The current world has become so competitive, and many startups face the uphill pressure of efficiently bringing their products and services to the market as they try to maintain low operational costs. Such an occurrence forces many startups to opt for outsourcing consultants to get support and guidance in the struggle for outsourcing. We need to understand who this consultant is and the business they do.
Overview of the Outsourcing Consultant
How do we explain the meaning of a business outsourcing consultant and what they do? These are some of the questions that do bother lots of people at one point or the other. Many individuals do not understand who a consultant is and the value such a person may bring to their business or startup once they seek out their services.
As we understand, the business landscape is ever-evolving, with new things and technologies being introduced. This article focuses on clearly understanding the role of the outsourcing consultant and gives important insights to startups to ensure they enjoy the benefits of outsourcing.
We define a consultant as the individual offering expert or professional advice within a specific field of business or science, and the beneficiary is an individual, firm, or organization. There is no legal binding or protection whenever one has the title ‘consultant’ to their job title. Theoretically, any person can decide to have the consultant as a title.
Specific characteristics will distinguish a consultant from the rest of the professions. They include:
- A consultant is known to offer expertise to a customer lacking such expertise or to support the client who is not in a position of fulfillment. To get such professional service, the client pays the consultant a fee.
- The consultant’s operations are independent of the client. No conflict of interest should exist between the consultant’s services and the issue facing the client.
- A consultant should operate professionally, implying they need the appropriate qualifications to deliver high-quality services and a solid internal operation.
An outsourcing consult will help you grab the best opportunities related to outsourcing. You get advice on selecting vendors, how to go about SLAs (service level agreements), and the best ways of negotiating contracts. The aim is to save on costs and increase the efficiency of operations.
The rise in businesses that require professional advice has resulted in the growth prospects of several outsourcing consultants. Let’s see some benefits you enjoy when hiring an outsourcing consultant.
Situations when consultants are adding value to the business/organization
We all agree that consultants are professionals or experts in a given area, and once outsourced, they bring in the expertise and knowledge missing in the particular organization.
Whenever a company faces a lawsuit slapped to them, they will go for the services of a legal consultant to get the appropriate guidance. The company does so because they lack legal experience or knowledge.
Once we consider the independence of consultants means they should be free from the company’s internal pressures and politics. Any situation is handled on merit. Consultants can act as strategic resources for a given company in terms of implementing unpopular decisions like cases of declaring retrenchment
There are cases where hiring a consultant is cheaper than hiring a full-time staff.
Benefits of Outsourcing Consultancy Services
In the current economic outlay across the world, every business looks for ways to save on costs and ensure there is no loss in quality. Outsourcing some aspects of the business can be a wonderful consideration that can save the company money. They still maintain high-quality results as you get expert knowledge. In some situations, growing a specialized internal team for the needed services becomes expensive.
With the onset of COVID-19, many businesses have had more of their activities outside. Smaller businesses always consider outsourcing IT, accounting, and HR functions. The IT department is an area that needs heavy investment, especially if you need to set up a strong internal IT team, and you will experience savings when outsourced. IT is very important across the business layout, starting from the phone system, sales department, website, network, and data security. It is a sensitive department that requires no compromise at all. Hiring the appropriate IT consultant company or personnel assists in achieving your company’s needs, maintaining up-to-date systems, and offering much-needed 24/7 support at a considerably affordable rate. Building a strong in-house IT department is a different aspect that will need extra costs.
Some companies or startups are small and do not have enough resources. You may be part of a bigger company looking forward to improving IT results. Outsourcing IT needs could save you some problems like:
The cost of staffing
You will require enough financial resources to build a strong internal IT team. It will involve targeting to hire appropriate candidates who may request high amounts in terms of salaries. Time and money are needed to recruit qualified people with the right skills to power your business. It means staying competitive in accordance with increasing salaries for you to maintain the IT experts and avoid high staff turnover to competitors.
Suppose the large firms with competitive salaries have a high turnover of staff. This means you will always face the challenges of having to recruit on a yearly basis. Consider outsourcing the IT department where you pay a fixed amount where all IT needs are solved and avoid other related costs of finding and retaining the expert staff.
Hence, whenever organizations are thinking of recruiting and outsourcing an IT department in the picture, they should conduct a technical skill screening assessment with the respective candidates. As a result it will help in reducing employee turnover and bad hire costs as this test gives 360 degree insights into the best fit candidates.
It is a world phenomenon to see that IT or technology in general changes quickly. The team needs to stay up-to-date with all industry expectations and the current high standards. If you have an internal IT team, you must keep it up-to-date by ensuring they get more training and professional development opportunities. It can be such a costly venture that it will also waste the time you would have dedicated to other work projects.
If you outsource the services, the consultant will always do their best to complete your job. The consultant is mandated to have the best staff who are well-trained and always keep up with the latest IT trends.
Resource or Expertise gaps
Some of the effects of COVID-19 include a reduction in the available experienced workforce. The leaving of individuals in an industry contributes to a skill shortage.
Assuming you have developed an internal team, you will face a skill gap once one of the team members leaves. It also becomes a challenge if you are on the avenue of launching a new product that calls for a whole new focus. It is more dangerous when your IT team only has one or two employees. One individual can’t keep up with the ever-evolving IT sector.
