5 Top Takeaways from Global Outsourcing Awards 2015
As the outsourcing industry continues to grow and improve, it is an appropriate time to reflect upon recent successes and top performers — among both outsourcing companies and their clients. For example, the Outsourcing Institute provides annual recognition via the Best Outsourcing Thought Leadership Awards. Other leading associations also provide similar outsourcing awards. In this article, Back Office Pro discusses five takeaways and lessons learned from the outsourcing awards.
1) Practical Innovation
The Outsourcing Institute’s award category is entitled “Real World Use Case – Innovation.” The goal of outsourcing innovation is always a high priority for clients. A few years ago, Steve Jobs succinctly described the critical importance of innovation with this astute observation — “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
With outsourcing innovation, one of the primary challenges is to agree on a meaning that works for everyone. One practical solution is for the outsourcing partner to simply align with the client’s definition. A second definition is provided by Tony Morgan: “The use of new ideas of current thinking in a different context, to result in change which delivers value.”
In any outsourcing context, “creating value” is a paramount goal. The best outsourcing companies — especially experienced providers like Back Office Pro — routinely provide new and innovative ways that enable more cost-effective solutions for clients.
2) Best or Long-term Partnership
This awards category recognizes the equal importance of “The Client” and “The Outsourcing Provider.” It is always prudent to review outsourcing results on a long-term basis — and working relationships that function as “partnerships” are typically present in outsourcing successes.
However, just having a partnership is not enough — actual performance must still be achieved, measured and monitored. According to Willcocks and Cullen, relationship management can improve quality, cost, service and other performance parameters by 20 to 40 percent.
An especially key takeaway reflected by this awards category is the value of working with experienced global outsourcing companies such as Back Office Pro — a “new” outsourcing provider simply cannot document successes over a long-term period. One of the most practical ways for companies to judge the potential for a long-term outsourcing partnership is to review case studies that document long-term results. All of the best outsourcing companies will be able to produce multiple examples.
3) Business Transformation
In order for businesses to grow, “transformational change” is often a key part of the equation. The International Association for Outsourcing Professionals GEO Award is given to teams where successful business transformation is reflected in outsourcing efforts. Microsoft was the 2011 recipient for its Controller Workspace tool to manage financial controllership functions.
Microsoft’s initiative began in 2006 — the goal was to reengineer and transform global finance operations. A key component in the project involved outsourcing back office finance transactions in 95 countries. This outsourcing engagement was judged to be a successful partnership between Microsoft and Accenture.
Controller Workspace contributed to ongoing improvements in outsourcer and vendor relationships. Equally important, the award provided strong momentum to future business outsourcing of backend and back office operations in finance and accounting to expert global providers such as Back Office Pro.
4) Value Beyond Cost
Why do organizations outsource tasks and production? For many years, the “benefits of outsourcing” were focused on reducing costs. One of the current year’s award categories for the Outsourcing Institute is “Real World Use Case – Cost Saving.”
However, now, there is much more to outsourcing than saving money. For example, the Outsourcing Institute provides awards in four other major categories. As another illustration, a National Outsourcing Association poll reveals a high percentage of respondents that report “There is more value to outsourcing than simply cost-cutting.”
In the modern outsourcing environment, price still matters — but it has been joined by several other key parameters such as timing, quality, flexibility and immediate availability of scarce skills. While it is not unusual to see new and inexperienced outsourcing vendors still attempting to compete on price alone, more seasoned outsourcing companies such as Back Office Pro focus on meeting multiple client needs.
5) Compliance and Ethics
The outsourcing industry is continuing to recognize that sound ethical practices are a key part of doing business in the modern business environment — along with protecting reputations and reducing legal concerns. The Outsourcing Institute has an award for “Best Practices Thought Leadership” and the Ethisphere Institute designates “The World’s Most Ethical Companies.”
The best outsourcing companies will exceed legal compliance minimums by adhering to even higher standards. In any analysis of outsourcing providers, taking a close look at whether they observe industry “Best Practices” is always a prudent step.
Finding Your Global Outsourcing Partner
Global outsourcing awards perform a public service by showing how the outsourcing industry has adapted to the changing needs of business clients operating in a competitive global economy. Companies evaluating whether to outsource or not can apply the five takeaways to their own selection process. Global outsourcing experts such as Back Office Pro are likely to rank near the top in all five categories. How do your outsourcing candidates stack up in each awards category?
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