by: Sarah Joson
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 | Comments (0)
Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends
As business environments continue to evolve, it is hard to imagine that outsourcing contracts will remain unchanged or consistent. Requirements are progressing and are becoming more complicated, which is why some experts believe that it might be ideal to revamp contracts immediately. Not only would this type of strategy enable providers gain access to new options, it will also help reduce costs.
A post at CIO.com shares five factors that companies should look into to see if their outsourcing contract is still serving its purpose properly.
1. Look out for new and better solutions. Service providers are always on the lookout for innovative tools that can help improve an already seamless operation. Apart from cloud technology, automation is gaining traction in the market where machines are programmed to perform repetitive tasks that were once assigned to humans. Another is “service utilities” wherein a specific process is automated to help companies save on costs.
2. Take the multisourcing approach. There are countless IT service providers out in the market today that are offering niche processes. They present different business models that are often packaged at affordable, if not cheaper, rates than those offered by large outsourcing companies. What’s more is it’s easier to compare and find out if they are the best in their segment or another random provider in a saturated market. Through multisourcing, you have full control of your entire engine as each gear and part will be predetermined by you or your CIO.
3. Align the goals of the company. Rather than paying for a solution, service providers must commit themselves to delivering results and adding value to the business of their clients. Having an outcome-driven operation gives IT outsourcing clients better control on what they are spending their money on.
4. Consider new trends in technology. Mobility, data analytics, social, Internet of Things - these are money-making or money-saving tools that large companies often overlook and shy away from. They believe that these things are not sophisticated enough for their corporate business and this type of IT service is not aligned with their brand. IT service providers must push these tools as these are disrupting the way consumers and the market as a whole think. It is such a huge influence that cancelling them out will result to losses.
5. Recycle past agreements. Customers have the habit of bringing up the past - even if it doesn’t make sense anymore. For instance, they want new technology using the old price points seen in the initial contract. It’s unfair for the provider plus if pricing is all the client is looking at then they might as well switch to a cheaper provider who will give them exactly what they paid for.
by: Sarah Joson
Tuesday, July 28, 2015 | Comments (0)
Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends
People still have different opinions when it comes to outsourcing. Despite it being recognized as a great solution to restore business operations right after the last global economic downturn, a lot still criticize its impact to local economies, particularly the United States.
BizJournals.com shares the advantages and disadvantages of having an offshore IT outsourcing operation:
If done correctly, it is still one of the best solutions to reduce operational costs while adding value to your company. Other advantages include:
Reduce stress and hassle.
Most outsourcing service providers have in-house project managers who will report to you all the details and progress of the project. Knowing that you have experts handling your projects is one less thing to worry about and you have fewer things to do on a daily basis.
It will streamline your processes.
Since you now have more time, you can now look into the more important functions and processes of your business. You no longer have to manage each and every division since service providers will manage it for you. All you have to do is develop strategies and run marketing campaigns to help your business grow without fixating on the small stuff.
You have control on your capital expenses.
Infrastructure takes up a huge chunk of your capital expenses, and if you outsource a certain function, the service provider will most likely have the necessary tools to get the project going.
You are not alone, you have a partner.
Your outsourcing partner is there to tell you whether a decision is too much, or which areas you can improve on. Also, they are there to help you address challenges you encounter which means you will be sharing not only successes, but risks as well.
Unfortunately, outsourcing still has disadvantages due to the fact that the industry is evolving, and service providers are continuously catching up with the changes. These are the areas that need to be improved:
Data and information security
Since a lot of data are transmitted during an outsourcing contract, concern over the security and proper dissemination of important information has always been an issue for the industry.
Clients are unimpressed with the output.
There are still a large number of clients who express their dissatisfaction with outsourcing service providers. They are usually the ones who go for the cheaper vendors and expect to get top results. To avoid this, look for a vendor with a proven track record and testimonials from happy customers.
Some providers lack proper customer support.
Some providers are known to be showstoppers during the pitching stage, but months after the contract is signed, red flags appear. Most outsourcing relationships fail because the provider overlooks their customer support and forget that they have to pay attention to their clients.
Some contracts incur questionable charges.
Some contracts incur charges due to unavoidable instances such as external threats stemming from developed nations, and unexpected changes in the markets. You can avoid these by setting a clear outline of costs and imposing margins to shoulder sudden changes.
