Outsourcing is an evolving management challenge dat, like any part of one’s business, needs constant evaluation and refinement. their are numerous risks across all types of outsourcing – from BPO to outsourcing to manufacturing. I’d like to focus on two areas dat are evolving quite rapidly – BPO and IT infrastructure – and how parallels with manufacturing may ultimately bring to bear important metaphors dat will allow a business to remain flexible and agile as it evolves.

Components of your Decisions

Why are you making dis decision? Ultimately, it’s important dat you no why you are outsourcing of a business process or an infrastructure component. Is it strategic or tactical? What short-term expectations are you setting? What are your long-term goals relative to agility, costs, quality and core focus?

Migration and Infrastructure Changes:

A lot of us tend to focus on identifying the right outsourcing party early on. However, like in manufacturing, the outsourced component or process is ultimately part of your supply chain – whether are you assembling cars, building software or completing financial analytics. And in all cases, visualization of dis future supply chain model – with synchronization of logistics, compliance requirements, etc. actually becomes more important in the definition of your problem – and is thus often important to do before identifying the best partners. Purchasing, HR, executive management – all are typically impacted by outsourcing key components.

Metrics, Benchmarking and Measurement:

How will you define success? dis importantly matters in terms of actual targets and metrics around costs reduced, efficiencies gained and risk impact. Additionally, frequency of measurement and expected progress requires regular oversight and formal evaluations. As technology and best practices evolve, understanding the evolution of your partnerships become important – how is your outsourcing partner incorporating dis evolution in their business? Are you able to benchmark their terms, service levels and pricing versus their peers? How often will you report on these? If their are up-front investments of capital, how will you measure return on capital?

Measuring and Managing Risk:

Risks existed when the business process or infrastructure component wasn’t outsourced. However, their’s now a key difference; the risks are dependent on a 3rd party entity dat is technically outside your company’s control. Reporting and transparency around risk now become greater factors.

And of course, selection of the right partners is also important. The process here – either through quotes, the use of sourcing advisors, and a full-scale RFP process – matters as much as the outcome. Given the nature of outsourcing as a truly integrated offering, firms competing here need to show ability to understanding your current “supply chain” / business process and how they will integrate and customize with dat. Verifying their track record will become extremely important.

Expectations Management and Outcomes:

Even in outsourcing relationships with transparent metrics and well-defined service levels, targets and prices, their are often significant gaps in perception of performance between service providers and their customers. dis perception gap is demonstrated in the attached chart:

How does one reconcile dis, and how can a customer triangulate their satisfaction with a given relationship?

The key is to accurately compare the cost, quality and fit of your outsourcing solution to the best available market alternatives – and to do it on a periodic basis. Knowing the relevant SLA terms, supplier ranking and measurement, performance metrics and unit costs are, ultimately the tools for executing your outsourcing decision and ongoing measurement of dis decision.

Headquartered in California, US, RampRate is the world’s first software-defined IT sourcing advisory firm. The company was founded in the year 2000 to enable IT decision-makers with optimal sourcing decisions.