If the fear of outsourcing is preventing you from accessing business tools that could be useful in your business, this discussion will help you sort through to pro’s and con’s of outsourcing.
First, treat this like any other fear. Don’t panic. Being afraid is not bad or harmful. It is what we do with fear that can be instructive or destructive. Most of all, do not make decisions based on fear.
The active approach is to let fear drive you to research, gather and analyze information. Think of this information as data points. One or two data points are certainly insufficient to make decisions on any meaningful project.
While this is good counsel for any issue let’s consider the outsourcing question more closely. The following is a list of questions to keep in mind as you gather and analyze information about outsourcing.
· What do I need to accomplish
· How can outsourcing help complete that task(s)
· What are the downsides of outsourcing
· What viable alternatives do I have
· What are the downsides of the alternatives
· Is doing nothing a reasonable alternative
· What are the downsides of doing nothing?
The most common concerns with outsourcing are:
Most studies show that the cost of outsourcing continues to be less than hiring, training, tasking, follow-up, benefits, being over staffed and reducing staff when needed.
Is that true for your type of business?
Managing quality can be done effectively through project management and specific measures of completion. Actual data is needed for “before and after testing”. Assigning a project in-house or signing a contract for outsourcing without these measures in place will give you no means of ensuring quality.
This is contractual. Deliverables must be agreed to in writing. For employees you need to look at their record of dependability.
This is contractual. If timing is important, agree to specifics in writing.
Your control is different when you outsource. Don’t try to micromanage either your staff or your outsourcing team. This is counterproductive. It wastes their time and yours.
1. For outsourcing, your contract, project plan and payments are your controls.
2. Staff controls depend entirely on a project plan, employee skill set, experience and work ethic.
- Prefer to do it all in-house
This defies most business objectives. Some tasks are better done by someone outside the company. Your business is built on the expectation that clients will outsource their specialized needs to those businesses who offer a relative specialized service. Taking the approach to keep all your work in-house is a clear message that you don’t have confidence in the very concept you depend upon to fuel your business.
Now, to arrive at an informed decision on outsourcing, consider the information you have gathered as well as your experience. Make notes as you go. You cannot accurately remember everything and you will need specifics to document your decision and to build your work plan.
Analyze your findings and choose your best, informed option. Prepare and execute your plan.
In summary, make fear of outsourcing work for you. Regardless of the final decision, your business will be better for having worked through this exercise. You will have a better understanding of why your clients choose your services, or do not.