The outsourcing model has grown enormously in popularity over the past few years. From software development to social media to customer service, businesses all over the world are using outside services — sometimes on the other side of the world — to handle projects and tasks. There are many benefits to outsourcing, including cost-savings and expertise.
Are you considering hiring an outsourced provider to handle work on your organization’s behalf? Here are 7 questions to ask yourself before making the decision.
1. What’s My Budget?
While cost is no longer the sole driving factor for outsourcing services, it’s still an important reason for outsourcing. Think about your budget for the project or tasks at hand. If it can’t accommodate the resources you’ll need to buy and the full-time employees you’ll need to pay, outsourcing might be a good alternative.
This is especially true if you outsource the work to providers in developing countries, such as those in Latin America or Asia. Often, the services are significantly cheaper than the ones you’ll find in the United States or Western Europe. However, you shouldn’t automatically select the cheapest vendor. Make sure you’re getting quality for a fair price.
2. How Does the Project Fit Into the Overall Company Mission?
Mission-critical tasks — those that are essential for keeping your business moving and thriving — may require your in-house employees’ knowledge of the organization. However, those projects that aren’t necessarily your primary offering can probably be outsourced to an external provider who doesn’t need to know the ins and outs of your business, just what’s essential for completing the job well. This allows you to focus on doing the work you do best.
For example, if you’re a business consulting firm looking to build an app to streamline client communication, this project is a good candidate for software development outsourcing, since it’s not your organization’s primary work.
3. How Frequently Do I Need This Service?
In a similar vein, a service you don’t need every day is something that you should consider outsourcing. For instance, you might like to run a one-time advertising campaign. You could outsource the specific project to an advertising company or augment your on-site marketing department with additional professionals on a one-time basis.
Even if you need the service more than once or on a regular schedule, think about outsourcing tasks that don’t constitute a full-time job. You could contract a provider to put in a certain number of hours or complete a designated number of projects during a period of time.
4. What Specialization Do I Need?
Another reason why businesses outsource services is the lack of requisite skills in-house. When you look outside the organization — even to other countries — chances are, you’ll find someone with the specialization you need.
For example, you may have a small software development team but no designated iOS developer on staff. You might outsource a native app development project to an outside specialist to build it. Or, maybe you don’t have an accountant working for you full-time. You could hire a third party to handle your financial and budgeting tasks for you.
5. What Resources Do I Need?
Resources you won’t use very often probably aren’t worth the investment. Outsourcing providers come with their own resources, including equipment and manpower, that you won’t need to pay for separately.
Even if you have the necessary resources for a given project, think about outsourcing because you may dedicate them to other purposes. Perhaps you have a particularly high volume of customer service calls during the holiday season. In this case, you might hire an external customer service provider to lend a hand, giving you additional representatives and devices to respond to calls and messages.
6. What’s the Project Timeline?
Urgent needs usually require you to expend more time and resources. When you hire an outside team to assist you or take on the project on their own, they can often turn it around much more quickly than your organization could on its own. That’s because, unlike you, they don’t have to stay on top of other projects and tasks — their sole concern is to complete a high-quality project for you.
7. How Quickly Am I Scaling?
If you’re a new or emerging business, you could be expanding rapidly. As you do, you probably don’t have the time to vet and hire full-time, permanent employees. Instead, you’ll need to fill in the gaps quickly as they arise. In order to meet the needs of both your current staff and your customers, you could outsource processes. Later on, you might replace them with in-house team members or incorporate the services into your business model.
Outsourcing services of many different types and specialties can help you solve problems, complete tasks more quickly, and more. As you consider when and how to outsource, keep these questions in mind to guide your decision-making in order to choose the best providers and models for your business.