For decades now, companies have used different outsourcing models to gain some strategic advantage. Be it by partnering up with a company to manufacture entire product lines or by collaborating with a third party in a specific project or task, modern businesses are no strangers to the practice of outsourcing. It might be that familiarity, though, that poses outsourcing’s biggest risk.
Although a lot of companies have outsourced at least one process at one point or another, most of them approach it in the same old way: they meet with the outsourcing provider, discuss the tasks to be outsourced and work together on a schedule. After that, the provider is left to work on its own following the predefined timeline. This model has worked for decades and continues to do so even today. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.
Nowadays, we have invaluable technologies that can assist us in virtually every business process. Outsourcing isn’t an exception. And there’s a particular technology that can truly revolutionize how you can outsource your tasks, be it when you collaborate with a Latin American software outsourcing company or when working with an Asia-based manufacturer. We’re talking about big data.
It’s funny how, even when using big data across industries for a multitude of purposes, companies haven’t truly considered using it as a way to boost their outsourcing procedures. Perhaps they haven’t realized the true potential they can get out of using big data when outsourcing. Is your company among them? Then keep reading to find out how you can turn big data into your biggest outsourcing ally.
Why Use Big Data In Outsourcing
All outsourcing projects start with a predefined plan that includes a schedule in which both parties agree on deadlines and deliverables. Such a plan needs to balance seemingly different points, such as the hiring company’s desire to have the finished work as soon as possible and the outsourcing partner’s procedures and workflow. Thus, the resulting schedule feels more like a compromise than a precise plan.
What’s more – there might be (better yet, there will be) unforeseen events that will surely disrupt the predefined timeline and cause different modifications to the original plan. In the end, the whole outsourcing process might have changed a lot to a point where the entire procedure might feel unproductive. That’s when big data comes in.
By using big data algorithms in the outsourcing process, you’ll bring more operational visibility to the whole procedure. By using reliable data to inform the outsourcing project, both you and your outsourcing partner can create a more productive relationship in a workable framework that clearly shows what’s happening when it’s happening. Big data lays all the cards on the table for you and your outsourcing provider to anticipate issues during production, identify bottlenecks, more accurately define sprints, and create a more flexible yet productive outsourcing method.
Therefore the most significant advantage of using big data when outsourcing is tracking the entire work to gather data that can then provide insights as to what’s working and what’s not. In that way, both you and your outsourcing company can make adjustments in the areas pointed out by data analysis. What is the best way to do this? Make sure you keep an eye on the following three factors that greatly impact the amount of value you can get out of your outsourcing partnership.
The Outsourcing Liaison
Whoever you choose to work with as your connection with your outsourcing partner has to have the right mix of skills, knowledge, and authority to fill that role. Such a position can only be filled by an individual that knows about the procedures being outsourced, but that also has enough decision power to make a call when needed.
While that might feel true for all kinds of outsourcing partnerships, it’s especially crucial for outsourced projects that want to adopt big data in their workflow. Since there will be a lot of data floating around in real-time, the need to properly comprehend it in context, understand the insights provided by the analysis algorithms, and act on it is crucial.
That means you can’t just pick anyone in your in-house team representing the company in the deals with the outsourcing partner. In fact, you need to assess if the person responsible for the outsourced tasks in your company is the best fit to serve as your liaison with the outsourcing company. That’s because outsourcing isn’t the same as working in-house, so you have to be prepared to appoint someone else to ensure governability and collaboration in the outsourced process.
The Outsourcing Technologies
One of the things that we here at BairesDev are always insisting on when picking an outsourcing partner is looking for someone with the right technology to ensure a proper collaboration. This implies a lot of things, from having the right communication platforms to using suitable project management software. Virtually all reputable outsourcing companies have these technologies in place. However, when it comes to using big data, things change.
Not all outsourcing partners use big data to inform their procedures. However, even if they do, that doesn’t guarantee they are ready to meet the needs of a big data-driven approach to outsourcing. That’s because you need the right big data technology to ensure that both you and your outsourced partner will have the correct data and insights to make strategic decisions.
Thus, you must have a platform at your disposal that can increase the workflow’s visibility by capturing data from all sensitive points. It would help if you made sure that such a platform has benchmarks, SLAs, and metrics that lead to more precise analysis. Finally, that platform has to be able to brief you with real-time information through reports that are easy to digest and don’t distract you from your core business activities.
The Co-Management Approach
Finally, here’s something you might not have considered, but that can be essential for implementing big data into your outsourcing practices – developing a co-management approach. While it’s true that a lot of companies look to outsource parts or entire processes to increase agility and focus on their key value drivers, involving yourself in specific parts of the outsourcing process can be highly beneficial.
In fact, aligning your strategy and goals with your outsourcing partner can bring further value to the result – provided that such an alignment isn’t a one-off event at the beginning of the outsourcing project. Establishing a collaboration process with clear boundaries and knitted with the thread of big data can ensure an increased commitment and lead to better decision-making thanks to an enhanced mutual understanding.
For this to happen, the right liaison and the right technologies are paramount, as they’ll be the essential channels for the collaboration to blossom. It’s impossible to think of a big data approach to outsourcing without one of these three factors that greatly influence your ability to make insightful decisions on the fly.
A Change Of Pace
As you can see, the idea of introducing big data into your outsourcing model has to exceed the concept of hiring an outsourcing partner that uses a big data solution in its workflow. You have to put yourself into the process and take a more proactive approach. Even when you’re outsourcing just as a way to focus on your core activities, being involved in outsourcing through a big data approach can undoubtedly change the results’ quality.
If you’re to unleash the true potential behind outsourcing, then you need to contemplate a different way of doing things. Today that means adopting a big data-driven model that provides you with all the tools you need to monitor the outsourcing process better, thus increasing the likelihood of success.