The Business Forum Accelerators serve up the seven most important things to consider when it comes to outsourcing.
Outsourcing will be one of the biggest debates in business this year. So combining their knowledge and experience, the Business Forum Accelerators have compiled this must-read list of the seven things to consider when it comes to business outsourcing.
1. The importance of people
People have a powerful impact on the success of an outsourcing venture. But this goes beyond their quality, capabilities and expertise. More importantly, it’s about finding people who inspire enough trust to form a long term relationship.Find a vendor that shows a deep and clear understanding of the nature of your business and its values so they can replicate the passion of your organisation.
“The right outsource provider is critical. They must have the skills and experience to do the job. They must have the right people with the right attitude. If this is achieved, everything else is easy.”
Alan, Business Forum Accelerator, CA
2. Rest on client referrals
It goes without saying that reputations precede. If you have a shortlist of outsourcing suppliers, find out the details of their existing clients and make contact. Ask them key questions and get a low down of all the pros and cons that could have an impact on your relationship and your business.
“Consider the capability and expertise of the vendor, existing client referrals, quality of the staff and whether a long term relationship can be formed.”
Channa, Business Forum Accelerator, CA
3. Reflect on personal experience
Everyone has some personal experience of outsourcing. It could be with your telecommunications, finance or travel suppliers. Make a note of their strengths and weaknesses. How was the customer service? Were there any communication challenges? Even if it’s from a personal perspective, it will help you form a clearer picture of what you are looking for in your professional outsourcing supplier.
“From personal experience, there are widespread issues with communication and quality.”
Graeme, Business Forum Accelerator, CA
4. Take your time
Deciding to outsource is one of the biggest decisions you will make for your business. It will have a huge influence on your corporate culture and customer relationships. Take your time weighing up the impact outsourcing will have versus the value it will bring from saved expenditure and time. Make a list of all the benefits and implications for your business, staff and other stakeholders and don’t rush your final decision.
“Outsourcing should deliver an improved customer experience, greater efficiency within the business and long term cost savings.”
Robert, Business Forum Accelerator, CA
5. Find a good cultural fit
It’s crucial to find the right cultural fit for your business. Clashes in values and poor communication will lead to employee frustration and bad customer service. The outsourced supplier should act like an extension of your business operating along the same principles. Find a supplier with first-hand experience of your market and customers and who can prove their communication capabilities are second nature.
“Outsourcing does not work if there is a communication or cultural barrier between those who remain and the outsourced team.”
Meagan, Business Forum Accelerator, CA
6. Flexibility to change
Ask your potential supplier to provide a survival plan of action if the worst was to happen. If their operation goes under, for example, what exit strategies do they have in place to minimise the impact on your business? Business can change in the blink of an eye and perhaps you’ll want to in-source services in the future. Make sure your supplier is flexible enough to help you leave in an efficient and streamlined manner.
“Ensure the contracts are correct, enforceable, deal with termination effectively, and determine what happens after the contract expires before you start.”
Derek, Business Forum Accelerator, CA
7. Secure your assets
Outsourcing requires a huge amount of trust. After all, you are putting the success of your organisation in the hands of another business. While your relationship with your supplier should be totally transparent, you should not lose control of your core competencies, data or other assets. The future is unpredictable and keeping these in your hands will ensure maximum protection for your entire business.
‘Ask yourself, what happens if the company you outsource to goes bust, can you survive? If you want to change supplier what happens? And finally, where is your data and how do you get hold of it?
Charles, Business Forum Accelerator, CA
The Business Forum Accelerators is a group of well-connected and influential chartered accountants from across Australia and New Zealand who have come together to share their expertise on some of industry’s most important topics in preparation for the Business Forum 2015.