Blog Archive for October 2012
Whether you are a client or a service provider, a data protection strategy is important. IT outsourcing
is steadily becoming a standard norm, so service providers should have one in place, while clients need to ensure that it is maintained according to their needs.
According to ISG-one.com
, here are five ways that can help your organisation's backup, recovery and data protection strategy up to speed. Review backup solutions annually.
The amount of data keeps growing so itís important that the overall data protection strategy is up-to-date with the needs of the business. Clients and service providers should both review the backup and recovery solution. Focus the strategy on backup.
Create a solution that goes beyond the recovery of a lost or mistakenly deleted file. This provides the right level of data recovery, which in turn ensures business continuity. Monitor and report backup performance.
Regular monitoring and period review enable businesses to identify problems before they occur. These measures also help them asses if the data protection strategy in place is enough if problems do occur. Migrate old backups or delete unnecessary data.
Businesses should avoid retaining old backups in legacy systems or formats. Electronic discovery requests are now becoming more common. Review new or alternative technologies.
The IT industry undergoes constant innovation. Businesses should look into emerging technologies that offer better solutions such as cloud-based backup and storage services. New technologies often have better options for data recovery and backup that old versions may not have or failed to provide.
Businesses should not over or underestimate their data protection solution. Downtimes are mostly caused by avoidable problems rather than natural disasters. With a good strategy in place, businesses are prepared for power outages, security breaches, hardware failure, and human error.
The BPO industry started with call centres. They provided offshore customer support for consumers around the world. Today, the industry is capable of delivering complex processes that go beyond voice-based services. In Australia, businesses are starting to move jobs overseas from sectors such as IT
, finance and insurance, and administration.
One of the business processes that have become a popular choice for outsourcing is training. When done right, it can lead to cost savings, increased efficiency, and better management. According to Business2Community
, here are five tips that can help you achieve these benefits. Strategic use of resources.
Small and medium-sized businesses can use outsourcing to ease the burden of maintaining staff. This enables businesses to concentrate on their core functions and other revenue-generating tasks. Successful businesses focus on what they do best, and outsource non-core tasks to offshore experts. In addition to that, outsourcing provides an easier way to access expertise that is not available within their company. Look for service providers with change management expertise.
Businesses undergo significant changes when they outsource. They should look for service providers that can help them transition into these changes as smoothly as possible.Implement a rigorous selection process.
Businesses should ask for a detailed written proposal from potential service providers. Through this request, they will find out if the service provider's approach fits their business. By making the right choice, they can avoid costly and complicated problems along the way.
Implement a thorough assessment.
Businesses should assess if the service provider is willing to take the extra step in delivering the solutions that fit their processes. A responsible service provider will gain an in-depth understanding of their core competencies and be accountable for training. Establish consistent communication.
Communication is very important when dealing with a service provider that's in a different continent. Australian businesses should choose a service provider that speaks their language. Low-cost destinations with a workforce that has excellent English language skills such as the Philippines are beneficial. Businesses can easily conduct regular meetings, updates or request for written reports.
The easiest way to avoid problems when outsourcing is to have a rigorous selection process. Businesses should look beyond cost savings and potential profit. They need to review other critical areas to make sure that the service provider they choose fits their business.
Here are several factors that clients should consider when choosing a service provider: Find the right, not the best, service provider.
The keyword here is not "best" but "right". Outsourcing is now a typical cost-cutting move for businesses around the world. The demand has led to the rise of business process outsourcing (BPO) service providers in low-cost countries such as India, the Philippines, as well as China and Vietnam. Businesses need to choose the service provider that fits their company profile, instead of just the lowest rates.
Ask for a comprehensive request for proposal (RFP) /request for quote (RFQ).
Clients will be able to clearly communicate the expectations and services they require, as well as attract potential service providers. Businesses should require categorised and standardised responses so that they can easily compare and analyse service providers. Evaluate the expertise of service providers.
Clients should examine the service provider's ability to deliver and meet required service levels. This includes expertise, infrastructure, and management. They should also compare service providers which offer the same services. Examine the service provider's viability in the long run.
Terminating an outsourcing deal comes with risks and costs, so clients should evaluate the service provider's long-term viability.
Businesses should examine:
- Capital for research and development. Continuous improvement on both sides is beneficial.
- Major customers. This helps businesses in finding out if the service provider has experience in their industry.
- Susceptibility to the loss of a big account. This enables businesses to determine the service provider's track record and if they have the infrastructure in place to deal with losses.
- Finance. Businesses can find out if the service provider can still meet their obligations if they lose a major client or get hit by unexpected events that may impact operation.
