BUSINESS ON THE MOVE
Realizing process, Technology and people efficiency in business of any size -by Paul Robinson
It’s a long way from the mines of Mount Isa to running a company with a global reach, but it’s a journey Valenta managing director Jayesh Kasim has made in record time and he shows no signs of slowing down.
In a relatively short time frame, Valenta has positioned itself as a global organization that is the answer to every SME’s prayers.
Specializing initially in outsourcing consulting, the company rapidly realized it had the expertise to supply both business process and technology advice that would complement the outsourcing component. Streamlining its clients’ businesses and resulting in impressive cost and operational efficiencies. Business is booming and Valenta has offices and Asia, North America and Europe, with a core team of 200 staff growing by an average of 10 people every month
And now Valenta has decided to expand its successful business model into the franchising sector – in Australia, the UK and the US.
To hear Managing Director Jayesh Kasim tell the story, his company’s rapid growth almost happened by accident. After Finishing university in Adelaide, like many at the time, he had responded to the West Australian mining boom and was working as an engineer. Keen to get out of the mines, and wanting his own business, he started a financial services/mortgage operation in Mount Isa. One thing led to another.
“We discovered we had a lot of back-office work to do, but we wanted the people we had employed locally to be looking after customers – bringing in new clients and developing the business,” recalls Jayesh.
“We thought, why not get this (back office) work done offshore? So we set up an office in India and that’s how it all started.” Over the next few years, Valenta expanded its team, establishing more sales offices and delivery centres in India, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Brisbane. ” we wouldn’t have been able to grow the business quickly any other way.” Says Jayesh, “given the costs.”
In 2014, Valenta decided it had outgrown its original business model. “We took the BPO (business process outsourcing) operation to the open market and began working with other companies in Australia, then in the UK and US,” says Jayesh.
“Then we expanded our services to include the process and technology consulting solutions because we realized it was a logical fit. A lot of businesses struggle because they don’t have the right CRM (customer relationship management) system in place, and it doesn’t matter what you do with the processes – if you’re not using the right software, it’s not going to work.”
“For whatever reason, businesses often face challenges finding the right staff or enough staff. We find the people, train and manage them, and take the HR headache out of it,”
There are three key parts to the Valenta business model. The major component is outsourcing. “For whatever reason, businesses often face challenges finding the right staff or enough staff. We find the people, train and manage them, and take the HR headache out of it,” says Jayesh. “once we understand what a business needs, we can supply it. There’s an immediate cost-benefit and once they see how well it works they often take on more resources.”
Process consulting is the second string to Valenta’s bow. “For the outsourcing to work smoothly, a business has to have its processes sorted out,” says Jayesh. “We work with them to evaluate their current process and make sure it’s efficient for their business – it’s got to be seamless.”
Which flows to the third part of the Valenta equation. “We have our own “nuclear” CRM, so we can design all their workflow to fit within their system, automate reports and so on,” he adds.
The way Jayesh tells it, Valenta’s process and technology consultations run with the smoothness of a well-oiled machine.
“We spend between two and five days with the business observing everything, then we identify process items that need work at the end of that period. We go away, work on the designs and make it happen. Full implementation can take anything up to 12 months, but we will project manage the transition for them to make sure everyone is on the same page.”
Valenta’s operation initially targeted SMEs because smaller organizations are usually able to make quicker decisions, but as Jayesh says, “We can work with businesses of any size, big or small. Every business has its challenges and we can assist all of them.”
He says most businesses seldom have 100per cent effective processes, they’re not using the technology that’s right for them and they have staff who are over-extended and unable to deliver the appropriate level of customer service. Valenta’s trump card is it will take care of all these nagging problems while the company looks after new business and servicing existing clients.
Cross-selling is an important part of the Valenta model. “These services all complement each other, so it has become part of our marketing strategy,” says Jayesh.
“One of the first things we do with a new client is to conduct a complimentary audit of their systems and it’s amazing what we see. They might have a great business, but they don’t have a very good website for example. These are things we can easily value-add for them.”
Jayesh says many businesses are unaware of the benefits of outsourcing for example or have heard negative reports and are reluctant to give it a go.
“Businesses can see improvement and cost savings within six to eight weeks,” he says. “With business processes and technology, it takes a bit longer, but after 12 months or so, we can deliver major improvements in quality and turnaround, for example.”
The next step in Valenta’s march to success will be its franchising operation, which was launched in Australia in June. Eventually, Jayesh aims to have around 100franchisee business owners in Australia.
“We’re absolutely committed to developing the franchise model. We realized if the business works well for us, it will also work well for the right franchisee and it will be the best way for us to expand our distribution,” says Jayesh.
The idea is that the franchisee identifies a business opportunity for Valenta and is paid a percentage of the billing amount.
“The product or service is delivered by the franchisor,” says Jayesh. “It’s all about the franchisee going out and finding the opportunity and we will take care of the rest.”
His ideal Franchisees will be people with business experience and a corporate network of their own. “Some of them will be retired CFOs and CEOs who are now ready to set up a business for themselves. There will be mums returning to the workforce after having children, and BDMs (business development managers) with experience in corporate affairs. They don’t have to have our skillsets as we will deliver the resources and services, but they must have good communication, sales and relationship-building skills.”
“The Valenta’s march to success will be its franchising operation, which was launched in Australia in June. Eventually, Jayesh aims to have around 100 franchise business owners in Australia.”
The following launch here in Australia, the franchise model will also be launched in the US later this year and in the UK in the first quarter of 2019.
To the casual observer, it may seem like Jayesh has an awful lot on his plate – that with all the varied components of the business. Unsurprisingly, Jayesh doesn’t see it that way.
“I have oversight of the company, but we have different departments throughout the business, with different people with different expertise responsible for them,” he says. “We have our accounts team, our IT team and so on. It’s important for any business to have the right people in the right positions, and that’s what we aim to do. We know this business works and we know what we can deliver. We know our processes work because we use them every day ourselves. And many of our contracts are now coming from referrals from previous customers who are very happy with what we have done for them. So, we know what we are providing is working. It’s win-win all around.”