Cultural and communication challenges
Sometimes, regular online meetings and chat sessions are not enough to align the campaign. Sometimes, providers miss a step, or the client forgets to explain an additional change in the process. To have a smooth operation, set clear orders before the start of operations and make sure that both parties agree and understand the processes and expectations.
A post at EverestGrp.com shared the highlights of the latest Everest Group report called “Finance and Accounting Outsourcing (FAO) Annual Report 2015 - Generating Value through Innovation”.
The study revealed that the finance and outsourcing (FAO) market is nearing maturity as growth slows down from double digits in 2012 to approximately six percent in 2014. In addition to that, more contract renewals have been observed lately as the number of total contracts continues to decline, which is an indication that market maturity is well on its way.
The report also found that buyers are now more driven by value more than pure labor arbitrage. Some of the new technological innovations and process improvements seen in the FAO contracts are Robotics Process Automation (RPA), predictive and prescriptive analytics, judgment-oriented processes, and hybrid pricing models.
According to Swapnil Bhatnagar, Practice Director at Everest Group, more buyers are considering technology as a means to save on costs and generate value. He cited robotic process automation, a process which could reduce cost from 15 to as much as 60 percent. Contractual deals are also seen to gain traction focusing on analytics, expansion of process and geographic scope, and more advanced pricing models.
Other highlights in the report are:
- Growth is seen from smaller organizations, healthcare segment, retail industry, as well as hi-tech and telecom industry.
- Two-thirds of the FAO market is composed of the top service providers.
- Global sourcing continues to proliferate as buyers are looking for more value for their money.
- The coverage of contractual deals is expanding based on processes and locations.
- Service providers are adapting to the latest trends in technology solutions and process expertise.
In recent years, YouTube has played an integral part in helping brands market their products and services. Through influencers, it has been easy to reach potential customers who turn to them for product reviews, tips, and tutorials.
If you’ve been eyeing YouTube as an outlet for your video campaigns but don’t know where to start in terms of partnering with influencers, take a look at these tips from Social Media Examiner to help you get the word out about your company.
1. Find authentic YouTubers.
To get the most out of word-of-mouth marketing, find the right influencers for your brand (those who already embody your brand and truly love your product), and then allow them the creative freedom to position your product organically in their videos. A video that feels fake, forced or scripted only shuns potential customers. People don't go to YouTube to watch commercials; they're there to search for information and see their favorite video personalities give advice and offer interesting information.
2. Hire by fit, not by followers.
When searching for YouTubers to work on a campaign, it may seem enticing to simply hire the ones with the largest following or view counts. In theory, this makes sense. But if you don't have the right and natural fit, your message and product will likely go unnoticed. Aim for small- to mid-sized YouTube personalities who have a tight-knit community as your brand's target market. In particular, smaller influencers with a highly engaged audience around a niche subject are invaluable. Not only do they have greater impact, they are also often more cost-effective due to their audience size.
3. Track response to links.
Determine the success of a campaign by creating and providing a custom tracking link for each influencer, which leads back to your website, blog or product page. This way, you can see which influencers were most effective, and decide which ones you do and do not want to work on future campaigns. Ask your influencers to add your tracking link to the top of their video description, so viewers can easily find and click the link.
4. Offer coupon codes.
When viewers search for your company organically by opening up a new browser tab or when they watch your video on certain devices that don't allow clicking description links, it doesn't show up in your campaign results. A coupon code is an excellent way to track ROI and entice customers to take immediate action. It helps sway a potential customer who isn't sure about your product or service, while giving you a video conversion to track. YouTubers have established relationships with their audience, so when they provide a "special code" to use at checkout, it proves that they're true ambassadors. Also, influencers get more excited about promoting products with special discount codes because they want their audience to see that they're getting them a great deal.
5. Create titles that drive views.
Coming up with a title for the video in your campaign is just the same as writing the title of a blog post or a book - it needs to be interesting and catchy. Work with your influencer to create a headline that makes sense for your product and fits seamlessly with the type of titles and content the YouTuber is known for. Don't worry about getting your brand name in the video title. Unless your brand is already well-known and an established household name, working your brand name into the title may lead to fewer views. It may also scream “commercial”, and further reduce the number of views of your video campaign.
