For most organisations outsourcing is the perfect pill for removing internal headaches. A specialised and carefully selected outsourcing partner can deliver significant benefit to the bottom line, support business growth and enhance the organisation’s ability to develop customer-business relationships.
However, there are numerous layers to implementation and one of the most important factors to consider is the level to which an outsourcing partner will be allowed to go.

“There are three different levels of outsourcing and the level your business adopts will depend on what is being outsourced, the functionality required and the duration,” explains Teryl Schroenn, Chief Executive Officer, . “If it is once off project, then only certain elements will be outsourced, if it is a number of projects, then these would be outsourced on a per project basis, and then there is the richer functionality of outsourcing an entire function, department or group.”

Outsourcing has evolved from its roots as a stopgap solution to support a department, to a strategic investment that frees up essential time and resources. To ensure it remains as such, it is important for the business to know exactly what levels are to be outsourced and how much control is to be ceded.

It’s about control
“If you look at the human resources (HR) and functionality within a business, for example, maintaining control of HR allows for more internal engagement, while may more easily be outsourced without impacting on personal relations,” says Schroenn. “You can outsource HR dashboarding and introduce employee self-service to support the HR function while still maintaining control over personal interactions – this is outsourcing on the project level.”
If managing a series of projects, every element can be outsourced while retaining control of the overall implementation. This gives the business a more hands-on approach and is defined as a hybrid application. This gives the business plenty of outsourcing support, but the business keeps its hand in the mix.
“The hybrid solution is a strategic move as it takes away the non-core part of the work, but keeps the parts where there is internal value add,” says Schroenn. “It is a powerful option for the organisation that wants to keep an eye on the risks of outsourcing while harvesting the benefits.”

Not without risk
And there are risks. There must be a chain of accountability established from the start of the relationship with an outsourcing partner and a clear path to resolution if something goes wrong. There is also the risk of costs rising beyond the anticipated savings if accountability and deliverables are not established upfront.

When it comes to benefits there are plenty, of course, which is why outsourcing is so popular.
“You can outsource the boring and tedious elements of any role or department to someone who can handle it all effectively for you instead,” says Schroenn. “A lot of what people in HR and do is load data, so by outsourcing that onerous task you are keeping the information and application of that data in-house while giving employees more room to grow and develop their roles internally.”

Successfully selecting the correct levels of outsourcing for the business are achieved by establishing precise parameters and harnessing the capabilities of the outsourcing partner to enhance your own. It is a mutually beneficial process that can help the business remain flexible, stay on top of the latest technology and scale to suit demand.