Guest: Julio Endara
Presenter: Henry Acosta
Guest Bio: Julio Endara is an end to end solutions provider that can play executive and hands on roles mixing expertise in business, operations, change management and technology to deliver quality results to clients. He has gained extensive business and cultural exposure while carrying out work at a variety of industries and geographies, can lead teams varying from small to hundreds of staff and multi-million budgets. Julio is currently providing IT and business solutions from Volenday as well as performing as an independent consultant.
Segment overview: We are joined by Julio Endara the Managing Director, Business Development at Volenday. Volenday is an Outsourcing company focused on delivering high-quality and flexible solutions to solve the most pressing business needs of their clients. Through their capabilities, proactive ideals and holistic involvement, they empower their clients in strategically achieving their goals as well as sharpening their competitive edge in their respective fields. Volenday provides leading business solutions to clients primarily covering three areas: Recruitment, Staffing and IT Services (Software Development, Technical Support). The reach of their expertise encompass markets like that of the the United States, Philippines,
Address: Multinational Bancorp Center, 6805 Ayala Ave, Makati, 1226 Metro Manila
Contact: (LOCAL) (02) 263 5122
Transcript – Volenday
Henry Acosta: Hi, you are listening to the Outsourcing and Offshoring Philippines podcast with Henry Acosta. I’m Henry and our guest today is Julio Endara. Julio has been in the IT and management consulting game for a long time and he’s worked with different companies to help them grow in a small and a large scale. He has worked in Europe, the Americas and Asia. Currently, he is the Managing Director of Volenday. Volenday is an outsourcing company focused on delivering high-quality and flexible solutions to solve the most pressing business needs of their clients. With all that said, let’s welcome Julio. Thank you for coming on the show, it’s a pleasure to have you here.
Julio Endara: Hi, Henry. It’s my pleasure, thank you for giving me time.
Henry Acosta: Thank you for coming on the show. I know it’s been hectic, we really appreciate that.
Julio Endara: No worries, you know how it is.
Henry Acosta: I was just wondering. Since you’re not originally from the Philippines, where are you from?
Julio Endara: I was born in Chile in South America and then, I grew up in Spain. To make it more interesting or more difficult to explain, I went back to Chile and I did my university there and I started to work over there before I migrated again. In terms of nationalities, I am dual Chilean and Spanish.
Henry Acosta: Wow, that’s really cool. How did you end up finding the Philippines and working for Volenday?
Julio Endara: Good question, it was a long journey to get here. As I mentioned already, Chile and Spain are two places where I lived and worked. But I also spent quite a lot of time in the UK around 8 years. Over there, I was working for Accenture. As part of the job in consulting, you do travel a lot. I spent around a year in the U.S, another year in Australia and so on… a month here and month there, I’ve also worked in India and different parts of Europe, etc. At some point, it was about time to do something on my own. I’ve always been doing things kind of in parallel, but of course, with any exec job, you don’t have that much time to do your own thing. So it was always small things. But when the time came, I decided to do something, really give my time and soul to it. The idea that I had was to do report support to consumers in the U.S. Typical thing like “I have a virus”, “Who do I go to?” and you go to the website, and we remote into your computer and we fix it, that was the idea. And to do that, given the talent and skills needed, and the language, it was really only like two places, there is this India or the Philippines. Of course, there are other countries, but those are two major players. I decided for the Philippines for many good reasons. One is that I knew people here. I have friends here and I have a good friend which I partnered with to start what we started at that time. And also because of a cultural affinity. I came with my family, I had one daughter at the time, now I have two, and of course my wife. And the Philippines is much more near culturally to me than India.
Henry Acosta: Wow, that sounds amazing. You sound like you have an amazing story.
Julio Endara: I would like to think so, but I think it has interesting stories and a path right to get to where we are. Mine just involves a little bit of traveling around, but everybody has something to tell.
Henry Acosta: You’ve picked the Philippines over India just because of cultural affinity. What do you think makes it so good as a country for outsourcing?
