Outsourcing, which is becoming a common practice across a broad spectrum of industries and businesses, involves hiring out a certain section of your work or business process to a third party service provider. A party that outsources may do so for various reasons, ranging from wanting to cut overhead costs, to meet short-term or long-term goals, to improve efficiency, and to get quality and specialized service. You can outsource offshore, near-shore or locally, depending on what is being outsourced. To get the best results, it is essential to choose the service providers wisely and to review the outsourcing contracts with care.
It is essential, at the start, to have a very clear idea about what you want to outsource, why these particular tasks need to be outsourced, and what type and level of service you expect from the service provider. It will help to calculate your current costs and compare these with the outsource charges. Preferably the latter should be lower or, especially if you are getting better, more specialized service, at least in the same neighborhood.
The next step is to research business process outsourcing providers in the area you want to outsource. What is their experience? Have they worked with clients from your industry? What kind of skill sets do they have and what types of technologies do they use? Ask for references, check their client track record and review the quality of their work.
It is important to find out if services providers can operate with minimum intervention. What are their rates? There is no point in outsourcing to someone that you have to check on constantly or whose rates are beyond your budget; you are after all outsourcing to save time and money, and use both profitably in another area of your business. It is important to keep in mind though that there is no such thing as an absolutely perfect outsource provider, and you will have to negotiate to meet mutual needs.
Once you have selected a provider who can meet your goals and your budget, the third step is to draw up the outsourcing contracts. This is vital to protect the interests of both the client and the provider. The best outsourcing contracts cover all possible aspects of the outsourcing project, like the scope and details of the project, the level and quality expected, the completion time-frame and payment type and mode.
Outsourcing contracts should have a certain amount of flexibility, so that it is possible to incorporate any new changes, developments or technologies that may benefit you better in the years to come. While getting the contract details is important, it is equally essential to focus on establishing a good, collaborative relationship with your service provider. The outcome is more likely to be positive if it involves a win-win situation for everyone involved.