Whether you’ve been outsourcing for years or are just beginning to look into your options, carrying on a successful outsourcing relationship takes a shift in strategy and strong partnership with a dedicated outsourcing provider. The decision represents a sizable investment of time and effort, and you'll want to ensure that it bears fruit by way of money saved and efficiency increased. Here are some ways to make outsourcing easier from the start. Below, we’ve outlined some of the most vital components and the keys to a successful outsourcing arrangement.
Re-evaluate Your Core Competencies
Wherever you are in the process of outsourcing – at the very beginning or even once you've partnered with a provider – the most important thing you can do is take an honest evaluation of what your organizations' core competencies are, what portion of your resources are dedicated to those competencies and whether your current infrastructure or partnership serves those core competencies or not.
For example, for a lot of businesses, the accounting and finance department represents a large portion of resource spend: time and money goes into hiring, training, and retaining talent that can do the important – but value-neutral – work of keeping the company books. But unless your company specifically provides finance and accounting services to other organizations, it makes little sense to spend so much time and money on finance and accounting resources. This is an area that could be outsourced and create the opportunity for reinvestment of those resources into what your company actually does.
If you've already begun outsourcing, it's important to constantly re-evaluate whether or not it's allowing you to focus on these core competencies. If you haven't yet chosen a provider to partner with, our Outsourcing Implementation Decision Matrix can help you understand which of your tasks are good candidates for outsourcing success and help you revisit the work, products and services that matter most.
Do a Thorough Accounting of Your Goals
To succeed in outsourcing, you'll need to zoom all the way out to get a clear picture of where your company is – and where you want it to go. Many organizations arrive at the decision to outsource because they know that something can be improved.
Maybe it's clear that the money your organization is spending on value-neutral tasks could be put to better work somewhere else, or maybe you have a feeling that there are inefficiencies within your back office operations that could be streamlined with the right partner. Knowing that there's an opportunity to improve is critical to success, but knowing where those opportunities are, what challenges stand in the way of realizing them and how you'll overcome those challenges will differentiate the organizations that experience successful results with outsourcing from those that won't.
It's important to be clear-eyed and realistic about your goals and what you want to achieve through the outsourcing process. You may want to ask yourself some key questions:
Do you want to cut costs associated with value-neutral work?
How much do you hope to save with outsourcing?
Do you need a way to serve your customers better?
Can outsourcing help you create efficiency?
Do you need your outsourcing solution to scale?
Your outsourcing partner should be able to help you identify your initial goals, codify them and revisit them frequently to see if they're being met or if there are areas for further improvement.
Do Your Research: Unlocking Keys to Successful Outsourcing Partnerships
From the start, you should view your outsourcing provider as an extension of your team. Look for providers that share your values and identify the ones that have a culture that aligns well with yours. Work with them to outline your goals, expectations and a process for communication.
When you're building a program overseas, finding a provider that not only allows but encourages you to become a part of the process will lay the foundation of a successful outcome that continues to meet and exceed your expectations. You should ask to meet your new remote employees and seek involvement when it comes to training new teammates.
Once the program has begun, communicate frequently with your account manager according to the process you specified and continue to keep your finger on the pulse of the solution you've implemented. One reason for codifying your expectations at the outset of the relationship is so that if some aspect of the partnership isn't meeting those expectations, you'll both know precisely what steps to take to identify and rectify it.
Learn how Personiv approaches partnerships with our clients: The Ultimate Guide to B2B Relationships
Ultimately, if you plan to outsource, it’s important to make sure that saving money isn’t your only consideration. Yes, the top reason to outsource in many situations is to boost profitability, however, you need to make sure that quality won’t take a hit. The number one rule to protect quality while outsourcing is to choose a partner who keeps you involved and informed. Experience doesn’t hurt either. Look for a company that has expertise in your needs, a track record of successful long-term partnerships, and can facilitate your ability to reach out to their other clients for references and testimonials.
Do the Math and Make Sure It All Adds Up
Just as the pursuit of cost-savings should never mean a sacrifice in quality, a well-built outsourcing solution should not mean a zero-sum outcome. After all, reigning in the costs of value-neutral work usually takes the top spot in a company's list of goals when it comes to outsourcing. It's a reasonable and achievable goal, and your partnership should help you meet it. Before you sign a contract – and after you've already entered into an agreement – you need to continue to take the temperature of the program you've implemented and if it is, in fact, providing the cost-savings you need.
In short, you need to do the math. How much money will you save outsourcing versus building the infrastructure and providing the service in-house? If you've already begun, are the goals and parameters you set around cost being met? Will they continue to be? What about infrastructure and technology costs? Have you or will you be expected to sign on to minimum commitments? For instance, is your provider asking you to adopt technology you don't use at significant cost to your organization, or will they agree to work within the technology you already use? Are you able to hire only the full-time employees you need, or do you find yourself scrambling to create work for extraneous offshore team members in order to meet minimum hiring requirements?
Experienced and reputable outsourcing partners can break down the costs to help you evaluate if you’re getting the best value, and a successful partnership is one where quality and savings can be prioritized simultaneously and neither will be sacrificed to meet the goals you've set around the other.
Outsourcing: Mind the Scope and Keep the Keys
Somewhere down the line, you may be looking to scale operations further with your current outsourcing provider. To ensure a smooth transition, plan ahead for expansion and make sure your provider can keep up. They’ll need to be flexible and nimble enough to scale up depending on your needs and offer the types of services you might be looking to fill in the future.
The keys to outsourcing a pretty simple, but if there’s one word that sums it up, it’s “partnership”. Building a long-term relationship with your outsourcing vendor will ensure that everything from quality and cost to scope and customer satisfaction will fall in place for long-term success. Find out more about Personiv’s outsourcing solutions, and then schedule a one-on-one with one of our experts and tell us how we can help you.