Rethinking Outsourcing: Beyond Cost to Value
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Ady Collins
June 20, 2024
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The Dirty Word

The term ‘outsourced’ often carries a stigma within the business world, ultimately seen as a way to cut costs at the expense of quality and innovation. My initial encounter with outsource models at a large corporate 20 years ago presented it as a strategy primarily focused on reducing UK costs by replacing local developers with outsourced teams treated more like typists than skilled professionals. This approach, prioritising cost over talent, fostered a perception that outsourcing is merely a pricing decision. A perception often reinforced by staffing providers by simply doing what they’re been told to do.

Breaking the Mould

In the early days, there was a fundamental misunderstanding of the potential of outsourcing specialists. Businesses largely ignored the talent and expertise of their outsourced teams, leading to a culture where these specialists were undervalued, and the opportunity to contribute strategically – unconsidered. Due to this, these teams were rarely empowered to challenge or make suggestions and the providing agencies lacked a core understanding of their client’s needs. All in all, reinforcing the stereotype of outsourcing as a cost-cutting measure rather than a strategic-value approach.

Recognizing the value of outsourced specialists and understanding the unique needs of a business allows for a seamless integration of remote workers who can build real momentum by working collaboratively.

Changing the Narrative: Going Beyond Outsourcing

The true value of outsourcing lies not in its ability to cut costs but in its potential to unlock exceptional talent and drive quality. By implementing these five strategies you can not only integrate successful remote teams but transform them from perceived liabilities into valuable assets:

  1. Establish Leadership: Appoint a dedicated leader within the outsourced team who embodies your company’s values and standards. This leader should foster a culture of care, collaboration, and enthusiasm, ensuring the offshore team is an extension of your onshore operations.
  2. Train the Trainer: Encourage cultural synergy by bringing outsource leaders to your local team for training. This not only enhances skills but also builds a sense of belonging and understanding.
  3. Know Your Partner: Ask questions and learn more about your partner, their company values, and work culture to ensure you have a comprehensive understanding of your outsourced team’s environment.
  4. Be Transparent: Share comprehensive project details and context with your outsourced team. Understanding the broader picture enables them to contribute more effectively and confidently challenge suggestions.
  5. Schedule Touch points: Establish regular opportunities for your onshore and offshore teams to interact. This fosters communication, collaboration, and a unified team identity.

Reaping the Benefits

When managed and integrated properly, offshore teams can match their onshore counterparts in qualifications, compliance, and culture. Success lies in the perception—viewing outsourced teams as valuable partners capable of propelling your business forward rather than a cost saving exercise.

Conclusion

The stigma surrounding offshoring is a relic of the past. By choosing the right partner and focusing on talent, transparency, and community, businesses can leverage offshore teams not only for exceptional value for money but also innovation and quality. And those my friend, are the businesses that will thrive.

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