As 2010 comes to a close and businesses take stock of their outsourcing needs for the New Year, it is time for us to get back to basics. If you and your team can comfortably say “Yes” to the following questions, then you are ready to take that “leap of faith” and start opening up your business processes and IT applications to your outsourcing partner.
• Do you think outsourcing (offshore or near shore) is critical for your company’s growth?
Outsourcing is not a fad. Nor is it a quick fix remedy. It is a long-term strategy which involves moving some or most of your business functions to a team or location resulting in increased productivity and efficiencies.
• Do you have the buy-in of your entire company, or at least that of your IT team, to outsource? Are they determined to give this a fair try, and help make it successful?
Outsourcing is a team effort. The key players in your Business, HR and the IT team need to understand that outsourcing will change the way you do business. It will involve new locations, culture, team dynamics, and cost structure – at the very least.
• Do you view your outsourcing company as a partner?
Outsourcing vendors offer people to perform a service for you. An outsourcing partner will offer a solution to each and every business problem you have, and will expect you to work with them to implement your solutions. A true outsourcing partner will share your growing pains, and business risk. A partner will not be afraid to tell you how to change your business to accommodate outsourcing needs.
Have you clearly designed an outsourcing strategy for your business?
Your strategy should include what business processes/services you want to outsource, how you plan to manage the entire process, and what your indicators of success are? If your initial foray succeeds, what will be your next steps? Will you continue to build your team, or get into a Build-Operate-Transfer agreement with your partner? Or open a Center of Excellence?
Strange as it may sound, your outsourcing strategy should include your exit plan. Knowing what to do if things go wrong will actually give you the confidence to take the plunge, and help prepare you mentally for success
• Do you know how you will be supervising and project managing the outsourced team?
Most businesses think of outsourcing as a “magic wand” that will, in one swish, reduce costs and increase revenue. But, like all magic acts, outsourcing needs planning, team work, relentless follow up, and precise execution for it to succeed.
At the end of the day, outsourcing is all about increased productivity at lesser cost. Do the above questions sound basic and obvious? We hope so. It’s time to get back to basics. It’s time to let the introspection begin.