Online outsourcing refers to services that are delivered over the internet. These range from conventional business functions, such as bookkeeping, to technical and IT services, such as website hosting.
The benefits of online outsourcing
Online outsourcing delivers a range of benefits, including:
- Reduced costs - you pay for services only when you use them, with little or no investment in new equipment, staff or training.
- Greater efficiency - you don't need a complex IT network or a specialist IT department.
- Commercial advantage - you can work closely with business partners and customers. It also enables staff to work remotely and have access to high-performance software at affordable rates.
- Better use of people - staff can concentrate on business-critical and value-added operations.
Implementing an online outsourcing solution
Choosing and using an online outsourcing solution needs careful consideration:
- Do the research - does it make sense for your business? Will it give you access to new markets or technologies? Do your competitors outsource any of their processes - if so, what?
- Identify the advantages - will you save time and money, improve your e-commerce capabilities or gain a competitive advantage?
- Perform a cost/benefit analysis - what will it cost and how long will it take to pay for itself?
- Assess the suppliers - draw up a supplier shortlist and ask them questions about cost, deliverables, security, ownership of data, and termination clauses.
- Try before you buy - if you take advantage of low cost/no cost trials, make sure you are protected against damage to your data.
- Assess the impact across your business - how will e-outsourcing affect other areas of your business? What processes will you need to modify?
- Create an implementation schedule - think about running your conventional system alongside the online outsourcing solution until you are happy with it - keep staff, customers, suppliers and business partners fully informed.
- Regularly review your arrangements - ensure that online outsourcing delivers what was promised.