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Chris Niccolls

Don't Outsource Your Problems!

By December 10, 2012

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Problems

Different experts give different advice about what you should outsource. There's a lot of talk about what is core (don't outsource) and what is non-core (do outsource). The answer is simple, outsource the work that what you do well, AND that you don't need to do anymore.

The reason that you want to outsource something that you do well.... that has documentation, that is not about to collapse, that has a reasonably good reputation, etc. ... is pretty simple. If it's already working, you know what the process is all about. You know how it works and what the completed product looks like. If you outsource something that isn't working well, or has completely broken down, then you need to develop a much more complex program to ensure that this is project is successful.

If you have a broken service, it may simply be that your workers need to be replaced by more dedicated, skilled workers. Usually, that's not the case. Instead, you are probably creating the wrong product. Or your hours of operation are wrong. Possibly, the rules of how your service is accessed and how much of it anyone can use is wrong. If you knew which of these issues was the real problem, you wouldn't have a broken service. However, if you don't know which problem you have, you don't know how to fix it or what the fix will cost.

With all of these uncertainties, and unknown costs, you cannot set a price for a working service. If you base the skills and the cost of labor on your current staff, you will probably be wrong. The desire to outsource problems (i.e. broken services) is one of the reasons why outsourcing fails so often. How do you increase the rate of success? You outsource something that you know works, is well documented and where that you are very sure what the competed product looks like. It all makes sense if you think about it, so give some thought to your 2013 outsourcing programs and see if you are on the path to success!

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