The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every industry in the world and has incurred many operational and financial challenges. Companies are now looking for ways to deal with the challenges while addressing the needs of their customers, clients, or employees. The majority of businesses have also taken the step of cutting down their IT costs in any possible way to cope up with this situation. It might look like a risky step since IT is crucial in today’s digital world. However, it comes with a higher cost, and avoiding in-house IT departments can help in saving a lot of money. On the other hand, outsourcing can prove as a great cost-effective alternative. Companies can opt for remote IT support as well as other services as the most effective solution to the issue.
Nearly one-third of the companies are reducing their IT budgets to make way for other aspects that are more crucial. While many companies can go back to the normal state without cost-cutting, small businesses, who can’t afford it and lack space or labor funds for the IT department, need to take this step if they wish to survive in the industry. However, cost-cutting is not an issue now since business owners can outsource IT solutions and get significant benefits from it.
In this article, we will discuss why businesses should opt for outsourcing their business needs and in what way it can help them to overcome challenges due to the novel coronavirus crisis.
What is Outsourcing?
Outsourcing is a method of agreement where a company reaches out to external vendors for carrying out their business functions or operations. You can either relocate the business tasks to a nearby country known as nearshoring or a distant country known as offshoring. A few tasks that can be outsourced are inventory management, orders, transactions, payroll processing, etc. Apart from that, you can also outsource other non-core processes such as call center, image manipulation, transcription, data conversion, accounting and bookkeeping, OCR clean up, and more.
Importance of Outsourcing
With the help of outsourcing, you can let a third party company handle your business tasks or jobs. This not only helps in eliminating the business load but also helps in cutting down the operational costs. Cost-cutting is one of the top reasons why companies prefer outsourcing their needs to a service provider. However, it is not the only advantage it offers. Apart from that, there are a lot more that can be gained through outsourcing, which is less known to the world. A few of them are mentioned below.
- Access to latest technology
While outsourcing certain tasks to a company or individual, you are associating with them and forming a partnership. This partnership can help you to gain access to the latest technology that can help in improving your business. For example, let’s say you are outsourcing HR tasks to a company that uses innovative payroll and benefits software. In that case, you can get access to this software and enable your companies to access information and maintain company records in the most effective way.
- Focusing on other business areas
Companies usually tend to outsource the tasks to save money as well as brainpower. To prove this, let us take the example of the human resources department. HR employees spend most of their time working on non-strategies tasks like maintain records. However, this time can be rather spent on more important matters, like engaging employees and improving job satisfaction. In that case, the non-strategic works can be outsourced to companies, while HR employees can focus on using their brainpower to help the company grow.
- Finding new and talented resource
Outsourcing also provides the company with an opportunity to hire people having unique skill sets and knowledge. For example, let’s say there is a small business organization that is looking to hire IT professionals but is having fewer budgets. In that case, it can outsource the tasks to a company or individual to fill the gap in the organization without having to hire external resources. Besides, you can also consider outsourcing if you think that your employees lack certain skills that are needed for the growth of your organization.
- Launching new projects
While launching a new project, a company may take weeks or even months to gather up and secure the resources that are needed to get started. For that, they need to recruit and onboard a large number of employees before launching the project. However, if they do not have the time to wait for the launch, then they can consider outsourcing their needs to a company that is having the required resources to take on the new project.
- Reduction of risks
With outsourcing, there is a decrease in the number of risks since you will be sharing the risks of new endeavors and business investment with your partnering company. That is why it is very important to choose the right company that can help in guiding your decisions and managing the risks. For example, if you are outsourcing your accounting needs to a company, then make sure that they have a team of experienced accountants, who are well aware of risk analysis and management.
- Keeping up with the competition
Outsourcing is not only for large corporations and can be used by anyone. It is especially beneficial for small companies since they do not have the budget or resources to handle their operations. Apart from that, it is best to outsource as it will fit their budgetary needs, and they do not even have to worry about hiring more people to bring in the fresh talents. In addition to that, it will allow them to compete with large companies by offering the same expertise, resources, and services to their potential clients.
Types of Tasks that You can Outsource
Below are the various types of tasks or activities that can be outsourced by an organization.
Marketing is essential for a company since it can help in determining its brand identity and reputation in the marketplace. Therefore, with the help of a marketing consultant or outsourcing firm, you can get an outside perspective, which is not possible with the help of an internal marketing staff. Professional freelance writers can also help in this case by developing high-quality content for boosting your marketing efforts. Apart from this, you can outsource other activities such as brand development, press release, website designing, and various online marketing tasks like blogging, social media marketing, and search engine optimization.
There are many outsourcing agencies that deal with employee acquisition and human resource functions. You can easily choose them for outsourcing your needs, but make sure that they are well-versed with advertising, checking references, and screening appropriate applicants. It is even wiser to choose companies that are specifically dedicated to HR or employment service since they need to stay updated with the latest standards and laws of employment.
Lead generation and customer service
The number of calls is directly proportional to the sales and leads of a company. It means that if a company gets more calls, then there is a high possibility that it can get greater sales and leads. So, once you are done with the initial outreach, let the task of closing sales and managing clients will be handled by the internal sales force. Make sure that the team is talented and are experts at closing sales rather than making close calls. If you do not have a qualified support staff, then it better to outsource customer support for generating the leads.
For handling administrative tasks such as data entry, scheduling, typing, travel arrangements, etc. you can either hire a virtual assistant or an administrative service provider. By outsourcing these tasks, you will get more time to focus on core activities that can help in the proper functioning of your business.
While IT operations are a lot expensive to handle in-house, average businesses have limited knowledge and ability to manage all its needs. That is why it is recommended to outsource IT tasks to a potential service provider unless you are an IT company.
Accounting and financial tasks
By outsourcing your needs to accounting firms or individuals, you can get assistance for all your financial needs related to invoicing, bookkeeping, analysis, financial reporting, planning, accounts payable and receivable, etc. It can save you a considerable amount of time, money, and stress.
It ultimately depends on you, whether to keep in-house resources or outsource your tasks. However, it is advisable to choose to outsource since it can help a great deal in growing the company during the pandemic situation. If you still think that it is a bit risky, then you can start by outsourcing the low-value tasks first. It usually includes tasks that are highly repetitive, like data entry. Once you are satisfied with the result, you can think of outsourcing highly specialized tasks such as website development or graphic design.
If you have already decided to outsource some or all of your business needs, then gather up all the information about the company or individual you wish to work. It is a very important step when it comes to outsourcing, especially if the company is located in another country. Also, make sure that the team you are working with is professional, reliable, and have worked on similar type of projects. It will ensure that they are trustworthy enough to outsource your project requirements. Besides, you can rest assured that they can get the work done on time despite any time differences or cultural barriers.