5 ways to avoid outsourcing pitfalls
We often find that clients entering the outsourcing market have two primary fears in common; they fear losing control and they fear losing quality. This comes as no surprise whatsoever.
Take a group of CEOs whose careers depend upon flexibility and control, and whose reputations depend on quality, then a threat to either of these is going to induce almost tangible anxiety.
If we accept that a good relationship with a quality outsourcing partner will negate these apprehensions, we need to look at how to get that relationship right in the first place.
Here are just five points that are often undervalued or overlooked, but can get organisations on the road to successful outsourcing partnerships:
1. Communication from the outset is imperative if you want to retain control
There will be prospective partners that know what they are doing so well, they’ll be happy to take over the project completely. For those that seek such a partner, it is heaven sent. For most, who want to retain as much influence as possible, you’ll want a partner that has communications channels set and procedures in place so that their clients can see, and be involved, at every stage of the project.
Your requirements need to be communicated from the outset. This encourages the retention of control, ensures perfect communication, and the added benefit of their knowledge base can often help speed up the development process.
2. Don’t ignore the outcome of other company cases
If your prospective partner is self-assured with his service, he will happily introduce you to other clients, so that they can share their experience honestly and openly. Hearing first hand about your prospective partner’s internal procedures of quality assurance, project management, and ongoing communication from someone who has already outsourced to them is the best way to alleviate fears about loss of quality.
3. Give a lot of thought to your choice of country
Many partners are available in far-flung locations where the labour market allows them to offer a service cheaply and reasonably competently. However, for those leaders that wish to retain control and quality, this project could seem too far to keep within the management’s grasp.
In that case, ‘nearshoring’ is becoming ever more popular; eastern and southern European countries have a great educational system and an enviable talent pool, are close enough that a face-to-face meeting can be just a couple of hours’ away, and are quite similar in culture to British businesses, people and lifestyle.
This closeness and familiarity can prove a deciding factor for those leaders with a desire to keep their hands firmly on the steering wheel of their projects.
4. Don’t underestimate the complexity of the tasks
This can lead to frustration later down the project line, as most leaders lack the complete understanding and appreciation of how day to day work within their organisation is done and how complex it is. Substantial underestimation of how time consuming and difficult tasks can be, is a common mistake.
Choosing the right partner will help a company to recognise the complexities of workflows and raise considerations they need to take into account.When this process is completed to its highest potential, a company can learn a great deal about itself for use in streamlining of processes and systems. This is just one of the beneficial side effects of successful outsourcing.
5. Get your contracts right before you get started
Of course, there will be the usual intricacies involved that will need to be addressed at this stage, such as intellectual property rights, contract length and agreements of return of services should the partnership prove unsuccessful.
However, this is where control and quality can truly be retained – or abdicated if you prefer that route. You are able to dictate how much, or how little, control you wish to relinquish.Find a company that offers different models.
Outsourcing varies from the simple provision of competencies and people, to complete responsibility ownership – you need to decide what you, and your budget, prefers. Tell precisely what you expect from them, and what can be expected from you.
Apart from all the above, remember that when you are shortlisting your prospective partners, lyou should ook out for those that offer a shorter term test project, perhaps 3 or 4 months in term and for a limited investment. This way you will find out if outsourcing is for you and you wll get a feel for your new partners. If the project then rolls out in full, hopefully this initial contract has ironed out any teething problems and you can go live with complete confidence.
Do you want to know more about IT outsourcing? Take a look at our 2020 guide on Software Development Outsourcing.