31 Parallel: providing reasonable and quality outsourcing services
The Indian BPO industry has seen a great boom since the advent of Neo-liberal policies and outsourcing. The burgeoning outsourcing sector gets attribution because of the immense reasonably priced talent pool present in our country, and this trend is likely to stay the course. In order to tap such opportunities, 31 Parallel was started by two brothers Karan and Vivek on April 7th, 2014 in Shimla with four associates. 31 Parallel is named after the 31°N latitude that passes through the firm’s office in Shimla. The company was started to provide employment opportunities to the locals and those professionals returning or wanting to come from out of the state. Since the inception, it has grown immensely in the BPM/outsourcing space with a current workforce running into hundreds of employees and has significant presence in the Rural/Tier II/Tier III BPO space. The level of education is extremely high in Himachal, so there is an abundance of able resources waiting to be employed and trained. The company’s aim is to create a highly rewarding partnership between the inhabitants of India’s remote highlands with businesses from around the world.
What has been the secret behind this BPO’s prosperous voyage? The answer lies within the mind, spirit and vision of the two brothers, Karan Pal Singh Chauhan and Vivek Parmar. Karan, a graduate from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University. He has received his Bachelor’s in Law from Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi and a Master’s in Law from the UK. He is one of the co-founders of 31 Parallel, and currently heads the company’s Recruitment and Finance divisions. Karan is the face of the firm, he is front and center with all client interactions and leads the company’s marketing, sales, and business development initiatives. Karan’s experience before 31 Parallel was in corporate law. He has worked with India’s premier law such as Amarchand Mangaldas, and Remfry & Sagar, for over a decade.
Vivek is a management post-graduate from ICFAI University. He is a co-founder of 31 Parallel and is heading it’s Outsourcing Operations, Training, and Quality division. He provides thought leadership and drives knowledge management. Vivek is a Six Sigma Black Belt and before co-founding he worked with one of the largest Indian BPOs, EXL Service from 2001 till 2012. In this period, he operated in myriad roles like Operations, Process Excellence, Transformation, Migrations, and Special Projects. He also spent seven years in a client-facing role in the USA and the UK for EXL’s transformation business. In 2013, he served as a Principal Consultant with People Trust and was involved in training and recruitments for the Indian BPO industry.
Karan and Vivek interacted with the editorial team over a host of issues in line with the brand’s journey. Here are the edited excerpts.
How has the organization maintained its momentum?
To maintain the momentum we have tried Retention, and growth of existing businesses through sustained performance. We have added new businesses through references in the industry and employed a concentrated business development effort. We are creating a niche in the travel industry by gaining experience in servicing multiple industry giants.
Kindly brief us about the technology deployed by your firm in the industry?
IT/Telecom players caught the straw and supported us when we were a mere handful. Now we are one of the most reliable and extensive IT/Telecom infrastructures in the state with the help of our technology partners. We utilize different big companies for primary and backup bandwidth and telecom needs. We recently partnered up with a major CMS player for calling and dialer capabilities. We use industry recommended tools like servers, firewalls, and software for data security.
What are the values and factors that you attribute your success to?
“Our team believes that we are all in this together. This belief tantamounts to a sense of shared responsibility throughout the organization. The success of this enterprise depends upon imbibing the overall vision and working towards it.
We hire “Local Talent for Global Processes” – For high-quality outputs, the capability of the workforce enhances through on-going orientations and training programs.
What kind of services and solutions does your company provide that makes you stand out from the competitors?
We provide voice (inbound and outbound), chat-based, and e-mail services for sales, Post sales, Customer care, and Mortgage. Back office services for Finance and Accounting, Data Management and Sanitization. We endeavour to provide high-quality outputs like 6 Sigma and Lean at low cost leveraging an absolute blend of skilled resources and global corporate experience. Our team is armed with strong communication skills, management staff’s years of joint experience, and competitive pricing.
How do you work on your long-term relationship with your clients?
We maintain long-term relations by meeting, exceeding metrics, and understanding the business requirements of the clients and maintaining transparent operation and due review process.
What challenges do you see in the market?
It is always easier to pitch services that deliver more while being cost effective on another side. Challenges we face is finding chasms in the market. It seems clear there is a market for the services that 31 Parallel provides. We are exploring ways to expand our reach and identify more prospects.
What are your views on what an organization must look like today to compete?
An organization does not exist in a vacuum. The members must be Focused, and have collaborative approach along with a willingness to understand the client business requirements and adapting strategies to it.
Brief us about the milestones and awards earned by the organization.
Though in this journey we have only travelled four years, still we have crossed a few milestones:
- We were able to increase employment opportunity and train from a mere 4 to hundreds of youth who have gone through our doors in four years with 40% of that workforce being women
- Retention, grooming and growth of local resources to supervisor levels
- Servicing some of the largest names in Travel Industry and creating a niche
- A leading Business magazine published from Kolkata nominated 31 Parallel as one of the ’10 Best BPO Start-ups – 2016’ in India
- A leading business magazine published from New Delhi listed 31 Parallel as an organization that ‘instills a new wave of transformation in the panorama of BPO services in India’ in Nov 2017
- A leading business and technology magazine published from Bangalore and Chennai featured 31 Parallel in April 2018
- Various national dailies such as The Indian Express and The Tribune covered 31 Parallel
- 31 Parallel was awarded the STPI Award 2018 for ‘Best Performer in Incubation’ at TiECon-2018 held in Mohali in February 2018.
The Road Ahead?
The firm’s management anticipates of becoming a larger organization interms of numbers and revenue in the next two years dealing with more complex and high-end work with a niche in online Travel and Education and Financial services space. For Post-2019, we are planning to expand to other district headquarters of Himachal. We are also in conversation with the State Government to collaborate in a CSR initiative to curb certain menaces affecting the local populace. We are increasing investment in the development of technology products for the benefits of our clients.
How has been your journey as a leader?
It has been a rewarding and fulfilling journey. There is much to learn and teach. It is extremely delightful to us to see raw talent transforming into thorough professionals. In order to provide solutions, every problem must be taken as a challenge and solve it by having a collaborative approach. It allows for out of the box thinking while at the same time imparts experience to the younger leaders.
A piece of advice for the young entrepreneurs…
To achieve success as an entrepreneur, one must allow for deviation in the path one takes towards in his/her end goal. Do not be rigid in your approach. Unexpected success – and yes, joy – is found through such situations.