When a business cannot deal with the workload in house, a candidate or party outside of the business is often hired to assist in performing those services. This is called outsourcing, and it’s a practice that companies sometimes use to cut costs – especially if it’s easier to do this than to train up another employee.
The best model of outsourcing is one that meets the needs of the business. Clearly identifying those needs is a strategic step to take to ensure that the model chosen is the right one. There are four types of models when it comes to outsourcing.
The freelance model of outsourcing assigns work to a freelance worker, which can be long-term, short-term, part-time or full-time. Jobs can be posted to freelance sites, freelancers can bid on them and you can select who you would like to work with. This model is a quick and easy way to get one-off projects completed that require special skills or obtain a little extra help during the busy season.
Pros: Cost-effective, quick and the skills needed for the job can be sourced
Cons: Overselling skills, difficult to brief, and jobs can be further outsourced by freelancers.
This model focuses on project-based work and involves outsourcing entire projects to a specialised outsourcing centre. Essentially all you have to do is provide the centre with the project requirements, and they will carry out the development work, project management and quality control through to the project’s completion.
Pros: Less work to be done by you, cost-effective in money and time, new staff aren’t needed and there is a fixed cost for the project.
Cons: May lack local knowledge if located overseas, time zone and language barriers can be difficult to overcome
With the business process outsourcing model, a service provider sets up and operates an offshore office for you that they hand over when it is ready. Essentially, it’s contracting a business or organisation that hires another company to perform a process task required by the hirer for the business’ operational success. The provider has the facilities, setup, office environment and management required for global team members to work.
Pros: offers improved productivity, increased capacity, no need to worry about other sectors, inexpensive and an easy way to grow your team.
Cons: Large-scale BPOs can be more expensive to run and can be difficult to communicate needs and wants if the BPO doesn’t understand your industry or business.
This model is the model you want to employ if you’d like to build a separate office outside of your home country with more than 25 staff. To begin with, and much like a BPO, a provider ensures that there is a workspace and office equipment, and hires the employees. Rather than have the provider run the business for you, they then transfer the operation back to you.
Pros: Create work culture and environment among global team members, costs are less expensive than a BPO if there are more than 15 employees.
Cons: Can be expensive to set up, operating under foreign work ethics and work cultures can impact team management and requires time and effort to invest in the business in person.
Always consider what is best suited for your business, and confer with professional advisors before implementing a strategy regarding outsourcing