“Outsourcing” can be a very polarizing topic within an organization. Just reading the subject of this post, I’m willing to bet you either nodded in agreement or shook your head and rebuffed the statement. For context, let me be clear that when I am saying outsourcing, I am not referring to “offshoring,” but rather engaging a managed service organization to help manage non-core business processes.
Choosing to engage a company to provide support or a service for your company that IS NOT related to your organization’s core business, in my humble opinion makes a lot of sense. However, not everyone will agree with me. Typically, we hear one of the following five reasons why organizations feel engaging a managed service provider isn’t right for their business today;
- Potential loss of control.
- Higher & potential hidden costs.
- Security risks.
- Culture/morale impact.
While each of these concerns is valid at the surface, when we examine each of them, we can see that they’re either a result of a poor previous experience or not necessarily accurate.
Loss of Control
A very general and broad-stroked statement. The concern of loss of control can mean many different things; loss of QC, loss of process control, loss of control of management, etc.… On the surface we agree this is a concern, we must remember that a Unified Communications Managed Service Provider (MSP) is in business to keep their customers happy. Accomplishing this means ensuring that the customer feels very much in control of all aspects of their business. In fact, when an MS engagement is done right, the provider is an extension of your organization, in turn, they understand precisely how to work within your processes so that quality of service goes up, processes are adhered to and the burden to manage this aspect of your business reduces. All effectively reducing your costs to manage and monitor these non-core business functions.
Having a 3rd party engage on your behalf within some very sensitive environments and providing access to very sensitive data, without a doubt is a risk in of itself and should never be taken lightly. However, there are plenty of examples of malicious, disgruntled employees sharing sensitive data or rogue employees stealing corporate data. Similarly to how organizations leverage checks and balances to try and mitigate this type of risk with employees, can also be used in a due diligence process with an MSP. Background checks, credit validations, ethical hacking attempts, all are services and reports that you can use to validate how risky a potential MSP could be to your business. Also taking it a step further, ensuring the MSP contractually adheres to specific security standards, layers an additional level of protection for your organization. While no organization is impenetrable, (recent news of the Equifax breach proves this), there are safeguards available to organizations to minimize the risk and costs associated with the risk.
This can be very sensitive in light of recent events around job security and keeping jobs within an organization. Leveraging a very specialized professional organization to support your employee base in the areas that are non-core to your business can be perceived as a loss of opportunity or risk to their job. The reality, however, is that more and more, employees are being asked to do more with less; fewer resources, less knowledge, less expertise. While at the same time expected to improve revenues, profitability, response times, efficiencies, infrastructure, etc. Engaging a UC Managed Services Provider to alleviate some pressure on your already hardest working resource, your people will help reduce stress, burden and ultimately improve morale as the teams begin to focus on and accomplish business-critical missions.
Yes, I completely agree, at a certain point in time UC Managed Services were a complex endeavor, establishing rules and procedures as to when to hand-off or engage the partner of choice, when to keep it in-house, how to engage, reporting, I can keep going... Today however with the level of technology available to us to integrate environments, the process should be and typically is very simple. In most cases, the MSP should merely be an extension of your current environment and processes, allowing your staff to engage the expertise when needed seamlessly. You’ve engaged a highly skilled, specialized workforce, when we eliminate complexity by engaging the team quickly, effortlessly, and we tend to see speed to resolution increase, efficiencies increase, workloads decrease and most of all satisfaction skyrocket. All key indicators that help your organization reach your goals faster.
Higher & Potential Hidden Costs
The very big elephant in the room, COST… As with anything, the sticker price isn’t the true definition of the cost of the service. While you’ve hired staff and resources to manage these and other aspects of your business, it can’t be expected that their level of expertise is on par with an organization whose sole focus is in a particular area. The larger question is not cost, but rather what is your organization giving up by continuing to focus on noncore business-related areas. In addition to this opportunity cost, we also need to balance the additional costs that your organization bears that aren’t factored in the comparison of keeping something in-house vs. outsourcing. Items like; recruitment & retaining, vacation & sick days, health & retirement benefits, infrastructure, brick and mortar costs, etc. generally aren’t factored into the cost-benefit analysis but should be. These hidden costs of employees are ultimately removed from your business, and the onus is now on your partner. All your organization needs to worry about it ensuring you remain laser-focused on your core business and delighting your customers at every turn.
The toughest questions to ask ourselves are:
- “Is this business function critical to the core of my business?”
- “Am I slowing my organization down by not removing this burden from my staff to accelerate achieving my business objectives?”
When we start examining every business process under this new lens, the results typically show that most organizations have numerous functions and processes that do nothing to help contribute to their core business, effectively restricting their results.