Outsourcing can be a boon to businesses – but it brings its own unique challenges.
We spoke to some of the most reputable outsourcing experts about the biggest challenges faced by businesses – and how to meet them head on.
Use outsourcing to expand your business offering
Outsourcing work to reliable companies allows for a business to offer related services that may not be their main area of expertise. This ultimately allows for a wider and more robust offering which can increase revenue.
Liam Webster, MD of Identify Web Design is an advocate of this approach:
“Our primary business is web design and development, but a few years ago we realised that it made sense to offer website marketing services such as SEO and PPC, which meant we can offer an ongoing service once we have built the websites. It also offers upsell opportunities that broadens our potential revenue channels. We sometime make use of carefully vetted partners to look after some of this work to ensure our clients get an expert in the service they are buying from us.”
Your outsourcing company should fit your business values
It’s important to ensure that a supplier’s business values and culture are aligned with those of your organisation. This is fundamental to a good working relationship so it is necessary to conduct thorough research during the due diligence process.
Heinrich Hess, an outsourcing expert at HGH Innovation, suggests that the process should include interaction with your prospects outside the meeting room setting – to get a better sense of their culture and work ethic.
‘Include your team in decision making. Try a small project first. Arrange a teambuilding event to people meet in person. The internet can never replace face to face meetings.’
Arranging a trial project without further commitment can provide the opportunity to experience what it will be like to work together.
Additional interaction also helps to lay the foundations for a long and collaborative partnership.
Speaking of partnerships…
Work with, rather than them working for you
After engaging with an outsourcing company it’s important to build a close and amicable partnership to avoid misunderstandings and minimise friction.
‘The key challenge is ensuring that the contract delivers the services and value anticipated during the contracting cycle… outsourcing is both sourcing and partnering. It is essential that both the vendor and the client agree business principles before signing a deal.’
Communication, Communication, Communication
To maintain a good working relationship, it is important that collaboration and communication are actively managed and maintained. Use the dialogue to agree and monitor business goals to suit both parties. As Peter states, ‘Good practice starts with clear definition of service requirements and the outcomes desired’.
During the partnership, there is a real risk of neglecting your outsourced company, taking communication and relationship building for granted. Heinrich highlights the possible consequences of a lack of communication.
“A common problem is that companies can simply “forget” their outsourced person or team. Later they complain that the outsourcing partner was bad. Regular meetings are mandatory!”
Sam de Silva, a globally recognised expert in the field, provides inside tips and guidelines on how to outsource successfully. Working as Head of Commercial IT and Outsourcing at Nabarro, an international law firm, he reveals when a company should decide to outsource – and what makes a successful collaboration: