The outsourcing of services, which consists of the transfer of an autonomous activity to a specialized service provider, is addressed to all types of enterprises, both small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and, naturally, to large enterprises. By entrusting some of the least profitable and most time-consuming services to an external service provider, these companies accumulate the good points: savings in terms of time and flexibility, increased competitiveness and productivity, to name but a few. According to an annual study carried out by the EY firm for the SP2C, the French customer relationship outsourcing market grew an additional 4% between 2016 and 2017, thus weighing € 2.46 billion. Moreover, in 2015, 82% of French companies subcontracted one or more services (payroll, IT, archiving, catering, security, cleaning, etc.) to a specialized company. To this end, they have prepared their outsourcing by identifying and analysing several factors.
Defining your business’ needs
It is good to note that certain satellite activities, although essential for the proper functioning of such an organization, can obstruct its commercial evolution. So the right questions need to be asked: What are your company’s resources, results and core business? What activities are demanding in terms of staff and time, too far from the core business and are not profitable?
These answers are essential and will help you understand how your business works. By pointing them out clearly and analysing them, you will be able, for example, through a requirements specification, to target tasks that needlessly drain your organization’s time, energy and budget.
By proceeding methodically during this step, you will be able to precisely communicate your expectations and the ideal operating mode to the outsourcing company. For example, if you are a micro-enterprise (MSE), a small and medium enterprise (SME), this will allow you to effectively outsource your billings, pay service, telephone reception, appointment scheduling, etc.
Choosing an outsourcing company
As companies, you and your provider need to trust each other and share a transparent relationship from the start. To achieve this:
- The client company must be able to determine and formulate its requirements in terms of quality of work,
- The specialist provider must be able to clearly say whether he will be able to respond to and commit to these requirements
As you will have understood, outsourcing is not only a matter of price, but a set of factors that must be discussed before signing any contract.
To be sure about making the right choice, do not hesitate also to approach the clients of the selected provider.
Adapting your business operations to outsourcing
Of course, outsourcing will change the landscape and habits of your organization, so you will have to make sure that every employee adapts and finds his place in such a context. To this end, communication will have to be secure, fluid, transparent and regular, notably by telephone, but also through an online communication or production tool.
Make full use of the saved time
Yes, outsourcing allows you to save money without affecting quality, but it is important to remember that your company will also save time. How will your company make use of this time now that the most time-consuming and less profitable services have been outsourced?
Indeed, to make the most of it financially and commercially, you will be able to use the time gained for your development: employee training, production, communication, marketing, etc.
The 3 main stages of outsourcing
Many companies have successfully outsourced by patiently preparing and applying this step. To this end, they have strictly adhered to the three main phases of the process:
- Outsourcing and staff,
Pre-outsourcing: an unavoidable step, the duration of which will depend on the maturity of the services dedicated to outsourcing. It is during this phase that the company will have to take stock of its needs and objectives, the scope and the method of outsourcing (home providers, offshore ones, mutualized ones, etc.). It will also need to take stock of the relevance of its existing procedures, as well as the expertise of the people currently in charge of these services. Last but not least, the company will have to consider and adopt the customer’s point of view!
Outsourcing: humanly, the outsourcing of certain services is not a trivial matter, so it is essential to prepare and support your employees during this transition. Communications, reclassification, motivation, membership, loyalty, these elements also contribute to the success of outsourcing, since it is about the association of its employees.
Post-outsourcing: now that some of the company’s services have been outsourced, it is essential to closely follow this new collaboration, though external, to ensure that the quality is being respected. For example, the service provider should be asked to report regularly on the objectives achieved, but also on any difficulties encountered. Over time, you can decide whether outsourcing is a solution that is relevant to your needs.
In any case, according to the figures published by the CEGOS observatory in September 2017, companies that have chosen to outsource some of their services have achieved 33% of savings on their operating costs. To achieve this in turn, consider outsourcing as a decisive step, if your company is determined to go through with it, but also as a retractable one.
In the meantime, the benefits in terms of productivity, but also in terms of human resources, must be given priority so that the process goes smoothly. Outsourcing is not an insignificant process, because it requires the intervention of several actors in transparency, good communication (through tools such as Skype, Slack, Google Drive, Trello, etc.), but above all, a solid and lasting trust between your organization and your provider.
To take stock of the possibilities, it is necessary to approach a company specialized in outsourcing which will be able to answer all your questions clearly.