What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
We had a time period where we had an external graphic design shop that we were sourcing to along with VTRiO. Over the course of the last couple of years and in relation to graphic design, we’ve decreased our cost of goods sold by 50%. We’ve been able to decrease our cost of goods while simultaneously increasing the amount of what we can deliver and push back into our client base.
They’re part of the extended team, which allows us to operate 24 hours a day. It expands our ability to deliver on time, serve our clients, and provide a really high-quality product. Also, having a team we can collaborate and try different things with means we can go to them and say something isn’t working, and they have no problem starting over. It makes for a much more seamless project experience. When we look at our project schedule and ask ourselves where the milestones are that we have high confidence we’re going to hit, it’s with VTRiO. We know we can trust them to deliver.
How did VTRiO perform from a project management standpoint?
They’re flexible and extremely fast. We can talk to them directly. Most of the work is done through Basecamp. We have main contacts who we can talk to on Skype in real time, even during early morning or late at night. We also use email.
I’ve always liked that I’m able to direct and actually have a dialogue with them about the project, what the desired outcomes are, and work with them as regular colleagues or teammates. It’s very different from offshoring and sending stuff to people we don’t know. I know and have a really nice rapport with the people at VTRiO, which makes all the difference when working in a global environment.
Since we’re fulfilling work for end clients, we ask VTRiO to fill out timesheets for not only themselves, but also so we can break it down to create bill-back codes. It’s very important to us that they keep accurate time and document which client it goes to. Their capability to keep up with this requirement is fantastic for an outsourced partner.
What did you find most impressive about them?
Vinu’s [Owner, VTRiO] English is impeccable. He comes over to the U.S. 1–2 times per year to visit his clients. When we need to expand, we inform him, and he tells us we need to give him some lead time. He has to go through his process to hire quality people and make sure that their employees have vacation time since they have set holidays. They’re a very well-run organization, and it provides us with security to know that. So many organizations don’t know how to outsource. If people looked more at the positives, they’d get on board quickly. It’s impossible to argue with the numbers. They’re great at production.
Are there any areas they could improve?
There is a significant time difference. Many outsourced companies will work on U.S. time, but VTRiO doesn’t. That’s part of their creating a professional firm and allowing their employees to have regular lives. It does make it difficult because we have very little crossover, and we either have to ask the U.S. staff to be online at 11:00 at night or at 7:00 in the morning. It is something to take into consideration depending on the flexibility of the staff.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
Clients have to be open and unassuming. VRTiO is coming from a completely different worldview, and it’s a great opportunity to learn about different cultures. They’ll do anything as long as they’re asked. It’s all about getting to know how to work well in remote teams. Otherwise, it can lead to a lot of frustration. It’s important for clients to understand that they run their office differently. They have a time during the afternoon that they go for meals, and it’s important to not get annoyed that they don’t follow U.S. labor hours. After getting a working relationship going, it’s great.
There’s a trust factor there that many U.S. clients will appreciate. The idea of outsourcing is very complicated for many organizations, and it’s something I face every time I bring them in to work with a new one. I have to break down the barrier with a finance accounting person about what it means for our taxes, how we’re going to pay them, and whether or not we’re taking U.S. jobs away. We have to go through all of these very pedantic issues to finally get to the realization that VTRiO is a professional firm. Their people are experienced, accomplished, and smart.
People sometimes get frustrated because they want an outsourced engagement where they can just put in an order and get something back. VTRiO wants to have a relationship with their clients. This is an organization that wants to have the capability to ask their clients questions for clarity, and I appreciate that. They aren’t a good fit for clients who want a distance online ordering process.