Over the past several months, it’s become clear that businesses need to get lean and focus on tasks they do best. The rapid transition to remote work spurred by COVID has only emphasized that it is possible to successfully rely on virtual teams. Organizations can find success by working with remote specialists way beyond their walls to achieve positive results. By farming out day-to-day operational activities – such as marketing, human resources, accounting, security, financial reporting, and technology support – businesses can zero in on revenue-producing activities. But before moving forward, your business needs to determine your shortlist for keeping in house and what your goals are. What are the best strategies for success? What qualities should you look for in potential partners? Let’s jump into these issues to help determine the best path forward.
- Focus and invest in smart people – If you look at essential areas of your business, it seems attractive to keep all functions and all staff in-house. However, taking this approach can put you at a disadvantage making it hard to stay competitive in a challenging market. Instead, focus on your core business strengths and invest in smart outsources to help with the rest. For many, that shortlist of in-house activities might include sales, R&D, and the core of what you create and deliver to customers. The advantage of using contractors for things like accounting, IT management, or cybersecurity is that those individuals are hyper-focused in those markets daily. Many IT specialists or accounting personnel, for example, pursue continuing education regularly to keep up with compliance rules or new security best practices such as zero-trust architecture. It’s unlikely that even highly motivated, driven individuals in-house have the time or resources to do the same regularly.
- Have an internal project manager involved and overseeing work – When working with external specialists for specific projects or even for an on-going assignment, having internal staff manage the job is essential. This engagement level will help contribute to any project’s success, whether it’s a short-term web development project or long-term account management or IT support role. Part of the management process should include clearly defined escalation procedures to identify and resolve any problems and to agree on adjustments to the process. With an in-house management team keeping an eye on work, the company’s best interests are represented at all times, and the work stays aligned with the company culture and goals. The inside project manager can also make sure the outsourcers follow the appropriate processes and meet benchmarks for quality and timely work. Outlining vendors’ predetermined methods for completing projects can help the business maintain its quality control and consistency.
- Start slow – Just like with any relationship, starting slow with a vendor can help lay the foundation for success. After deciding which tasks make sense to outsource, start slowly bringing in qualified individuals who you can get up to speed on those projects. To make sure you’re making the right call, you can also measure the worker’s productivity and quality against the cost of using outsiders. If the ROI is still correct, organizations can continue investing in farming out the work to specialists. Work that is closer to regular operating margins scale back on that, and focus on giving it to internal teams.
Look for quality, reliability, and good communication
When looking at possible vendors and partners, there are essential qualities that separate the best from the rest – reliability, quality, and communication. If your organization can zero in on its core business capabilities and do those very well and find a partner to manage everything else, you’ll be in excellent shape. Do you have tips about what makes an ideal consulting partner? Do you need help building out your partner network for 2021? Call or email us. At Outsourcive, we love helping companies establish their ideal outsource network. Don’t wait!