With budgets getting tighter every year, businesses have started to look at different ways of cutting costs. One of these options is to offshore your ‘business-as-usual’ activities, such as customer service and IT.
How your company approaches offshoring is the key to success. If done right, it can be a very positive thing for your business allowing your onshore staff to focus on customer-facing and revenue-generating activities. Any business process that doesn't need a handshake can be done from offshore. If you set it up well and find the right staff, there are really very few cons.
With adequate advice, planning and management, outsourcing projects will flourish.
Finding the right team
Offshoring is mostly a recruitment game and finding a recommended BPO to give you a helping hand is a good place to start, particularly if you are new to the process.
Do your research and find a partner who is just as invested in your success as their own; it's vital to find a reputable partner who can really guide you through. It can be a particularly daunting process for SMEs and one that can go very wrong, and be very costly.
Setting up your offshore team
A successful offshoring experience for all parties starts with good planning. Deloitte
provides a great basic plan:
- Get senior management commitment
- Define your strategy, goals and outcomes of the team
- Get to know your vendor. Visit their premises to get a feel for the environment and to examine their processes. Establishing a valuable ‘face to face’ relationship as a good foundation for a working relationship.
Most of the pain will be upfront, but short-term pain is worth it for long-term gain. Firstly, you need to document your business’ processes and develop clear work instructions. You may need some help with creating a process map to document each step and provide a clear view of the customer journey.
Having watertight documentation is an absolutely critical success factor. It will make the transition, staff on-boarding and training much easier and more effective.
Managing your offshore team
Although cost-savings may be the initial motivator, integration will only succeed in the long-term if the focus is on a smooth and beneficial working relationship.
Business is all about people and relationships – it’s no different for an offshore team. It's vital to be clear about your expectations, tolerant of cultural differences and embrace diversity. In terms of geographical differences, Converga employees follow the sun for our clients, so that they work the same shift as you.
The most successful strategy is clear and regular communication. With technology it’s even easier to foster good working relationships with onshore clients and counterparts.
Offshoring isn’t without its challenges. But by taking care to prepare and focussing on your long-term business goals, the experience will be a positive and cost-effective one for the whole company.
Smart Company - How to avoid the top 10 reasons that offshore teams fail
CIO - Why offshoring Agile development often doesn’t work
Tech Republic - 10 things you should know about working with an offshore team
Deloitte - offshoring: how to ensure success