Over the last decade, many small and medium sized IT businesses have looked on as larger organisations have embraced offshore outsourcing; initially as a way to cut costs but more latterly to increase efficiency within their businesses. In some cases, these SMEs have also witnessed the larger organisations getting their fingers burnt in the outsourcing arena.
However, Martin Shields, Chairman of Merit Outsourcing, an experienced outsourcing professional, believes that many SMEs are missing a trick. The work his firm has done recently, demonstrates that smaller organisations can benefit from outsourcing as much, if not more than larger organisations in the sector.
‘Often smaller and medium sized businesses dismiss the efficiency opportunities presented by outsourcing because of the perceived initial management time involved and the potential set up costs, ‘ comments Martin.
‘We’ve worked with businesses and organisations across a diverse range of industry sectors from publishing to document management and UK food distribution and they have all discovered the benefits of outsourcing routine but necessary tasks.’
‘Outsourcing frees up key management time, physical space and finance which crucially can be deployed elsewhere in the business. And, of particular benefit to SMEs, outsourcing mitigates the need to use temping staff, resolves recruitment and IT headaches (which are managed by the outsourcer) thus saving valuable time from the internal management of people and processes, on a day to day basis.’
‘Although the type of work we outsource for clients may be repetitive it can often be quite complex or perhaps of a sensitive nature, thereby requiring a very strong intellectual input to the process. This is our strength. Our 150 strong operation in India, run by an ex-pat management, liaises closely with the client and Merit UK team, developing and agreeing the outsourcing process with them. This serves to reassure clients that knowledge transfer can be completed with confidence.’
‘In fact,’ continues Martin, ‘the decision to outsource can also provide a very positive spin-off. Because the process of implementing a successful outsourcing operation involves a detailed analysis of the function itself, this can often lead to improvements in processes, procedures and efficiencies. ’
‘ The business press has recently reported that the BPO market is expected to expand by more than 10% annually over the next 3 years as public and private sector organisations continue to outsource. Similarly, Martyn Hart, Chairman of the National Outsourcing Association has highlighted the need for SME’s to consider outsourcing commenting that ‘ …. SME’s need to have the right information at their fingertips to make informed outsourcing choices …. when that happens, the SME outsourcing market is set to explode.’
‘Outsourcing offshore should be seriously considered by SMEs looking to help their business to reach that next stage of growth. It can be a powerful financial tool and make a significant contribution to the development of their business,’ concludes Martin.