Don’t understand it? Don’t Outsource it!
While it would be easy to just talk about the jobs that get sent overseas, this is also true of letting consultants do something for your company. The term outsource has developed quite the negative cog-notation simply because in some instances, it talks about someone losing their job… in reality the term applies to any time someone is giving work to a third party. When I had to cut the grass at my old place, I ended up “outsourcing” the work… I did it because my Sundays were a lot more fun when I got to go on long bike rides rather than spending them cutting grass.
Companies constantly give work to third parties. Overall it is a great practice for business when it comes to specialized work. In the document imaging world, the most costly part of a project is not even the high speed scanners that can make a project seem unreachable because of cost, its actually the manual labor. Prepping document and capturing the correct metadata from them is very costly and it requires a very specialized workforce. When was the last time you removed a staple from a document… now multiply the time it took you by thousands.
The problem that I have encountered over and over in business is that people tend to also want to outsource things that they don’t understand. It sounds awesome at first… well the company has great expertise in X area, so lets hire them to do the work. It is even worse when the company decides to fire their employees and give the work to another company that promises to do it quicker and for less money than their workforce used to do it.
One of the things I have seen over and over is that the people making the product or simply delivering it can have a great impact on the success or failure of it. Consulting companies often bring their smartest people to the smoke and mirrors show with no intention of using those resources to actually deliver what the company is buying.
Very often it is too late when you realized that you have hired the wrong people to do something for you; but the only way to prevent that is to actually understand what you are outsourcing first.
You might think that building a website is a very simple thing to do in today’s technology driven world. It is actually an extremely complex task. Some companies can do wonders when it comes to the presentation layer and give you something visually stunning… some others can give you functionality others can’t touch. The problem is that I have not seen too many that can do it all. That does not even touch on content and even social media. Those are all moving parts that need to be understood before you contract anyone to do a “website” for you.
Having someone in your company that fully understand what you are trying to outsource is imperative. If you don’t, then you should think about hiring someone that does. Also don’t fool yourself into thinking that because you know something about the process you are outsourcing, that you understand it completely. That was another pitfall I saw many people just walk into.
In the end, I know how my grass is supposed to look when it is cut. The dude that used to cut it always left it a little too low, but it worked out well since I could sometimes skip one weekend depending on rain. It did end up browning some areas once in a while… but hey it was only grass.