With a continually evolving and changing workforce, it can be hard to find the specific skillsets you need to accomplish your business goals and objectives. Now added with the generalists vs. specialist trend, it can compound organizations ability to find and retain the specific skillsets and knowledgeable employees they need for their organization.
A way of solving these issues is outsourcing for many SMBs.
Outsourcing can be described as the subcontracting of skills or projects outside of your organization, such as security, Pure Desk™, mobile management, help desk and many more. This allows many organizations to have services vital to their business without having to fund an in-house department dedicated towards them.
We at Quartet have complied and will list some of concerns you should think when looking to outsource.
1. Leave your core expertise in-house.
When it comes to outsourcing, it’s important to know and understand which projects should be outsourced and which ones should be done in-house. Doing so can save you time and money. If your SMBs expertise is programming, and you have an upcoming programming project that’s important, it’s in your best interest to complete the project in-house and have your experts deal with it. This differs for a marketing company who is looking to develop an app, because their expertise is marketing and not programming, outsourcing would be the best fit for this situation.
One size does not fit all.
It’s important to have an objective point of view of what your expertise is and what isn’t. This allows you to properly delegate and assign projects and know what to outsource and what not to. This ensures you’re properly spending your time and resources accomplishing your business objectives and moving your business forward. This also frees up your core performers to focus on the important tasks, while the less important projects are handled through outsourcing, which doesn’t put your business at risk in the case of emergencies, delays or unexpected projects.
2. Look at outsourcing options that give you the most value.
When considering different outsourcing options, as an SMB you should always be considering which solutions give you the most value. Value is an indicator of how much you will benefit from a solution. Finding solutions that make it easier to accomplish your business objectives and goals should be your primary concern. Focusing on saving money or going with the less costly outsourcing opportunity can be problematic, as that doesn’t always equal out to be the best solution for your needs.
Therefore it’s important to first know what your needs are and have a clear outline of what services you are looking for. This will help you determine which solutions are the right fit for your organization and which are not. This will ensure you’ll be looking for exactly what you need and the best solution for your SMB.
3. Be involved in the outsourcing process.
It’s paramount to be involved in any outsourcing project or service you currently have. This means having routine meetings, clear communication channels to voice concerns, and a clear object or idea of what is happening on both ends.
This allows you to ensure your needs are being met and the ability to communicate and speak to an expert in their field who might have advice or some recommendations of how to better run their service. This gives you the best of both worlds, direct access to an expert and the ability to know how to innovate and implement new technology.
Staying in the fray should start from the very beginning, this includes when you’re interviewing different outsourcing companies. Figuring out how they work and their company’s culture can be paramount to ensure you have a good working relationship and don’t have problems down the line. Plus being involved shows that you care and aren’t simply looking for a quick fix.
4. Don’t ignore bad communication signals when outsourcing.
Outsourcing means there’s always going to be an element of not knowing what’s happening day to day with your service or project you’re currently outsourcing. This can get complicated if you are outsourcing to a different country or if there’s a language barrier. Experiencing communication issues with an outsourcer can be a signal that things aren’t going as well as you thought. This is why it’s important to keep a clear and concise communication channel with any organization you are outsourcing to from the start. This will set the standard of figuring out whether they are indeed keeping up to date on timelines, deadlines or delivering the proper service.
We have all heard horror stories of companies outsourcing and completely losing track of their projects and finding out that they were mismanaged or not properly done on a deadline.
Don’t be that company.
5. Consider legal issues.
Considering legal issues is paramount with outsourcing. You should have a clear plan of what services or projects are going to be delivered and at what time. This ensures that any issues that pop up during that time are resolved quickly and you’re not left holding the bill with nothing to show for it.
This is important when outsourcing coding or programming, as figuring out intellectual property can be a costly one. Ensuring you have a clear legal agreement and contract with an outsourcer ensures you save time and money and own the rights to the agreed upon projects.
In doing so you should focus on three things;
1. Making sure you have a non-disclosure agreement with the company you are outsourcing too. This will prevent against your project being leaked and protects any confidential information regarding your project. This is important for top secret projects against competitors and other companies.
2. Learning about the best practices used by outsourcing vendors can mean you know what you’re getting into and how to protect yourself in the case of emergencies. Doing research and knowing how to protect yourself and what to expect can save you a world of time and effort, such as using Github to avoid losing data due to system crash or local polices or when you obtain the rights to the source code.
3. Ensuring all parties sign an agreement stating that all intellectual property rights and the source code will remained under your sole ownership. This is the most important part of outsourcing. Ensuring that at the end of the project, you obtain and are the sole owner of the project be it code, hardware or any other outsourced services.
These are the most important three things to focus on, but you do your due diligence and focus on finding partners with trusted history and customer’s records, or one you have used before. This ensures the low likelihood of a problem coming up during or before your process. Outsourcing can be the additional step for SMBs looking to get an edge. It allows the ability to have access to experts for a fraction of the costs, accomplish projects faster, and better allocate resources and funding. It’s something that SMBs should be making use of.