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Archive for the 'Outsourcing Research / Trends' Category

A Guide to Outsourcing Web Development

by: aramirez

Monday, February 03, 2014 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

According to the National Australia Bank’s Online Retail Sales Index, Australian consumers spent about $14.4 billion in online purchases in 12 months to October from last year. In response, more businesses are increasingly using online marketing. The Sensis e-Business Report for 2013 found that 60 per cent of Aussie SMEs are using a website to promote their business.

In short, everyone's online. While there are still customers who would purchase in the store, many check the business online first. The convenience of online retail extends to both the entrepreneur and consumer as it's fairly easy to use.

However, building a website still has its challenges. If you can't write a single line of code or can't afford to have an in-house web developer, outsourcing web development is a practical alternative.

The Essentials

First you have to pick three important requirements:

Pick and register a domain name.
It should be simple, short, and unique but easy to remember and understand. Avoid using special characters because it will be hard for you to give it verbally. It'll be tiring to keep explaining yourself.

Subscribe to website hosting service.
As the name suggests, it hosts your website on a server so it can be accessible via the internet. The service is charged monthly or annually.

There are types of web hosting service:

  • Shared web hosting - your site is hosted in a server with other websites. It's ideal for new websites and comes with a limited bandwidth. 
  • Virtual private server - it's similar to shared web hosting but there are less websites per server. It includes full root or administration access to its own operating system which is installed in a virtual environment. This is recommended for advanced users who need to install specific software or packages. 
  • Dedicated web hosting - your website gets access to the whole server. It also comes with a full root or administration access like a virtual private server. This is recommended for websites with high traffic or custom requirements that are not available in shared web hosting.

The Content Management System

Once you are finished with the requirements, you can send your domain login details to your chosen web developer.

Use a content management system if you need to upload text and images constantly. WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal are the most common. WordPress is the easiest to set up as it already comes with themes and plug-ins. If you don't need a CMS, you can build your site on a framework. PHP, .NET, ASPX, are the most common.

If you just need a simple site, tools such as Tackk, Wix, and Weebly are alternatives. But if you're going to build a business, it's best to work with experts.

Outsourcing Website Development

You can either hire an offshore web developer or lease a team for a project. Here are three important things that you need to remember:

  • Iron out all the details as much as possible. Provide a full scope of the website including sitemap and possible wireframes. Ensure that the web developer has everything so that your website will work exactly the way you want it. If not, gaps will lead to more development work and bad code.
  • You need to stay committed. Building a website is a long process. Even after the website is done, you still need to test it. The worst case is spending $30k to get it up and running, then bolting out after six months because the idea didn't take off.
  • You get what you pay for. You can get an inexpensive web developer but if you're in this for the long term, you have to invest money and time in it. Talk to previous clients and find out how their work is done. Don't just trust a portfolio.
  • Communication is key. If you're outsourcing web development, you need to ensure that the web developer is able to articulate their thoughts very well. Outsource nearshore or to a country that has a little difference in time zone.
  • Work with an outsourcing partner. Hiring and working with a freelancer require additional tasks apart from managing the development. If disputes and payments become problematic, they will be disastrous. Working with a reputable company reduces risks and smooths out the process.  

Outsourcing web development is a big initiative, but it's an important part of making your business accessible to both new and existing customers.


How to Improve Your Data Protection Strategy

by: Arline Ramirez

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

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 it’s 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.  
 

How to Choose the Right Service Provider

by: Arline Ramirez

Thursday, October 11, 2012 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

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.
Country assessment.
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.  


Innovation in Client-Service Provider Relationships

by: Arline Ramirez

Wednesday, September 19, 2012 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

Clients often complain that they don't receive enough innovation from their offshore service providers. At the recent Sourcing Industry Conference, organisers asked a group of service providers why this is so.  

Service providers defined innovation as a two-way street. Clients don't understand that it's a collaborative process. They don't provide an active role and the specifics to create the innovation they demand.

According to an article at ISG-one.com, here are five ideas from service providers that clients can use to be able to formulate what kind of innovation they need.

Define innovation.
Each person has his or her own definition of innovation. Clients and service providers should talk about what innovation means to each of them. This way, clients can voice out what it means to their business, and service providers can find out if these expectations are viable or not.

Innovate all business processes.
Clients should innovate all areas of their business, including back office functions. In most cases, businesses mainly focus their strategic planning and innovation on production. Integrating these processes with all business operations will enable the service provider to deliver innovation that impacts the whole company.

Invest.
Reducing overhead costs has always been one of the top priorities of companies. While this may save money, it may cost the client the innovation they are vying for. For any company to grow, investment in emerging technologies and services is essential.

Differentiate innovation from continuous improvement.  
Business executives have different expectations with operations executives when it comes to innovation. As a result, service providers may find it difficult to provide a solution that meets both demands. Clients should recognize forms of continuous improvement from the big “I” - innovation.

Take control.  
Most companies nowadays have different service providers. This multi-player kind of situation is beneficial for the business. However, without any leadership, things can easily get complicated.  In this case, clients should drive the group for a seamless team effort. 

Report Shows Increased Spending on IT Outsourcing

by: Arline Ramirez

Thursday, September 13, 2012 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

In an article posted at theoutsourceblog.com, the budget for outsourcing IT services increased by 23% according to a IT Outsourcing Statistics report by Computer Economics. The report also indicated the most outsourced IT services, including IT functions that have the highest potential in the outsourcing sector.

Dominant outsourced IT Services
Web/e-commerce systems and application development were the most widely outsourced IT functions. According to the report, outsourcing in this sector is highly likely to grow "relatively slow" compared to other IT services.

In addition to that, the report lists key IT services that businesses can benefit from through outsourcing. Help desk support has the greatest potential to reduce costs while IT security is most likely to improve IT functions.

IT Outsourcing Analysis
IT spending for outsourcing increased as businesses stabilised after the recession. The total IT budget for outsourcing services climbed from 7% to 8.6%.

Computer Economics looked at how many businesses are outsourcing and how much of the work is being outsourced. The report found out that IT organisations are starting to adopt the cloud technology and are expanding operations. These, as well as cost reduction, are factors that push businesses to consider IT outsourcing.

Increased adoption of cloud-based applications and software as a service (SaaS) had a positive influence on IT outsourcing budgets. Businesses which outsourced application hosting are nearly 37% year-over-year. Moreover, more than half of these businesses are planning to increase the amount of work they will outsource for this function.