What can my business offshore or outsource?

Business owners who have considered offshoring or outsourcing in the past, or have had a poor experience with it, are no doubt curious as to how other businesses have made it work so well. This is particularly so now with the development and uptake of cloud-based technology has made it easier than ever for businesses to develop, implement and effectively manage an outsourced or offshored workforce.

The rapid development of technology, increasing sophistication of offshore and outsourced service providers and availability of different delivery options mean that businesses can now select a solution tailored to their specific needs. Although having a wide selection of service providers and a variety of service delivery options is great for businesses, it may actually create uncertainty around what option may work for them and what functions can and should be outsourced or offshored.

The success or failure of an offshore or outsourced workforce depends on a business having a good idea on what components of their business can be successfully completed offshore. Many of the stories of an unsuccessful implementation stem around businesses trying to offshore roles that should be maintained locally or trying to roll out an offshore or outsourced workforce too quickly. Either of these scenarios will likely result in failure. Understanding that not everything can be offshored or outsourced is critical to success followed by a measured, strategic and project-based roll out.

This poses the question as to what can your business effectively offshore or outsource.

A key element in the planning stage is how to strategically select which roles to outsource or offshore. The best way to start this approach is to consider the functions that are important, but not critical elements to a business’ success. These are usually core roles that support the more critical functions of the business. Examples of roles that can (and have) been successfully offshored or outsourced include:

Administrative Services

Virtual assistants are capable of handling routine administrative tasks such as checking and answering emails daily, managing a director’s personal schedule, organising and managing a database, travel arrangements, data entry and documentation.

Customer Support

Offshoring or outsourcing of customer support has been occurring for over a decade. Many large organisations have been using offshored or outsourced workforces to provide customer service in the form of phone or online support. A major benefit of offshoring or outsourcing customer support is the increasing importance of being responsive to customer queries on a 24/7 basis.

A number of US-based companies have transferred some of their customer support responsibilities to different outsourcing companies like those in the Philippines, where employees have a high proficiency in American English.

Accounting Solutions

Most, if not, all companies require assistance in accounting or finance. Whether it is for recording financial statements, payroll, bookkeeping and other accounting tasks. Businesses, especially start-ups, tend to neglect this task as they are focused on running their core operations. As a result, they end up struggling to keep up with compliance requirements when they are about to undergo auditing. This is where outsourcing comes to the rescue.

Creative Solutions

Businesses outsource or offshore their visual and content requirements for branding. This includes graphic design for both offline and online marketing purposes. This can include logos, banners, flyers, brochures, magazines, and posters. Creative solutions also include content development such as blogs, articles for press releases, scripts, and web content.

Legal Process Services

Law firms have been utilizing offshore and outsourced resources to reduce the administrative burden on local resources. Tasks that can be undertaken offshore include simple documentation development, precedent and workflow development, legal research, word processing, and data entry.

Marketing Support

Businesses have ventured on to boosting their marketing efforts through outsourcing, especially in the digital marketing field. Executing search engine optimisation activities, rolling out email marketing campaigns, social media management and online advertising are just a few of the marketing support services that can be offshored or outsourced.

Outsourcing and offshoring can be an effective way to grow your business and increase competitiveness in your industry.

Although this is the case, it is important to understand that there is no ‘one size fits all’ way of doing so. Diving into the process without investing any time or effort in determining what you can offshore or outsource will result in a less than desirable result.

A measured, strategic and planned approach to offshoring and outsourcing will provide positive results. Start small and identify roles that can easily be offshored. Achieve success, secure organizational buy-ins and then scale-up as your understanding and knowledge base increases. This is the benefit Diversify provides. We work with you right from the beginning in growing your understanding before you jump in.

It is important to remember that the tasks you should consider outsourcing may vary depending on your industry. For companies planning to use offshore labour, it is advisable not to pass on tasks that are highly critical to the company’s main strategy, especially at the start. Create a plan, budget the costs and document what success will look like before embarking upon your outsourcing or offshoring journey.

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