Clients should evaluate where the service provider will execute the delivery. Outsourcing to a different country poses culture and language barriers. Cost savings will be useless if the client or their customers can't understand the offshore agents, and vice versa. Businesses should outsource to countries that they can relate to or have a culture that is compatible to theirs. Outsourcing
destinations such as the Philippines are among the top choices because of their strong affinity with Western culture.
Business processing outsourcing (BPO) is steadily becoming the norm. Outsourcing deals can reduce costs, provide access to a new talent pool, and enable businesses to focus on core competencies. Like any other contract, outsourcing deals come with risks.
According to an article at Christian Today Australia
, here are four tips that will help clients avoid the "high-tech equivalent of a bad marriage and costly divorce". Don't focus on the bottomline.
The main driver for outsourcing has always been cost savings. However, scrimping on investments can limit options for productivity and innovation. Investing in emerging technologies and services are important. This helps your company to keep abreast of changes in the marketplace, as well as get ahead of the competition. Teamwork.
An outsourcing contract is not an automated fix. Both the client and the service provider need to work together for a successful outsourcing relationship. Clients need to practice good governance, while service providers need to show accountability. Both parties need to work together to ensure that goals are met and agreed service levels are delivered. Collaboration also fosters innovation and continuous improvement. Invest in experience
The most inexpensive option is not always the best solution. Clients should take the time to scout several service providers. They should look at experience and skills. They will avoid a lot of frustration by choosing a service provider with offshore agents they can relate to. The Philippines has proven itself as an outsourcing
destination because majority of its workers are fluent in English. Go with the flow.
In the business world, change is inevitable. There will always be emerging trends and economic events that may have an impact to your business. Businesses should invest in new technologies and services. Yes, these may change some tried-and-tested processes, but these can also lead to something better.
In an article published at computerweekly.com
, Gartner, a global market analyst firm, lists nine steps that can help clients make bad outsourcing deals good. Assess the outsourcing deal.
Clients should identify the impact of the outsourcing contract, investment required to fix issues, and prioritise solutions. Services, finances, and agreement with the service provider should be addressed. Identify goals for improvement.
After a thorough assessment, clients should determine the goals for improvement. These include financial requirements, resources needed to fix the problem, necessary changes to improve governance, service levels, and scope of work. Once these are identified, the steps needed to achieve these goals are then defined.
New goals should be prioritised by the client and service provider. Both sides must agree on these changes and how they are going to be implemented. Escalate.
An escalation plan is developed to determine who should be involved in which goal. As part of the process, both sides should seek approval at the right levels. Aiming too high may not get the right action and aiming too low won't fix the issue. Have a client executive.
A client executive must be assigned to ensure that changes are implemented properly and on time. The client executive should be in place at the start of the process. Review meetings.
The client and service provider should hold monthly meetings to review and change the plan. The updated plans are then disseminated to all stakeholders. New issues may arise when changes are made, so long-term commitment from both sides is necessary. Have regular updates.
A list of updates must be made for the stakeholders. This covers issues and processes that were tackled in the plan. It should also have complete details and be given at the right time.
Tackle personal issues from both sides. Implementing any change requires cooperation and motivation from both sides
. The client and service provider should resolve any issues or differences. Once this is done, the plan will be much more manageable. Implement a risk management plan.
Changes to an outsourcing contract can be risky. Clients can reduce or manage risks by implementing a comprehensive risk management plan.
Cost reduction has always been the leading driver for outsourcing. However, outsourcing contracts that are built to reduce costs and risks also limit options to improve labour productivity. As a result, they can lead to "highly controlled mechanistic systems that only create robotic behaviors," according to management consultant Margaret Wheatley.
Saving money is necessary but controlling costs is not sufficient to create value for customers and stakeholders. According to ISG-one.com
, here are top five ideas that can help you increase productivity when outsourcing. Clear outsourcing objective.
Businesses should design an operational model that suits their objectives. To reduce costs, they can focus on economies of scale, labour arbitrage, agile development, demand management, and cloud computing. To increase production, they can turn to process engineering, automation, virtualisation, and resource efficiency. Measure output and establish a baseline.
Businesses that establish a benchmark for costs and service levels gain a better view of their overall performance. This can be done by finding out how resources are utilised and measuring output.
Align interests from both the demand and supply.
Clients and the service providers should have a clear understanding on who profits from greater productivity. Outsourcing contracts that include incentives and service levels steer both parties at the same direction, share the benefits, and maintain focus on improvement. Encourage the right behaviour.
The key ingredient for success is still an efficient workforce. To improve productivity, businesses should select, empower, and motivate the right employees. Outsourcing contracts should foster collaboration, innovation, purpose, and continuous improvement.
Good contract governance. A successful outsourcing relationship is a two-way street.
Clients should have a proactive role and manage their contract efficiently. This reduces service level errors and cumulative costs that affect both the client and service provider.