Julio Endara: Well, there are several components. In terms of the culture there, because that’s the last one I mentioned before. You get the customer service and attitude which is very natural. I don’t know Henry if you are a Filipino or a foreigner and how long you’ve been here. But for foreigners, when you come here, you feel right away that they welcome you with a smile and the customers service attitude that I mentioned before, you get that right away, they have it, so you don’t have to work too much on that. That’s not the only thing, of course you have the English side, which, as you know, is not everywhere in the Philippines but the majority of people, I mean in a working environment, you will have the English. Not only in terms of the people you are working with, but also very importantly on the organizations, support and everything within the context in English that all government forms are in English. You can transact in English very easily which in other places you cannot. But of course, it have to be mentioned the value cost equation. That’s always important, although the previous years have been increasing the cost, lately in the past few years, but that’s normal and I think is welcomed. It is still very a good factor, to take into account. In terms of cultural affinity also for not just business but on the personal side, it’s much more Westernized than other places. When you come over, of course when you travel you want to have a little of adventure as well. You don’t want everything the same thing as your home country so you would be able to find a home that looks like when you spend as a home in the West, etc. Those are the things I would highlight. Sometimes seen as secondary, but it’s important and one that I would mention is the drive or the energy. The Philippines is an emerging country and there’s a lot going on, there’s a lot of growth. Wherever you look, there’s something happening and everybody is thinking about business here, business there, the buildings are popping at everywhere, people are energized… So yes, many factors.
Henry Acosta: Yes, that’s a very good perspective. Thank you for sharing that. As a foreigner living in the Philippines, what has been your biggest adjustment?
Julio Endara: That’s a good question. Let me mention a few. None of this is the biggest, I haven’t thought about them in that sense. One of them is, again, it is a developing country. While there’s excitement and things happening, but you have to have some patience. If you’re coming from countries where everything is already electronic, sometimes everything works like a clock which is not many countries anywhere in the world, let us not include assumptions there. But here things are still a little too slow. There are big attempts from government to try to make them easier, like incorporations to make them easier. But still they try, they make the effort, but it’s difficult to change the whole engine. That’s definitely some adjustment that you have to have and you have to be patient here. You will not go anywhere by trying to pressurize and to push it, that does not go well with the culture, that does not go well with the structure. You have to be patient, things take time, and that’s what it is. That would be one of them. The other one I would say is the cultural awareness, particularly in communication. There is a different way of communicating in Asia in general… I would not say the Philippines is 100% Asian, it has a lot of different influences. But in terms of communication, it has a big component of Asian culture and how to resolve conflicts for example. In the Western, we used to resolve conflict by solving a situation by almost confrontation. I would say this is black and you would say it is red and then we’ll try to figure out what was going on. But in Asia, it’s much more looking for the compromise and then the harmony in the conversation. You have to be more acute to cues on the conversation that you wouldn’t be in the West and that can be confusing. From my side, as a Spaniard or Latino, we’re kind of in the middle there. We’re not too aggressive on our conversation, but also we’re not looking for the consensus. But I think we do well, in terms of the standards but still it’s something that you have to adjust,
Henry Acosta: How long have you been living here?
Julio Endara: Actually, it’s already 8 years. It was 8 years in May, that was the month I arrived. It’s a long time and it goes so fast.
Henry Acosta: Other than the biggest adjustment, what were the things that surprised you with regards to the Philippines like as a good thing, like what surprised you? Or what was the welcome accident or shall I say happy accidents?
Julio Endara: As I said before, one of the things would be how Westernized it is. I wasn’t expecting it and again depending on your expectations. That maybe a disappointment… if you want the adventure on to have something very Asian then this is not it. But it was welcomed because it facilitate the things. I came with the specific objective to do business when I started … So really, as much as I’d like adventure from time to time I did not come over for that. I really appreciated that. In terms of, the language, we all know that in the Philippines, English is abundant and you can find people that speak the language. But I wasn’t aware of is that, it’s really everywhere in terms of what I was saying before that their contracts, the regulations, the forms, are all in English, which is also very welcoming so you don’t have to be working with interpreters to try to understand. Those are, I would say two of the biggest items that I would say that are very welcomed and I was happily surprised with.
Henry Acosta: Can you tell us a little bit about Volenday? What’s Volenday all about? And what do you guys offer to any clients?
