A company who utilizes Outsourcing well is really just a company that wants to scale quickly and capitalizes on that desire by using Outsourcing. The main reasons companies use it in 2016 have more to do with scaling fast or accessing unique skills and expertise than cutting costs.
However, very few business professionals have actual proven experience as to what Outsourcing entails. As a result, most VPs and CTO/CIOs have the wrong mindset – or don’t have any idea of what success looks like. With a blend of transparency and detailed management your focus will always be pointed at achieving a business objective faster and cheaper.
To achieve the faster and cheaper aspect, you must tackle these three specific issues accordingly:
1) You are delayed by contemplating price options.
As with any investment, your desired functional outcome (soft ROI) and fiscal outcome both need to be crystal clear. With Outsourcing, the number one rule for price is to not get hung up on it. Why are you considering Outsourcing? Because you want to produce more by spending less – to increase profitability. This part you should not be flexible on – the rates of your vendor should allow you to make margin gains, significant ones. However, when comparing different company options – price should not drive your team’s decision.
Solution: If push-back on price keeps coming up about an Outsourcing company you feel confident in, keep going back to how much you save compared with doing the project in-house. Then, you can all focus on completing the project at a bargain price. If you have time for deeper research, make sure you know the rates compared with other providers in the US and abroad.
2) You value using Outsourcing, but almost every single time it takes longer than expected.
Most executives and team leaders are open to the idea of outsourcing from the onset – it simply consumes less time and money. After a quarter or two, they start to realize weekly communication has transformed to bi-weekly, or even less frequently. This is an issue because Outsourcing delays tend have a cross-functional effect. Updates for the website start to hinder Marketing and PR, application features affect the product development team, etc.
Solution: First, know and understand your own objectives. A company that often neglects hashing out well-defined time-frames for projects and tasks never has success with Outsourcing. Don’t rely on email or phone calls – Skype or Google Hangouts for face-to-face meetings is the most direct and meaningful of communication for remote teams. Even better, use a project management tool with direct messaging built-in (see the next point).
3) You aren’t sure about the most effective way to manage the process.
Again, this starts with your own operation, but realize that managing the process means so much more than deadlines. There are management tools that can totally transform your team’s work, and there are tools that can help you put deadlines in one place.
Solution: It is absolutely essential to use tools which have task management functionality – not a deadline notifier. Also, it’s important to have time/budget management capabilities – remember, your main priority is faster and cheaper.
The following tools already have the basics (deadlines, file transfers, etc.) but are uniquely useful for Outsourcing:
Outsourcing Positives: Task assignment, task notifications/alerts, commentable to-do lists, user-friendly and centralized interface, time/budget recording, excellent support community
Outsourcing Negatives: No recurring tasks, no direct messaging functionality, no ‘Facebook-like’ activity stream
Outsourcing Positives: Intuitive timeline functionality, recurring tasks, excellent progression tracking, team member tagging
Outsourcing Negatives: No time-tracking/budget functionality, not effective for managing multiple projectsOutsourcing Positives: Extensive time-tracking/budget tracking, contractor-focused, recurring tasks, task tagging, ‘FB-like’ activity stream
Outsourcing Negatives: Relatively new to the market, has a steeper learning curve