achieve their goals and thereby provides them innovative solutions implemented in a responsible manner. The company banks upon a passionate team that works towards adding value to a customer’s organization, and has supported numerous commercial and US government clients.