Julio Endara: Thank you for asking. Our vision is to be one stop shop for outsourcing in the Philippines. And by one stop shop, I really mean it. The idea is to provide a variety of services that we can then cater for any requirements for our client. Whereas, some other outsourcing companies do offer one particular thing, we really do offer a variety, a handful of services which I can mention to you. For example, we do headhunting and so we do have an army of around 20 people doing just purely headhunting, that’s the only thing they do. They find talent and they place it in clients. It’s very important in everywhere but particularly in the Philippines because that very hot market in terms of workforce. People are moving a lot, there are job opportunities everywhere and all the good talent is being picked up by others. It’s big mobility. Having a good headhunting partner is important. We do that, we do it for clients. But of course, because we have the in-house recruitment agency, we can also do it for ourselves which is a leverage for the rest of the things we do. Another one we do is sub-contracting. Sometimes, the clients have a project, they for example have a one year project and they need 10 software developers. We can provide that and again, we can leverage the recruitment agency to do that. And also the other service we provide is IT, it’s like infrastructure support for software development. Sometimes, clients actually go from one to the … they first start working with us as using contracting services and at some point, they realized or what we’ve mentioned to them that we also do some software development and we end up doing some ERP coding for them, or mobile application, or a simple website so that’s also helps. Because of all of that, we also have some peripheral services like for example, graphic design. We do have also a small call-center. We do also offer desks, whichever the business needs to set up and grow. That’s what Volenday is about, to be able to give an answer to any demands from the clients that they don’t have to be going around to work with many different providers.
Henry Acosta: Volenday sounds like a great company.
Julio Endara: Yes. I’m happy to say so. Of course, I’m a little biased. But not only I have to say that, I’m really happy that when I come here then I can see the smiles, the people is motivated and working hard for it. I think we have a culture of, yes we want to be happy at work, but also, we work hard as one of our core values. Working hard is definitely a something that it’s important and Filipinos are hardworking so that perspective is a good match.
Henry Acosta: Thank you for saying that about Filipinos. I appreciate that. With regards to Volenday, how do you think your clients have been so far? How have they grown with you guys?
Julio Endara: We have quite a few case studies. There are cases in which is really transactional by design. For example, they might have a position they want to fulfill and we do headhunting for them and that was it. A small company for example who want a COO, we find it and that was it, a good relationship but it was only a transaction. We’ll not grow that match as that’s what they need it. That’s one example. But in the other spectrum, you have examples where we have clients that have start with us like 7 years ago and they’re still with us. We’re doing projects with them. We also have cases where we do BOT or Build, Operate and Transfer. In which they we have come to us, they say “Look we want to give a try to the Philippines but we don’t want to work with the hassle of incorporating, find out how it works, and all that. Can we do a pilot with you guys?” and of course, we can do that. We did that recently, we’ve got an office for them in Clark. We took them up to 60 plus people. Including setting up the operations and the office, of course, internet and everything that go with it. And then they proved that they were happy to carry on. And at that time, we have them incorporating of course. They took over the operation, they’re happy with it, still very happy with us, but of course … disappointing they had enough people that it made sense for them to go on and do their own operation. And also, they have other bigger plans that require them to have the people inside and to have their assets. Again, that’s another good example of coming to the Philippines and through the years, demonstrate that it works and do the growth, make the operation and then they can go on their own. Other examples include services as software development. We can help customers to grow by providing software that have the features they need, custom built. We do work in two ways when we do software development. As I mentioned, we do custom build where they give us their requirements and we provide the software, and we sell the IP with it when they buy the software. But we also have our platform that we have built in-house, where in drag and drop fashion, we can build software very, very rapidly. Using all the cool and edge technologies, I’m a techy by the way so I get all excited when we talk about technology. We have built this platform where we can very rapidly build very complex business software that can be very scalable and of course high quality because a lot of it, we don’t developed it anymore, it’s already built up, we only develop that 20% that is very specific. In those cases, we go for software as a service so companies can hire the software rather than buying the whole piece which is very cost effective and very easy to work with. It’s the typical thing you see on the web where you can hire something for example for $10 or $15 per month per user. We can build up that type of software very easily.
Henry Acosta: Wow, that sounds like you guys do an amazing job with that.
Julio Endara: Yes. We have clients that are quite happy. We have a number of software builds already in the platform and live and the number of users I think now is like 15,000 if I count by users, So very happy that is there and is working, it’s what gets me excited, it’s were I put a lot of time into nowadays.
