Outsourcing Key Projects: Bringing Companies One Step Closer to Business Virtualization
The success of a company depends on providing the highest level of service to its clients. Yet when times are tough, reduced budgets and smaller staffs make it harder to deliver. Outsourcing key projects can help you to provide a higher level of customer service while lowering costs at the same time. It is an important step on the road to business virtualization, which reduces IT costs, improves availability and optimizes service.
Websites such as Scriptlance, Elance and Freelancer.com make finding a qualified professional to complete your outsourced project easier than ever. These sites allow programmers from all over the world to bid on projects, stating their price and timeframe for completion. You can also view their ratings from past projects to judge the quality of the person's work before you commit. My company recently began using Scriptlance for projects where we needed to keep costs low. We’ve used programmers to design an iPhone application for our software, redesign a portion of our website in Drupal, and expand our search engine optimization (SEO) capability.
The benefit of sites like Scriptlance is that you can obtain multiple bids quickly, creating a reverse auction, so to speak. Yet there are caveats that you need to watch out for as well. Here are some tips to get the most out of project outsourcing as you further your business virtualization strategy.
1. Outsource the “Outsource-able” Projects
While we’ve had great success in outsourcing projects, we have also had to deal with failure. Knowing which projects will succeed or fail is not always intuitive. For example, we were unable to find someone who could put together a prospective customer list for us, though it seems simple enough. On the other hand, getting someone to create a very professional, complex flash video was not hard at all.
The lesson to be learned here is that the most successful projects are the ones that do not require a deep knowledge of your company, customers or markets. If you hire an outsider to perform projects that require this knowledge, you are setting yourself up for failure.
2. Manage the Project Closely
Any project can go awry if not managed and executed properly. While it may be tempting to “outsource it and forget it,” you won’t receive quality results unless you keep tabs on the project every step of the way.
When outsourcing a project, you must first have a good idea of what your requirements are. Even though you are hiring an outsider for his/her expertise, providing proper direction at the outset of the project is critical. This includes deciding on deadlines, responsibilities, expectations, and so on. Though you must manage the project closely, make sure that you hire someone who has a high level of responsibility and work ethic, understands project management and will take the project seriously. As when hiring any employee, always ask for samples of work and references — and follow up on them!Continued on the next page