An IT consulting firm is in a position to offer you experts who keep up with the trends and ensure your needs are fully satisfied. Such a firm specializes in IT alone, meaning they hire skilled IT professionals who can meet the ever-growing demands of the customers. You are free to do window shopping to find the best IT company to outsource at your estimated IT consulting rates. Such a firm should align with your company’s goals. If you have a dedicated IT team, you can go to an outsourcing consultant to get the expertise your team is lacking.
The outsourced consultant can pass on knowledge and skills to your in-house team, meaning the capability of your team improves, especially when you want skills like project management that your company lacks.
Access to specialized knowledge
As explained above, you will have freed your time and resources whenever you partner with outsourced consultancy services. The positive effect is that you have extra concentration on your projects and can always figure out any risks such projects can face. You are better placed to understand such risks and learn the best ways to solve or avoid them. Delegating such projects to specialists allows you to plan easily and mitigate some risks. With such measures, you are bound to experience improved efficiency and growth in your business operations.
You gain a competitive edge
Regardless of the sector in which you are a player, the chances are high that it is a competitive market. When you outsource knowledge, expertise, and skills that are lacking in your business, it results in change and specialism, strengthening your firm. Such skills and knowledge may not be primary to your business objectives. Outsourcing means you have a chance to place much focus on your core goals. Long-term and sustainable success will emanate from a strong in-house team with capability and capacity.
Let’s take a case study on your objective to improve customer experience. The best way is outsourcing. You will get several ideas on what you may need to do, but identifying the workable ones becomes a challenge. You need to understand the end-to-end process and the appropriate data needed to achieve the best customer experience. Are there ways to identify and solve errors to ensure the customer has the best experience? Experienced consultants will handle such worries with high levels of certainty. And the best thing is you focus on other operations as your outsourcing consultant concentrates on improving your work on the other side.
Having a whole new experience or perspective
Outsourcing allows you to get a new, fresh perspective on the business you are carrying out. It gets to a point where you need the outside perspective, and outsourced consultancy helps you get new ideas and develop new areas you might have overlooked previously. In another view, you might have had the idea but lacked the resources or time to fulfill it internally, and the consultant may have the capacity to help you out.
How do you hire an Outsourcing Consultant?
Outsourcing consultancy services is not such an easy task. It is one operation that needs one to carry out extensive research and shop around. As we have seen above, a consultant provides leading advisories within a specific industry that a company can use to improve its operations and grow bigger. Outsourcing consultants are also good at assisting startups in choosing the appropriate vendors and managing such wonderful relationships throughout the outsourcing activity.
There are some critical steps you need to focus on. They include:
Step 1: Identify your Business Needs
Do you understand the problem you need to solve? As a business, you need particular strategies to help you stand out. Sit down, determine, and detail your needs as soon as possible. Share them with your outsourcing consultant to ensure you get better and more effective advice on growth opportunities and how to generate more revenue. Some of the key elements to define include:
- Business objectives – Do you target improving your efficiency, lowering operational costs, or accessing specialized skills?
- Note down your project scope – What business sector do you yearn to outsource? Knowing this helps the consultant get the best knowledge of your needs and know the appropriate solutions.
- Budget – Determine the amount you are willing to set aside for outsourcing. It helps you narrow down on a particular consultant and get the best value for your investment.
Step 2: Carry out Research
Carry out extensive research on the available consultants offering advisory services. Check on their capabilities and available resources. Research the different options available and compare them to determine one that you will enjoy a successful partnership. Watch out for their:
- Industry expertise
- Their general reputation and track record
- How they communicate and collaborate with other business teams
- Cultural fit – If they align with your culture and values
- Their vendor management capabilities include how they carry out contract negotiations, performance monitoring, and overall managing of the vendors.
- Their skills in assessing risks and strategies for mitigating them.
- Choose consultants who can offer tailored or customized solutions
Step 3: Reviewing Case Studies
It is time to closely check through the case studies shared by the outsourcing consultants to give you insights into how they have performed in the past. Check statistical growth numbers and track records to indicate their reliability and capability. Review such data and do your personal background checks.
Step 4: Evaluate the Credentials
Make sure the outsourcing consultants have verifiable credentials which can indicate their reliability. Check their recent relevant affiliations or certifications. You can do this by calling and interviewing them at a close range.
Step 5: Shortlist your options
Narrow down to your final list and schedule follow-up calls or physical meetings. You can now carry out a contract negotiation. You relay your expectations, discuss the budget, and what results you expect from your working together.
Step 6: Make sure the Fees and Agreements are clear
Consult a legal counsel before signing your NDA agreement or contractual terms and ensure everything is clear, including the fees, contract terms, payment, and payroll structure.
Step 7: Always carry out a regular evaluation
It will help to enhance service performance and determine areas that require improvement.
Outsourcing is a good avenue for businesses to save on some costs. As a business, you also get extra time to concentrate on the core activities, helping to improve your productivity. Partner with appropriate outsourced specialists to get an opportunity for growth, innovation and become a leading venture in the market.
Any queries? Feel free to connect with our experts and get a consultation at no cost!
Also check: How to find a CTO for your Startup