If you've been able to resist outsourcing while the world around you is doing it, that's great. However, it might be a good idea to start looking at the outsourcing option if you're seeing one or more of the following happening in your company.
1. You just can't find the right people.
If you find that, despite spreading the word among friends, colleagues and acquaintances in person and on social networks, there are very few applicants for the open positions you're trying to fill, it means there's a shortage of such skills on your side of the woods.
Skills shortage is a cyclical phenomenon in the technology industry, as hot new technologies become the industry's darlings and only a select few experts are available for hire. The good news is that digitalization enables these hot technologies to spread quickly to all parts of the world, where tech-savvy people are quick to learn and adopt them.
Oh, and it's not always new skills that are in short supply; old technologies or legacy systems also have fewer hands working on them, as people jump on the latest technology bandwagon. A small knot of so called "technocrats" who are passionately devoted to these technologies carefully preserve and even nurture them. You'll find these people in pockets in the developing countries where technology has a vocabulary all of its own.
It's ironic, but if you can't hire local, go global!
2. When customers start complaining about the quality of service.
This of course could be just an internal glitch you can set right by an increased dose of training or hiring a few extra hands to attend to customer calls. Do a dispassionate analysis and invest in that training program for your people.
If the complaints still persist, however, it could be a sign that you simply have too many customers to handle in-house. This is when you come to the crossroads – should you hire a small army to mitigate customer woes or find someone else to do it? At this point, leave emotions aside and take the call that's best for your company in the long run. If you decide to go with an outsourcing partner, remember that you are using a shared resource and the cost for having that all-night line open may actually be very small compared to hiring a full-time person on your premises.
3. When you can't keep your employees excited about maintenance.
It's no secret: maintenance work is boring. Whether it is keeping track of the hundreds of pieces of hardware or making sure the thousands of software packages you've purchased are updated regularly, the job can get monotonous. Outsourcing service providers can do much of this monitoring – if not all of it – remotely these days. In addition to maintenance, they can do repairs remotely as well.
If you're already in the technology business, your customers may need you to keep whatever you supply updated too. Rather than have your employees slacking off because of tedium, why not give it out to a specialist at a lower cost?
4. When accounts give you the mother of all headaches.
If you've grown fast and want to continue having that thrill, nothing can give you a bigger headache than that ledger book, metaphorically speaking. At this point in your company's growth curve, you need to get your financial accounts really, really clean and in check – pun intended.
Ambitious number crunchers who refused to be confined to jobs in the Big Five of the accounting world have created several specialist firms to do this for you. They run the latest financial packages and invest in the most up-to-date security systems. Several have both voice and data centers to address customer demands. Their working standards follow the latest U.S. federal and state regulations. So go for the best, and don't settle for anything less.
5. When your local pizza supplier recognizes your voice on the phone.
Admit it. Instead of warm, home-baked plated meals, you and your team have been sustaining yourselves on pizza – or Chinese or Indian – dinners that come out of a box. Quite apart from the fact that this is not a healthy way to live, it shows you just don't have the time for a life outside the office. Remember, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Outsourcing is now a well-trodden path with support systems in place. Take a short walk before you decide to drive down it. Do you see any of these five signs in your organization?