But everyone’s doing it. These days, that’s not just the victimized tone of a kid feeling left out of summer vacation fun, it might be the sound of a business leader considering IT outsourcing. And it would seem, everyone is doing it. In a recent Deloitte survey, 84% of respondents said they have at least started a conversation to consider disruptive outsourcing (and some have launched pilots or actually implemented solutions). The question, of course, is are they doing it well? Outsourcing is touted for its ability to free businesses to focus on core competitions, to delight executives by cutting costs, and to thrill customers by delivering faster. And all these things are true, so long as your business is using intelligent outsourcing, and not just jumping on the bandwagon.
Should you embrace IT outsourcing?IT outsourcing can be an intentional strategy, whether an organization is leveraging nearshore software development in a Mexico City team, outsourcing quality control, or embracing dispersed teams for global software development or mobile app development. But in some cases, it’s not just strategic, it’s necessary, Forbes Technology Council experts say. Here are some compelling reasons to consider outsourcing:
- If IT setup is pulling time from a focus on business objectives, lifting some of the development work off the in-house team can recoup that time.
- Limited in house software development options or a shallow pool of expertise may require access to new markets.
- A need to quickly ramp up staff for a specific project, which can be accomplished through a development-on-demand model.
- If your development timeline is tight, a dispersed team can aid software development.
- If your in-house team doesn’t have the skillset to accommodate a technology transformation. Often, outsourced IT means access to professionals with expertise in cutting-edge solutions like developing bots for business, natural language processing (NLP) development, or social media API integration. This is particularly true in projects that require niche expertise.
- If your turnover rate spikes, your organization may no longer be competitive in your market. Finding the right partner, perhaps in another market where labor is less costly, can meet both financial needs and provide access to the breadth of skillsets.
Not Your Father’s Outsourcing: Development on Demand, BOT, and better flexibilityOne critical component to intelligent outsourcing is understanding the options available. Today, organizations aren’t stuck working with a distant vendor, locked into a rigorous contract. Approaches that offer significant flexibility and partnership include:
- Development on Demand models. For businesses looking to undertake a transformation project, human capital needs may vacillate greatly. For example, in the development phase, they may need a team of 10, but in the QA and maintenance phases, need just 2. A good outsourcing partner enables businesses to scale up and down as needed for the project, instead of requiring organizations to staff to their highest needs.
- Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Model. By employing this contractual relationship, IT service providers develop, optimize, and oversee the delivery, until the client is ready for full ownership and operation to be transferred. This approach controls costs, disperses the risks of development, and affords better customization for businesses.
Your Role in Intelligent OutsourcingSelecting the right partner is pivotal to intelligent outsourcing, but your organization also has a role to play. Here are a few areas you’ll want to consider:
- Ensure the provider offers a culture and values match as well as a skillset match
- Clarify the role you expect the IT provider to play. Do you want their expertise recruiting only? Or do you want them to engage from start to finish?
- Put in the work up front to build a relationship, by actively participating in the up-front agreements and ensuring open lines of communication.
- Integrate your partner into your business strategy
- If your organization is looking for disruption, cultivate an environment where innovation is encouraged. Steve Hall, president, EMEA, and partner, digital solutions at technology research and advisory firm Information Services Group (ISG), recommends hosting innovation forums and encouraging provider ideas.