Nowadays it is not unusual for people to hear the term outsourcing. This is true especially when it comes to businesses. However, as common as the term may seem, only a few people know what outsourcing really means and the clockwork behind it.
Basically, outsourcing is getting into an agreement with other companies or a person to do a specific job or function. Today, most organizations, especially big ones, are outsourcing in some way or another. Most jobs that are being outsourced are those that are not considered as part of the core of their business. For example, a bank may outsource its landscaping and janitorial operations to people or companies that specialize in those areas given that they are not related to banking. The companies or people who provide these outsourcing jobs are what is known as third-party providers, more commonly called as service providers.
Outsourcing has been existent ever since specializations in different fields of works arose. Before, companies made use of the outsourcing model to do narrow functions an example of which is the payroll or billing. It has been observed that outsourcing these processes to a company that specializes in a specific area, having the right facilities, tools and personnel, gets the job done efficiently at the least amount of cost.
There are several forms of outsourcing. Companies and other organizations employ the help of service providers to take care of different business process one of which is benefits management. There are some organizations however who outsource whole operations. The most common forms of outsourcing that handles this are IT Outsourcing (ITO) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).
BPO covers outsourcing such as human resources outsourcing (HRO), call center outsourcing, claims processing outsourcing and finance and accounting outsourcing. These kinds of outsourcing usually involve contracts that span to a number of years and backed up with millions of dollars in financing. People performing the jobs internally for the client company will then be transferred to the service provider and eventually become their employees.
There are 4 stages that cover the process of outsourcing. The first stage is strategic thinking. In this stage, the philosophy of the organization when it comes to outsourcing activities is developed. The second stage is the evaluation and selection. In this stage, the company decides on what projects are to be outsourced or not. Possible locations and the service providers to do the job are also discussed.
The third stage is the contract development. Everything is put into black and white so as to legalize the whole process. This includes service level agreement and pricing terms. The fourth stage is outsourcing governance or management. This stage is for ensuring the refinement of the relationship between the client company and the outsourcing service providers.
The success of an outsourcing project depends on three factors: good and constant communication to concerned employees, executive-level support in the client company for the outsourcing mission, the ability of the client to manage the hired service providers. An outsourcing professional responsible for the client company and the service providers should be equipped with skills in different areas.