Ready to outsource? There are five key questions you need answered to successfully outsource your project.
Just what does it mean to outsource business processes? And why should you be doing it? The concept is simple: contract some of your technical and nontechnical work processes to an outside vendor. While the concept is simple, knowing exactly what the outsourcing process is about will save everyone time and money.
It’s smart to outsource at any time, not only when you’re at the beginning of startup development. Use outsourcing even when you’re updating business procedures and software. Or implementing new ones. Why? It’s cost-effective and saves you time. And it gives you access to experienced vendors at lower costs and with better quality that you can do yourself.
What should you outsource? Every internal business and technical process can be outsourced. Focus on your strong skills and outsource those that are weak. Or hire expertise that you only need for a specific project. Common functions to outsource include software development, website creation, and IT infrastructure. In other words, pay someone else for the limited amount of time you need to use their skills.
One of the biggest concerns of outsourcing a business process is the loss of visibility and control. You’re hiring people you’ve never met to do a job for you. Not only do you have limited communication, you have limited management control as well. There are some things you can do to have as much control as possible.
Be part of the outsourcing process. You’ll need to stay involved in the project from the start to the finish. Otherwise you’ll become disengaged and risk losing control. When working with an outsourcing vendor, clearly define the roles that everyone will have in the project. This allows you to establish expectations and deadlines that are realistic. Even if you decide to play a minor role in the outsourced project, you still need to be part of the process in some way.
Be available. If your vendor can’t get in touch with you, important decisions are either put on hold or made without you. This can stretch out the timeline of the project. Remember that your vendor is just trying to get the answers they need to make deadlines. Deadlines that you yourself have made. Make yourself accessible throughout the entire length of the project. It keeps you in control of those important final decisions.
Be involved in team member selection. Ask potential vendors if you can be part of the selection process for picking team members. By choosing the right members, you’ll have some say in the experience and skills of each individual on the team.
Visibility and transparency. You should know at all times that your project is on the right track. Effective and regular communication can accomplish this. It doesn’t mean that you need to micromanage every small detail. You just need to stay on top of what your outsourcing vendor is doing.
Strategies for project completion. A successfully completed outsourcing project doesn’t just get handed over. Implement strategies so that you maintain control of what happens at the end of your contract with a vendor.
There are some challenges when you hire a remote team for your development projects. You won’t be able to manage them directly, so how will you know what they’re doing? Good communication and building relationships are tools for success.
Choose methods of communication. Is the outsourcing team available for standard methods of communication? This includes email, phone, and video conferencing. Don’t forget to rely on other communication channels such as Skype and GoMeeting. You can share information by choosing a cloud solution or setting up a VPN. Pick two or three best ways to communicate with the vendor and team members.
Clear communication. It’s crucial for each dedicated development team to communicate effectively. Lack of communication can quickly break your relationship with a vendor. Once you’ve established how you’re going to be communicating make sure you stay in touch. Stay on top of what team members are doing by requesting frequent updates. If needed, also schedule meetings so everyone is on the same page.
Single point of contact. Narrow down your window of communication. Will you have one main contact for all your questions, concerns, and feedback? Knowing who to reach out to on the remote team is an efficient way to communicate and will get you the response you need much faster than if you reach out to everyone on the team.
Building relationships helps communication. Use video calling to close the gap between you and the outsourcing team. Talking to the vendor face to face gives you a feeling that you’re all working together in the same location. And it puts a face to each name.
This is an important question: how to outsource your work when the team you’re working with is in another country? There are definitely some disadvantages when working cross-culturally. Understanding what these limitations are will help you find practicable solutions to working with a remote team.
Different cultural practices. Working with other cultures brings a different mentality and outlook to your project. Based on cultural practices, don’t assume that the vendor you’ve hired has a clear understanding of what you need. For instance, if you’ve outsourced to a custom software development company in another country, they may approach analysis and design in different ways than you do.
Language differences. By default, English is the standard language used in international business communication. What if you’re outsourcing to a vendor where English isn’t their first language? Find out from the vendor how they’re going to manage this language barrier. Does someone on their team speak English? Or will they have someone do the translating for them?
Working across time zones. The outsourcing vendor you hire can be anywhere in the world. Time zone differences can be insignificant. Or they can be a big challenge if your vendor is 8 hours ahead or behind you. You’ll need to coordinate times for communication and be clear about times for deadlines.
There are few things to consider when deciding what company to outsource your services to.
Don’t be hesitant in asking. The above is all information that successful outsourcing firms are expecting you to ask of them.
Deciding to outsource can be an intimidating decision. But it doesn’t have to be. Successful outsourcing requires clarity, control, and the right outsourcing partner for your project. Armed with all this information about how to start a business process with outsourcing company, you’ll soon find the right outsourcing vendor for your project.
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