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Nurturing Value and Innovation with the Extended Team Model

Pankaj Kundwani
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Pankaj Kundwani
Globalization has become a widespread and significant practice across a multitude of industries. In this flow, technology and software development companies have seen a prominent expansion globally, with a vast number of activities to manage in the midst of cut-through competition. There is a growing trend where software teams are distributed around the world, collaborating internally and externally with partner companies, subsidiaries and outsourcing service providers. Although outsourcing helps companies to focus on their core businesses, they are very cautious on trusting software development and outsourcing service providers on quality, time to market, costs and other factors. To gain the trust of clients and to help them remain ahead in the crowd, organizations are seeking new ways to work together by effectively connecting people, processes and technology. Having embodied this idea in its core is a unique company, ValueLabs. At the helm of this innovation is ArjunRao, CEO, ValueLabs, who has adopted a more collaborative approach, moving from typical offshore outsourcing towards a long-term partnership; going beyond client-vendor concepts with an Extended Team Model (ETM).

ValueLabs was started with just three employees operating from a dining table in a tiny apartment, in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad. However the trio had a clear philosophy. "We believed that helping others achieve their goals would bring the organization closer to its own goal," reminisces Rao. This is how the company's vision to help clients unlock the true potential of global delivery by building world class extended teams was propounded. It is this thirst to aid clients in winning that has won ValueLabs over 150 satisfied customers.

With a 3000 strong workforce spread across 12 global offices, the company addresses the changing needs of clients in a highly diverse techno-centric world, and specializes in offering technology/process consulting, software product development, QA / testing, Remote Infrastructure Management (RIM) and Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) services to start-ups, mid-sized and multi-billion Dollar companies worldwide.

ETM: A Winning Model for Clients and Employees Alike
Outsourcing is no longer just about shifting the burden of finishing a task to the service provider. Clients are often inquisitive about the work progress and demand service deliveries within the stipulated time frame and quality standards. Their specifications come as a result of their concerns regarding the quality, time to market, competition, loss of opportunity, accurate decision making, rising costs, and reduced technology life cycle. To ease their angst it is important to harbor understanding, partnering and expanding the business effectively together with the service provider. This is where the ETM comes in. "Through our extended team model of engagement, clients get the best of a captive center and an outsourced relationship. ETM helps clients to be allied to the outsourcing activity, where they influence the composition of the team, participate in the building of the team, set the operational agenda, play a part in attrition management, have complete visibility into the work progress and establish a personal rapport with every member of the team. This provides them a clear competitive advantage beyond traditional cost efficiencies" explains Ram Manjeri, SVP Sales & Marketing. He has been with the company for a decade, and seen it grow over ten-fold in that time.

The ETM is not only beneficial for clients but also provides employees at ValueLabs the best of a "small company environment" and a "large company stability". When they are within their team, they have direct access to the senior members of the client and get visibility into the client's roadmap. They can build a personal rapport with the client who has full visibility into their work. An employee's individual work directly impacts the client's business, which brings them appreciation from the client and they have full scope for innovation. When they step outside the team, they are part of a large company (ValueLabs). They have the infrastructure, the growth opportunities, the facilities (including extensive training) and the branding associated with any established company. ValueLabs makes sure that there is minimal hierarchy in the company and employees are not reduced to an ID number. It provides the employees the best of both worlds. Recognized among the 50 "Best Companies to Work for" in India, by 'The Great Place to Work Institute' in 2009, the company makes best efforts to make available the required infrastructure, growth opportunities, facilities, training, branding and so on to ensure continuous learning and development of the employees. Attrition at ValueLabs has been in the single digits (percentage) for 15 out of the 16 years that it has been in existence; far below industry averages.

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