March 01, 2022
A rapidly evolving and hybrid workplace environment, increased client pressure for greater speed and higher quality service delivery, a raging war for talent and maintaining a firm culture among a dispersed workforce have pushed businesses to rethink and recalibrate their mix of in-house and external resources.
Add to that, the growing need to leverage technologies and automation to meet strategies and operational goals, firms are not only rethinking their partnerships, but they are also expanding the landscape of potential partners. This outside-the-box thinking is helping find new ways to provide better client service, win new clients and improve operational efficiency.
More organizations are looking to alternative approaches for roles that were previously considered impossible to take virtual or provided by an external partner, such as secretarial and administrative functions, presentations, creative design and other marketing or finance and billing support. For example, According to Sandpiper’s Trends and Opportunities in Law Firm Outsourcing Survey for 2021 – 2022, 63% of law firms reported outsourcing some or all of their back-office functions and 66% of firms already outsourcing were considering outsourcing more functions. Deloitte’s 2021 Global Shared Services and Outsourcing Survey Report reported an increase in outsourcing in all back-office functions with the exception of R&D and sales and marketing.
As the demand for outsourcing grows, there are three fundamental principles business leaders should consider when choosing the right outsourcing partner.
Focus on value, not cost
Even though cost savings remains one of the biggest motivators for outsourcing among businesses, it should be seen as a long-term outcome of outsourcing rather than the main priority. According to Deloitte’s 2021 Global Shared Services and Outsourcing Survey Report, 88% of businesses have cited process efficiency and standardization as their primary objective of outsourcing, which has overtaken cost reduction at 84%, and more organizations have adopted the digital agenda at 61%.
Determining criteria should be focused on how the outsourcer will help solve your challenges. What’s the roadmap for ongoing improvement? Will the partnership bring capabilities and technology to enhance automation? Do they have a detailed platform for data analytics that will help measure results such as quality, speed and accuracy of work completed while identifying new areas that can improve? Can the outsourcer seamlessly integrate digitization and RPA? Or will they just keep doing things the way they have always been done? Going with the cheapest outsourcer doesn’t necessarily lead to long term value and if one does come along offering the cheapest rates while promising the world, it’s probably too good to be true.
Find a partner that helps you attract and retain talent aligned to your firm’s workstyles
According to a study from market research company, Ipsos, 85% of business leaders say they plan to put policies and technologies in place to support a remote, flexible workforce. Also, 80% of workers say they would choose a job that offers flexible working over a job that didn’t.
Flexibility is the key to success. Business leaders want processes and technology in place to keep their workforce globally connected and productivity at a high level, while employees are demanding the tools and resources and flexibility to work and collaborate remotely. It’s important to partner with outsourcers who bring solutions that enable flexibility for your teams and are also able to adapt to changing circumstances. For example, leveraging skilled resources that can be based onsite, onshore or offshore in centralized and secure facilities, or even working from their homes based on your organization’s specific needs. When the unexpected happens, a resource will be available to support core, in-house teams, facilitating a smooth transition of people, process and technology with an established infrastructure to keep business moving.
Successful organizations that include outsourcers in their delivery model have chosen to work with the ones that help them on their journey of greater flexibility and agility.
Meet at the intersection of custom solutions and best practices
Generally, firms expect their outsourcing partner to be experts in the services they are providing, while having a streamlined way of doing things in order to be able to do more for less.
But end users, especially long-tenured senior managers and fee earners who rely on that support often balk at adopting practices that feel so different to what they are used to and resist new processes and block initiatives.
A completely customized solution that keeps change unnoticeable feels like the easiest path to help manage resistance to change at the stakeholder level. However, that doesn’t allow the firm to take advantage of the outsourcing partners’ experience and best practices, garnered from working with similar organizations. Therefore, minimizing the expected benefit from the outsourcing arrangement.
Conversely, completely overhauling the way your firm operates and adopting off-the-shelf service solutions might not be the best approach either, as it doesn’t consider the nuances of your organization’s operations, culture or institutional practices.
The ideal solution is somewhere in between: where a set of best practices are nuanced for individual situations, where the adaptations for change acceptance and convenience don’t overshadow best practices and process improvements. It’s crucial for business leaders to partner with an outsourcer who understands your unique objectives and current state, learned through a thorough due diligence combined with market research data. From that, they can offer the right tools, skilled personnel and innovative processes. This will help gain the most value through flexible and efficient processes that help core in-house teams focus on what they do best.
Learn more about the benefits of our outsourcing services.
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