Ravenall Institute

Beyond Outsourcing

Article for Financial Mail corporate brochure, 2008

Beyond Outsourcing is a business transformation outsourcing company that was formed in 1997 by Group CEO Suzanne Ravenall to fill what she says were “huge gaps” within operations execution within the SA business market: “I was previously involved in business outsourcing in the UK and when I came to SA in the 1990s, everywhere I looked I saw companies trying to adjust to a more competitive and global environment where margins were being squeezed, and management were spending more and more of its time on non-core functions.”

Beyond Outsourcing hit the ground running, such was the demand for its services, and steadily expanded its offering. It developed a number of proprietary tools to assist companies in standardising their internal processes and executing business performance improvement in areas such as human relations, training and field services.

Beyond Outsourcing and Ravenall have won a string of awards over the years: she was nominated as one of the four finalists for Businesswoman of the Year; as Entrepreneur of the Year, Ernst & Young runner up; Businesswoman of the Year African Investor Awards; one of the Top Leaders in SA three years in a row as well as receiving an award for one of the top eleven Women Entrepreneurs in the world. The company has been cited repeatedly in the Best Companies to Work For and Most Promising Companies.

The company now employs 280 people and Ravenall says growth in financial 2008 will be double that of 2007, with an expected 50% growth on top of that in 2009. One of the key success ingredients is the company’s insistence on being rewarded according to measurable, verifiable performance improvement. It has started to create several special purpose vehicles which it co-owns with clients to take over non-core functions and deliver performance improvement. These also create opportunities for staff equity participation.

Where will the company be five years from now? “There are still several markets we intend to explore, and we will also have a much larger presence elsewhere in Africa. We would like to be more active in the public sector, and we will continue to focus on what we do best: deliver business performance improvement to organisations to help them compete and win in a more competitive and challenging business environment,” says Ravenall.