Simplifying a process that should not be critical, that make us consume more time than was initially thought and that, quite sure, should be delivered at a lower cost, is the first step to think about outsourcing. However, when the process has certain scale, the background becomes complex and the available information insufficient, making the risk of taking the wrong decision difficult to quantify.
Particularly remarkable is the relative lack of training programs and technical publications around outsourcing. It may be due to the still existing immaturity of many methodologies or, at least, to the huge dispersion when trying tom put them in practice in the real world. Whatever it would be, it seems clear that getting in advance the required preparation is a real challenge.
That, as in other occasions, places us in hands of third party companies, consulting firms among others. Of course they are willing to sell, so fully aligned with outsourcing. But, on top of it, we have to recognize that their arguments look accurate, are well structured and sound quite compelling. They are also well supported by first class clients credentials. With so much in favor, we start wondering whether our concern would not be the result of our own lack of awareness and whether we should be more confidence on experts’ advises.
But arguments against coming from really convinced detractors sound perfectly reasonable as well. And there are always quite a few folks available, heavily awarded in dozens of battles, ready to share wide span of tough experiences about outsourcing.
If both ends are difficult to reconcile, the middle range paradoxically does not seem to exist. Even market analysts themselves confess great difficulty when standardizing responses from C-level contributors before making data, trends or final reports public.
Not easy leaving the loop before we start realizing that this outsourcing, the one including larger scale, the most complex, is not to be bought, but to be built. Then, a new dimension comes in and different opinions (and emotions) difficult to harmonize so far, start fitting together like pieces in a puzzle.
With this new mindset, the focus changes. It is not anymore about the unidirectional "what is your offer”, but about the bidirectional "how do you complement me. This change is now requiring more interactive participation and team building from both sides. The downside is that it is usually going to take an extra effort to the client (still with limited capabilities, but now better oriented on targets) and extra commitment to the supplier, fully confident on its “by default” solutions up to this point but now requiring further restructuring to demonstrate flexibility.
It is not the time now to provide further insight on this matter. However, it is not difficult to note that the final commitment should include the right balance between the industrialization the supplier provides and the adequate level of customization that client requires. Achieving the right balance is really important because it will be the base for a strong relationship in following years, bringing further confidence, to one side, and probably new business opportunities, to the other, along time.
Finally, and despite the additional effort being required, it can be predicted that many companies will have no choice but to go necessarily into outsourcing in a relative near future. It won’t be just because the “further flexibility at lower costs” repeatedly benefit being always sold, but to get access to some of the very relevant competitive advantages these companies will increasingly bring through own innovation.
Innovation itself should be subject of specific interest for the industry as well. That is because, whilst many players are still pursuing competitive growth by stressing their existing solutions at, each time, lower prices, their room to innovate collapses. As a result, their existing solutions lose differentiation in favor of those other players that, even though playing similar strategy, had easier access to funding and, as consequence, to more scalable technologies, leaving them in an enviable position to easily absorb existing contracts and new coming in volumes at those lower prices.
We all know that innovation is the only way to long-term differentiation, and price of services the ultimate way to get it funded.