When Alessandra Lezama took over as CEO of AbacusNext in 2013, the family-owned company had been around for three decades, and it offered a single product – case management and billing software for legal firms.
Fast forward to 2018, and many observers might not even recognize the company as it has grown to encompass a full suite of cloud-based software for multiple professions, including legal, accounting, finance, banking, insurance and the public sector.
Over the past five years, the company has grown from fewer than 30 employees to 472 (281 in San Diego), from $5 million in annual revenue to $80 million, and from a single location in San Diego to six offices in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. AbacusNext just moved into a new 65,000-square-foot headquarters in UTC, and its nine data centers allow it to provide services to some 1.2 million clients worldwide, Lezama said.
On June 7, in recognition of her work in growing AbacusNext from a hometown company to a global force, Lezama was named Most Admired CEO at an event held by the San Diego Business Journal.
“I was extremely humbled to be recognized among a group of such high-caliber individuals,” said Lezama, who has been in San Diego for two decades, and served as CEO at three companies before joining AbacusNext – Sunfood, SanDiego.com and American Internet Services.
Marco Ferarri, chairman of the AbacusNext board, said, “With her pioneering vision and leadership, Alessandra completely reengineered AbacusNext, taking them from a niche software developer focused on the legal profession, to a global technology leader that’s disrupting the cloud computing industry.”
Lezama credits the company’s employees for the rapid rise of AbacusNext.
“I’ve always said extraordinary companies are nothing more than the extraordinary people who come to work every day,” she said. “We are group of tech specialists, who truly believe that technology will continue to change the world and how businesses move into the future and succeed. The caliber and quality of people who work for AbacusNext is the No. 1 factor that contributes to our success.”
When she arrived at AbacusNext, Lezama said, she saw an opportunity to expand the company’s services, both in terms of software offered for various specialties in the legal profession, and for practitioners of a number of types of professional services.
Early Cloud Adopter
Those professionals, she said, run small businesses and don’t have the expertise or financial means to build their own cloud-based platforms. In addition, she said, they are vulnerable to cyber crime. The software suite provided by AbacusNext, she said, handles all of their computing needs in one package, with a single sign-on, including the latest security measures.
“We recognized that problem and came up with our service, technology-as-a-service, which allows them to adopt cloud technology at a cost they can afford,” she said. “They are able to outsource the technology burden to professionals who do this for a living.”
The software offered to clients, she said, includes case management, billing, time tracking, accounting, trust accounting, document management and assembly, payment processing and customer relations, among others.
“We make it easy and affordable. We have subject matter experts who speak their language and understand their work flow. That’s of great value to them,” she said.