25 Glorious Years Journey
– A quick recap by Mr. R. Venkatakrishnan, Director
The genesis of Value Added goes back to the 1991, when I was still in service and was evaluating a lot of financial proposals. Most often the data that used to come for the evaluation was so incomplete that I used to always remark that “people are just being postman in sending data to the financial companies for evaluation”. So when the decision had been made that I would want to start something on my own, I wanted to do something different and I thought the way to distinguish oneself from the rest of the crowd was to make a value addition to the process. Though the name “Value Added” had not come up in my mind at that particular point of time, this gnawing need was always at the top of my mind. The actual decision was strangely made, when I was reading a book on Financial Management and I found that there was a discussion on Value Added! That immediately caught my fancy and it was an eureka moment. Within a couple of hours I had asked one of my friend, who was to partner me in the venture, Anil Nair, to register the name “Value Added Financial Services”.
It’s so happened that both of us liked it, because Value Added also stood for our initials Venkat and Anil. Strange as it may sound, it was a very small trigger but has made a big impact over the last 27 years.
How did we get into Process & Quality Management Systems Consulting?
The initial focus, as the name has signified, was intended to offer only Financial Services. What happened was that we had received number of proposals either for expansion of business or for additional working capital facilities & an analysis of the balance sheets revealed that either the existing capacities were poorly utilized or the existing working capital were already very high.
It was then that we realized that the problem was elsewhere and we found that more often and not, it was the absence of a well-defined systems & processes which were the root cause for most problems.
That was the genesis of again another twist to the Value Added story. It was around that time that the world was moving towards the Quality Management Systems with the greater popularity in the business of the ISO 9001.
I felt that it was a good idea to understand what the systems and processes were and it was then I realized that it was up our sleeves to get into the Quality Management Systems, Processes, which would help organisations in a more sustainable way in establishing protocols that would help them to achieve greater heights or achieve their true potential.
To think of it in retrospect, I was always keen, that the journey was never intended nor was I never happy doing it alone and I was quite sure that I would create a team and institutionalize the process with a lot of energy, so that the core belief of value addition is never lost.
I was quite lucky to have got a bunch of youngsters who withstood the pressures and the constant demands that were made up on them and it was that youthful group that helped me to pivot from one service to another which would help to remain contemporary in the process.
To that end, Value Added has always been “Start-up” in the truest sense of the term as we were constantly looking for new solutions and were ever willing to pivot. Such was the agility in the system that was built in Value Added.
When we had moved into offering Quality Management services and Strategic Advisory services to a lot of corporates, the continued use of the corporate name Value Added Financial Services was creating a bit of a confusion. Many corporates initially found it difficult that we could offer a whole gamut of corporate services when the name indicated that we were restricted to Financial Services. That prompted us to revisit our corporate positioning and to do that we had to change the name of the company from Financial Services to Corporate Services
When these changes were taking place, in terms of quality management services and other corporate advisory, we realised very early in the game that to survive and to make a difference to the clients it was critical to have a cross functional team comprising of domain experts from various functional roles to be part of the exercise. We also realized very early in the game that it would not be possible, considering the dynamic needs of the client requirements, to have all the functional experts within the company.
It was here that we pioneered, even in those early days, to network and collaborate with other like-minded professionals who would come on board on specific projects or on areas within specific projects to address the various facets that were required. This approach endeared us with the customers because we were increasingly been seen as very transparent and they also felt that we were capable of doing what was best for their businesses and we always gave the best of efforts.
Our upfront disclosure to most of them that these were external consultants, brought a fair degree of trust in the process because we were very extremely transparent in our approach and the way we dealt with projects. Value Added had by then earned the confidence of the clients for our transparent dealings with integrity where we always put the client’s interest first.
Our biggest strength has been our constant desire to offer contemporary services to our clients with the help of our collaborative consultants and therefore the ability to constantly “unlearn and relearn” over the years. This has been the biggest differentiator in our whole exercise.
What was the most impressive part was the fact that even employees who had moved on to newer opportunities continued to come back to the organisation, share with us the current industry thought process and learnings and take back what our thought processes were. That was a continuous process of learning not only for us but for our ex-employees too, who felt indebted to the company for its ability to constantly give them a different thought process.
Future Consulting Focus
The next move evidently will be to anchor ourselves around the intense and immense business knowledge that we have acquired in various sectors especially healthcare and use the collective knowledge of the company, the clients and the collaborative partners to ensure that we are in a position to offer a wide range of services across geographies using contemporary technology especially “Digital”, to facilitate the transfer of knowledge at an extremely cost effective means.