Knock Knock…Who’s there?Outsourcing, what we have experienced,what we do, how it works for usRori and Karl… ConciseCreative.com.au(the production of this slideshow was not outsourced)
Outsourcing is never black and white…• Please put your hands up if you believe outsourcing is bad?• Now for those with their hands up, please keep your hands up if you own an iPhone or iPad?• Amazingly you people who believe outsourcing is bad, have purchased products that were built via an outsourced company!!!!
The job that went to an Indian…• A long time ago… in a land far far away (South Africa)…• A website coding job was outsourced to company A in India…• Which was then outsourced to person B in India…• Which was then outsourced to another company C in India…• Company C were never paid by person B. Company C then looked into the website they were working on, found it live with a “Web design by xxx” in the footer. Politely they contacted the original South African company to inform them they hadn’t received payments for their work.
The job that went to an Indian…• Upon this realization the South African company were lucky that the CLIENT hadn’t been contacted directly.• Person B had “apparently” done a runner, which explained why changes and problems with the websites code had not been rectified.• The company then found the design that was originally done in-house being used as a portfolio design piece on the website of Company C.• Of course Company A had a different version of events, but were somewhat aggressive about the whole situation… needless to say they were never contracted again.
The job that went to an Indian…• Sadly that was actually a true story!• It probably reflects what we would all consider a bad and/or desperate outsource model where too many risks outweigh any potential benefit gained from such a relationship.• The biggest risk associated with this story is that there was no understanding of who was involved. With this in mind, how can a project run smoothly? How can ideas be properly communicated?
Karl’s Outsourced Job To An Indian• Did a website a few years ago, private job for a contact I made years ago. I had a tonne of other freelance work on at the time, so I figured I would simply do the design, and off load the Joomla build to someone I found on the internet.• Well having spent the money upfront, the code came back crap… which is pretty hard for me to say being a non coder!!!• None of the functions needed worked, there was a whole heap of inline styles, use of tables for layout and I do believe even a frame was used somewhere too.
Karl’s Outsourced Job To An Indian• In short, I lost 2/3rds of the money paid out to that company. Then later found they were also using my design in their portfolio.• I also had to then get a friend (and a decent coder) to rebuild the whole thing from scratch. Leaving me more out of pocket.• Because I essentially missed the deadline for this project, I had to sacrifice some of the final invoicing value as a good will gesture.• I probably ended up wasting upwards of 40hrs on a project I never really had the time to take on, and worked out my final payday from it would have been worth less than $5/hr.
The Middle Path…• We don’t believe outsourcing is inherently good or bad.• It serves a purpose, provides us, as a company, flexibility to adapt to clients needs.• It can be a great tool for increasing short term work capacity and for bringing in the right skills and/or resources for specific projects.• We don’t just build websites, we offer custom marketing based solutions, that websites are often a part of.
The Concise Approach• Somewhere between Idealism and Reality is what we would call the business zone. In short, given the brief we have to find a balance between the perfect project and the reality of the budget constraints.• Ideally we would love to hire a few developers to cover every programming language. Maybe a few photographers, illustrators, the list is almost endless.• The reality is, we have never had a high enough demand for some of these services to warrant hiring full time staff to fill every role.• Instead we have built a network of professionals to step in as and when the need arises to support the delivery of some projects.
The Concise Approach• The first step in any project really is to sit down and understand the clients needs. That is primarily what the team at HQ focus on.• If we have the time and resources to manage all aspects of the project in-house, we will. If, for example, we don’t have specific coding skills needed for a project, those skills will be outsourced.• The key to successful project delivery is always on communication, right from the start of the project, through to everyone involved in every aspect of the project and then back to the client.
Why Outsourcing Works For Us• We deal with outsource partners we can communicate effectively with. Either via a phone call, email, skype or preferably over coffee if the project calls for it. Our team is literally spread across the globe.• Some of our outsource partners are actually former members of staff we have built a great working relationship with. We understand them and they understand us.• Other outsource partners are people our employees may have worked alongside, or have been recommended to us. What is important is that a relationship is built between the partners to help ensure all projects run smoothly and as efficiently as possible.
Why Outsourcing Works For Us• Communication is the key. The ability to communicate ideas effectively to outsource partners helps us deliver projects that exceed clients expectations.• In some cases the outsource partnership becomes a two way relationship. One of our South African partners has outsourced work back to us in areas or skill sets they were lacking in.• Even with the best planning, annual leave, sick leave and a sudden influx of clients who finally respond to their emails can cause a major blockage in the work funnel. Outsourcing can help keep things moving if staff just don’t have the man hours available.
Why Outsourcing Works For Us• Financial reasons are a big consideration. If cash flow is a problem, outsourcing can be more profitable, which keeps a company functioning, paying its staff and keeps local suppliers employed. We only use Australian based servers and printers.• The model can be highly efficient when managed correctly.• Outsourcing isn’t just about cutting costs, it’s really about delivering high quality results to the client.
Outsourcing Risks• Outsourcing can increase costs if you don’t have the right partner and processes in place. Due diligence is needed when selecting them.• Outsourcing can fail with a lack of constant and possibly real-time communication, it really is that simple!• There will be problems along the way, no different to actually hiring staff internally. Nothing is perfect, don’t be afraid to hurt peoples feelings, engage with your partners and work to develop an open and productive partnership.
Summary• Outsourcing can be good, bad and a complete disaster!• It enables us to work and collaborate with talented and passionate people on a regular basis, allowing them to focus on their strengths.• Projects are all managed in-house, some tasks are outsourced.• It helps cash flow by reducing work bottle necks and associated staffing costs for niche services where we have little demand.• It helps us bridge the gap between our idealism and the realities of the business world.• Good outsource partners become an extension of your team and can provide extra strength to your overall business offering.
Final Thought• Since moving to WA, we have admired the buy local, support local concept. The reality is, the business world doesn’t operate this way.• Some of the biggest corporations in the world rely so heavily on outsourcing, that the model has enabled them to stash billions in the bank… or at least that is the case for Apple thanks to those of us who have purchased their products (remember the first slide).• Website code can be good or bad, so can the design, outsourcing can be a means to deliver design and/or coding, the quality of the outsourcing will determine whether it is good or bad.