Trusting Who You Know or Knowing Who to Trust
The question of trust is the most sensitive issue in the relationship between business and a provider of outsourcing services. Naturally, we do our best to avoid any uncertainty and threat of losing. However, overprotectiveness leads us to the neglect of new business opportunities.
Human beings are more tent to trust the ones they know. But should we use that Approach in business, too? This article highlights three common trust dilemmas within IT outsourcing. Hopefully, it would help you to identify a company you would trust your business with.
Offshoring vs Nearshoring
Probably, the main issue of trust to outsourcing partner is distance. And one of the biggest business fears is to lose control over the process. Will the distance impact the quality of delivery? Can the risk be reduced with reduction of the extra kilometers?
The choice of nearshore destinations is caused mostly by the decision to play safe. Nearshoring means that the work is transferred to a third-part company within one region. For example, the nearshore destination for a UK company would be Europe. Close enough, one time-zone, the same data protection laws, the culture that is understood. But the one thing nearshoring can’t compete with offshoring in is cost-effectiveness.
Moreover, nearshoring can’t guarantee that your project won’t be offshored anyway. Nowadays, it is a common practice that an outsourcing agent has his own offshore partners, who develop software for his European clients. As offshoring provides unlimited access to the world-wide talents and benefits of low costs, it becomes very
The professionals all over the world can work on one project without losing delivery efficiency. For the UK Company, the offshore destination would be India or Philippines. It has different time-zone, business model and, the most important, different country.
The reason, why offshoring doesn’t work for a lot of companies is communication gaps. The standards of doing business can diverse, which can lead to disappointments and undue expectations. To make offshoring a win-win game, you should learn more about peculiarities of doing business in that country.
Know Who You Trust
To reduce the costs and, in the same time, to minimize the threats of offshoring, choose vendors from the countries close to your region. For the above-mentioned UK company, the good choice would be a provider from Eastern Europe. Easy to reach, time-zone difference doesn’t exceed 2 hours, cultural diversity isn’t significant.
One more way to protect the company is to work with companies that have a branch office or subsidiary in your region. That way it is easier to deal with legal issues and protect the data.
The best way to know ‘who you trust’ is to learn more about the provider, his business model, and management and communication process. Recommendations and feedbacks at first hand can give you understanding who you are dealing with: reliable partner or one more ‘money-hoover’. And, of course, visit the company to get your own personal impression.
Also, you can check how good the provider deals with a small project. And if the first experience is successful, be sure to trust ‘the one you know’ in long-term perspective.
Internal vs Outsourced Project Management
Project management is a highly specialized area of knowledge and it requires very specific skillset, significant attention to the details and ability to ensure strategic business alignment. Understanding the great importance of this area, business usually tries to hold as much control over the project as possible. But is that a necessary safeguard or a harmful protectionism?
Naturally, the first impulse would be to choose an internal project manager (PM), ‘the one we know’. He would have an obvious advantage over an external PM. Of course, in case the internal one has all the required skills. The internal PM is already familiar with the business and is totally aware of the client’s needs. He is in a close proximity to the decision makers and can quickly support any revisions. Moreover, the internal PM is more committed to the company’s success and has more understanding what the final product should be.
However, not always the internal PM has enough experience and technical knowledge to lead a new project and team. In fact, the nature of the project may necessitate very specialized expertise. In this case, there shouldn’t be any second thoughts about outsourcing the project management to an external professional. One of the reasons business chooses to outsource project management is an avoidance of knowledge stagnation. New PM can bring fresh thinking, creativity and use his rich and various experience for the improvement of the product.
In addition to that, the external PM brings a level of objectivity that is not always present with internal staff. This objectivity can bring improvement into development process and delivery of the project. He is closer to the development team, knows them better and is trusted. That helps him to transmit the communication with the decision makers to the programmers.
Know Who You Trust
To improve the delivery of the project and the quality of the product make a choice based on the required level of expertise. The PM for outsourced team should be a good communicator, flexible and attentive to the details. If the internal PM is totally qualified for that and has the necessary soft skills, the choice is obvious. If not, outsource. Incompetent management is the greatest damage that can be done to the project.
Unfortunately, even having a professional internal PM, he can be too overloaded with his own work. Burdened with more duties, he would poorly deliver in both: main work and the management of the new product. Apparently, in this situation outsourcing to an experienced project management vendor may be the best option. Especially, when comparing the cost of hiring a less experienced internal PM to cost of outsourcing.
Supplier vs Partner
Most software development companies based on the outsourcing model provide the same service. But, obviously, the same service doesn’t always mean the same result for the customer. The code quality, transparency of the processes, communication effectiveness and many other exponents differ from company to company. But one more thing worth paying attention to is an attitude of the supplier to a project.
An average service provider develops software on the agreed conditions. The client comes with his idea, designs, requirements and vision of how the product should be done. The service provider respects that and follows the wishes of the client. That kind is easy to work with. They are the ones you know what to expect from and ‘the ones you trust’. I call them performers. Those who get a project, write code and deliver what client has asked for. The only problem is that it isn’t always what the client has expected.
And there are companies that are more like advisors and consultants. They mostly choose the projects that would be interesting for them to work on. As a result, the developers feel responsible as if it was their own product. Those companies always give advices, consult and propose changes and improvements. I call it a partner attitude.
However, those suppliers can be hard to work with. For sure, they will consult you and try to improve your project. And of course that would involve some extra cost and time.
Know Who You Trust
It all depends on what has bigger priority: reduced cost and short time delivery or user-friendly and technically developed product. If the main goal is fast delivery, go with a performer. But if you want the supplier’s expertise, learn to trust your outsourcing partner.
Here I have a real-life story for you. Some company had a great designer who had previously performed well in other projects. But he had never made designs for IOS app before. To make the story short, the development team got designs from the person who hadn’t even read the manual.
The designer and the marketing team that had approved the designs got angry as the development team wanted to make changes. Without a doubt the business knoew their clients better than anybody else. The problem was that they didn’t want to cooperate with the developers who knew how to make a user-friendly application for those clients.
For better result choose expertise, innovative thinking combined with an experience. Trust those who care about your project as much as about their own.
After all, the choice to trust blindly those we know isn’t always the best strategy. We should always know whom to trust. First of all, check the provider’s expertise and experience, attitude to the project and the quality of his services. Ask for references, visit the company or do a small project together. Finding a reliable partner takes time. But the next step is to learn to trust his knowledge, experience and professionalism.
By Anna Muzychko