Outsourcing vs. Impact Sourcing

Published by Marshall Smith, CIPM, Managing Director - General Manager, Products
February 3rd, 2015

India_CaptureA team of six First Raters just returned from a short trip to Hyderabad, India. Ok, not so short. Twenty hours of flying allows one to:
1. Watch a lot of movies
2. Catch up on some much needed reading
3. Clean out that pesky email inbox

I digress. If you are not aware, First Rate has an office in Hyderabad, India with a dozen team members. The office started in 2013 supporting our Managed Hosting and Service Bureau business lines and has grown from a single person to 12 in less than two years. That is 1,200% growth! While many firms “outsource” work to India to lower their cost of delivering their product or service, First Rate has a very different motivation for opening an office in India. If you know anything about our firm’s unique culture and values, attended a First Rate Performance Conference or been a client for any period of time you know we are serious about our mission to make an impact in our local, national and international community.

For those that are not familiar, an example is our upcoming Conference March 30-31 which will be held in San Diego. The weekend before, we have invited our clients to join a team of employees who will be building a home in two days in Tijuana, Mexico for a family in poverty. First Rate has built more than 30 homes in Tijuana and now 3 homes in San Juan, Costa Rica through Youth With A Mission (YWAM). To see more about what makes our firm’s culture of giving and service unique, visit First Rate Living or our blog posts on our core values.

Our mission is also accomplished by growing a team in Hyderabad. Our primary goal in opening the office was two-fold, (1) enhance the value we bring to our customers and (2) make an impact in the community of Hyderabad.

We are enhancing the value of our services by creating truly 24X7 operating model. Our team in Hyderabad monitors our server environment, nightly loads and performs processing and support related tasks while our team in the US is asleep. Meanwhile, in the First Rate offices in the USA, we haven’t reduced our workforce at all, in fact we have grown it! The reality is that our clients expect us to be vigilant and work around the clock making sure they can access accurate and up to date information on their client portfolios. The combination of a growing team in the US and abroad makes this a reality.

Secondly, we wanted to make an impact in Hyderabad. According to the World Bank, 400 million people or 32% of the Indian population lives on less than $1.25 a day. According to UNICEF, there are more than 31 million orphans in India. That would be the second largest state in the United States. In light of these facts and because the people of India are hard-working, intelligent and service oriented people, we determined to make an impact.

One way we are making an impact is by providing employment opportunities for a skilled workforce that dreams of providing for their family through their work. In addition, we have formed partnerships with homes for children to invest in lives that matter. We are also investing time to coach and train local entrepreneurs to create new businesses that can make an impact. We have created a program called the India Experience Week where First Rate employees travel to our India office to train the team and volunteer in the community. I just returned from a 10 day trip along with 5 others from First Rate and to say the trip was life changing would be an understatement. In 2015 we expect 20 employees to participate in the India Experience week.

First Rate believes that providing industry leading wealth management technology and services and making an impact in our communities go hand and in hand. At the core of both is stewardship. Stewardship of our clients data, trust and services as well as our community. The principle of stewardship is at the heart of our business in India and why we decided to invest by impact sourcing.

Want to check it out for yourself in person as a client or just an interested outsider? Reach out to my contact information below and we will try to make that happen. In the meantime, be on the lookout for more blogs detailing the India Experience week trips.

About the Author: Marshall Smith CIPM, Managing Director of Service Bureau, has been with First Rate since 2006. In this role he oversees Service Bureau, the business line responsible for clients that outsource their performance processing function, develops and maintains client relationships, and develops strategic planning for all Service Bureau operations. In addition, he leads First Rate’s Marketing team. You can follow Marshall on Twitter @1stRateMarshall, or connect via LinkedIn.

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