Someone in one of my LinkedIn groups asked this question: “Where is the best place to outsource?” Now, he was from an outsourcing company and was only trying to raise awareness for his company, but the responses made me smile.
Most responses mirrored my advice: Avoid outsourcing if at all possible and keep it in house. I understand…many companies outsource because they feel it’s their only option. They can’t afford to keep the work in-house and outsourcing makes perfect financial sense on paper.
However, as countless companies learned the hard way, the reality of outsourcing doesn’t usually match the “money-saving” perception. There are plenty of factors to consider depending on what area of your business you want to outsource. For example:
Moving your customer support overseas might save a bunch of money on paper. However, the true impact of a move like this is extremely difficult to measure. For example, how many customers will you drive away with your degraded service? They won’t tell you. They’ll just leave. How many potential customers will hear about your poor service and buy from a competitor? There’s no way to know. Those aren’t the only pitfalls of outsourced customer service. Check out this recent news article for a real-life example.
Okay, so let’s keep customer support in-house and outsource the internal help desk. That won’t negatively impact the company, will it? Guess again. I know of a few companies that outsourced their internal help desk to save money. They soon realized that IT issues were resolved 3-5 times slower than before, damaging productivity and frustrating the employees.
Want to outsource application development? You will need to consider data security, communication, and business knowledge. However, I really can’t think of any good reasons to outsource web application development. Why? Because there are tools available that will allow you to do develop web applications in-house faster and cheaper than outsourcing. You can use your current staff and save money. There’s no downside.
Remember, outsourcing is never as good as it appears on paper. Consider every area of your business that might possibly be affected, even the areas that are difficult to measure. Also, don’t assume outsourcing is your only option. Look for tools and strategies that empower your own employees.