Much has been said and continues to be said about why businesses outsource rather than keep everything in-house. Yet, there are less known but equally important reasons to outsource that do not revolve around money. Here are three of them that may help you make that decision with conviction.
#1 Outsourcing relieves you and your onshore staff of your heavy workload.
Are your employees swamped with calls and emails that they barely have time to properly enjoy their lunch break or to even go to the bathroom? The lack of breathing space in your staff's work schedule leaves an impression that you may have been pushing your employees too hard. If you yourself is a victim of overloading, then it's a strong sign that you have to hire more people now.
But, what if your company's resources are too tight right now? What do you do? Rather than hire new people, why not outsource? Outsourcing helps you reduce your staff's workload and give them the much needed relief. They're now free to work on higher value tasks, such as providing on-site customer support. The same can be said of you and your work; you'll have more time to meet with clients and plan your next vacation with your family.
#2 Outsourcing helps you build your company's internal competencies without worrying about the quality of work in non-core business processes.
Business consultants may tell you to separate your core and non-core competencies, and outsource the latter for greater efficiency. But, what exactly are these competencies?
Core competencies are strategically aligned with your company's mission, values and goals. These include work that creates value for your customers and that only you and your managers can do. More importantly, they're the kind of work that your company is known for.
For example, a graphic design company may outsource their payroll and accounting, but it's best that they don't outsource some design work to another company. The artistic style and personality that they usually inject into their work may not be easily imitated by a third-party provider. Otherwise, they'll lose their unique advantage as a graphic design company.
Meanwhile, non-core competencies consist of work that's important to your company, but do not require your constant presence or attention to be completed. These are tasks you can outsource and not worry about the quality of work being done as long as it's completed on time and made available for your staff's use.
#3 Outsourcing helps you retain core human elements in business processes.
In the services sector, outsourcing means business processes will always need front-facing staff to handle customer requests and attend to their grievances. An automated answering system, even when it uses advanced artificial intelligence to deliver pre-recorded messages for different situations, cannot replace a real human being.
Automation and artificial intelligence can't replace a real person manning a help desk, phone, or live chat. We are decades away from matching a human's ability to perceive, judge, and react to complex situations in a caring, helpful way.
Some automation is a necessary evil though. Most companies can't possibly give one-on-one attention to each customer. Some automation is helpful, if not vital, for customer satisfaction.
In the early days of outsourcing, most of the work being moved offshore consisted of high-volume, low-level tasks that do not require special knowledge to perform. Today, knowledge process outsourcing has made it possible for businesses to offload some of the high-level work, such as research and development, computer-aided design, and data analysis. At this stage of outsourcing's evolution, AI cannot mimic the very human ability of extrapolating meaning from data and providing an insightful analysis based on concepts from different fields of knowledge.
Not Just About the Money
As you can see, it's not just about the money. While we don't recommend it as a panacea of sorts to all kinds of business problems, outsourcing certainly helps small to medium-sized businesses in three little known ways.
One, it helps managers like you reduce the risks of your employees experiencing burnout and leaving their jobs.
Two, it gives you and your staff the reprieve to actually work on projects that bring in the money and increase your company's chances of expanding further.
Last but not least, outsourcing recognizes human interaction as a key element in customer service and in knowledge-based processes. Human beings are social creatures; we need to see someone's face and hear their voice whenever we interact with one another.