Henry Acosta: It’s nice having people on the show, showing or talking about what their passions are about.
Julio Endara: Yes, very much so. My passion overall in building things. I love building, building whatever. Maybe that’s why I studied engineering and being that building a company, a software. Sometimes, I even get … I know it is a little weird but I have fun even building contracts for example. Some people hate that, that’s why I find it funny. It’s all the complexity of it.
Henry Acosta: For those people who are considering do outsourcing off and maybe they’re not yet fully convinced with regards to jumping the gun. What can you tell or what advice can you tell people who are really considering outsourcing here, just so they can start doing it?
Julio Endara: In terms outsourcing in general, I think I would be very careful of just jumping the gun and say ‘Yes, just outsource’. Outsourcing is not for everyone and it’s not for everything. And even more so, offshoring – is not for everyone, it’s not for everything. You really have to have a serious conversation to make sure that the client is clear on what they’re doing and if they have done it before in the past then of course that they know where they are but if they haven’t and it’s their first time, you have to help. I mean we have to be responsible when we are selling them solutions because otherwise, you’re not really helping and it maybe something that is short term. I think we are all here for the longer run and making things a little more strategic. We know that nothing is forever anymore. But if you don’t have your customers to really understand and then there will be disappointment. Now having said that, I think that there are very clear cases in which it make sense. If the work, you want to do is not core to you. For example, if you’re Coca-Cola, you’re never going to give out the way you manage your brand which branding is the biggest thing for Coca-Cola for example. Of course, you can outsource part of that, some consulting … of the brand but the branding is yours. But of course, making bottles, why not? That might be okay. Again, I’m making a somewhat simple example, I’m pretty sure Coca-Cola wouldn’t say is simple… But I’m trying to make it simple, but if it is code don’t outsource it, and if it’s not core to your work like for example payroll, you can outsource. I mean, it’s very few companies for which payroll would be core for them, that will be okay. That’s one aspect to look at. The other one is the maturity of the organization. Some companies are not there yet. They’re doing too many things and then their focus is somewhere else. When you outsource, you have to pay attention to it. It’s not just a transaction and you say somebody “Okay, take it over” and it would happen. You have to give some attention. Sometimes, it’s not that match. I’m not going to say this is overwhelming. But it depends on what you’re trying to do. You have to give attention, you have to make sure you have the efforts … and the resources that are going to look into it. The other one which I kind of mention in the beginning, is also experience. If you have the team that it’s going to be the counterparts to their outsourcing providers are experienced and then you have a lot to win. Otherwise, there are some lessons to be learned that always, everybody can learn them. But you are better off if you have some experience already. Since like I was mentioned it before the cultural awareness for example and then you have to adapt a little. I always try to advise my clients that if they can for example, if they’re doing a team, that putting a team with us over here, if they’re abroad then I try to advise them to make sure they give attention to the people, don’t think that because they are not beside you that they’re not people, because sometimes there is a ‘wall’ in the middle or a whole world apart. We don’t think of them in the same way, you have to give attention to make things work. On top of that working from time to time, if you can travel over here it is not just fantastic but even better. But those kind of things I would highlight, again, to wrap up it’s not for everything and for everyone, but there are big chunk of areas of work that can be outsourced very successfully.
Henry Acosta: Awesome. For those interested in getting in touch with you and Volenday, where can they find you guys here in the Philippines and what’s the best way to contact you?
Julio Endara: The website is a good way because in there, we have the form to send us a request to be contacted. That will be the best way which is at volenday.com. But also we have the email address which is [email protected] Of course, I can be contacted as well anytime and my email address is very easy which is [email protected]
Henry Acosta: Thank you for coming on the show, we appreciate it.
Julio Endara: No worries. Thank you for giving me time again and it was a pleasure to talk to you as well.
Henry Acosta: And that was Julio Endara, Managing Director of Volenday. We just finished talking about his story and how he ended up here in the Philippines. We just finished also talking about Volenday, a very great company that you should check out, especially when you are considering outsourcing here in the Philippines. If you want to listen to more podcasts about the outsourcing industry here in the Philippines, you can go to www.offshoring.com.ph, we’re also on SoundCloud and iTunes. You’ve been listening to the Outsourcing and Offshoring Philippines podcast with Henry Acosta.