6. Optimize video for SEO.
When it comes to SEO, every little bit helps. Since Google owns YouTube, preference is often given to YouTube content in their search. To increase your search ranking, make sure your YouTube influencer includes your brand name and any other keywords associated with your product or company in the video description and tags.
Instagram is rising through the ranks of Facebook and Twitter - even surpassing the latter in terms of monthly active users (over 300 million as of July 2015) - its growth rate showing no signs of stopping. Despite its growing user base, however, many business professionals still don’t recognize the value of Instagram. Because brands don’t understand the network, they either avoid it or treat it as a side project and don’t put much effort into it. As mobile continues to dominate, priorities as well as the perception of Instagram will likely change and businesses should be prepared to extend their reach through the mobile networking service.
Every social media platform has a community - Instagram included. Managing a community on Instagram is different from managing a community on other platforms, but fret not. Social Media Today shares six important tips for community management on Instagram:
1. Check your notifications often.
Be sure to keep an eye on your notifications in real-time once your content goes live. This is crucial because the notifications pane in Instagram currently only shows you the 80 most recent comments, and most people see and engage with photos when they are first posted.
2. Reply to comments.
Responding to comments is standard and important on any platform, but on Instagram, it’s often ignored. Get conversations going, ask questions, and engage. Show your followers that your brand is accessible and willing to listen, and personal connections and loyalty will follow. Don’t forget to tag the person’s username so they will be notified.
3. Encourage users to tag their friends.
You may find that most comments are people simply tagging their friends. This can be a little discouraging since you can’t engage much with just a username, but you should still encourage it - more eyes on your content can result to more engagement and followers.
4. Use third party web-based services.
That it is mobile-based is what throws most people off about Instagram. You can’t post photos or see your notifications in its current desktop version. Take advantage of third party web-based services like Iconosquare for an easier and more convenient way to check your notifications via PC.
5. Use Instagram Direct to run giveaways.
Comment-to-win sweepstakes are great for boosting comments. When you’ve selected your winners, tell them you’ll reach out via Instagram Direct (Instagram’s version of a Facebook private message or Twitter direct message) where you can privately request for their email address and pass along the prize.
6. Check hashtags for user-generated content.
Your fans may already be posting content about your products or services, which is almost always a given for food-related brands. Try searching a few hashtags related to your brand and a hashtag of your brand name and see what’s out there. Engage on their photos with likes and comments - they’ll most likely be thrilled to see the recognition and follow your brand if they aren’t already.
You can also showcase your community by featuring user-generated content. Use Instagram Direct or comment to reach out and get permission, then regram or post their photos. Be sure to always give credit.
Market intelligence firm Information Services Group recently released its ISG Outsourcing Index where it was revealed that the outsourcing activity and annual contract value for during the second quarter had recovered from the weak first quarter. The report also indicated that smaller contracts are gaining traction, ACV in the Americas gains pace and has doubled in digits, EMEA and Asia-Pacific had surpassed the $2 billion mark for the 6th straight quarter and has pulled through the lack luster first quarter, but the growth in ACV is slower compared to last year, and the future is filled with uncertainty as the market continues to adopt Digital As-a-Service.
However, the market report indicated that although outsourcing activity improved globally, the value of the deals had declined.
The ISG Outsourcing Index™ analyzes and measures commercial outsourcing contracts with annual contract values (ACV) of $5 million or more and found that 451 deals were signed during the second quarter, on top of the 745 agreements in the first six months noted this year.
Even with the sharp increase in outsourcing activity, the $6.2 billion ACV seen circulating in the second quarter is seven percent less than the figures posted during the second quarter of last year, but jumped 24 percent from the first quarter of this year. The total ACV posted in the first half of this year reached $11.2 billion, 14 percent down from the previous year. One of the factors identified as the reason for the drop is this year’s first quarter - the slowest in the last 10 years.
Several reasons are linked with the obvious increase in activity which are buyers are looking for more convenient deals - cheaper and more flexible now that technology is disrupting much of the environment in the outsourcing space.
According to ISG President and Partner John Keppel, the outsourcing market is continuously adopting global options, which then further accelerate the activity. As a matter of fact, three of the last six months have posted the highest outsourcing activity. Moreover, he anticipates that the trend towards smaller deals will continue adding that from the economic downturn in 2008; only the volume of contracts grew, whereas the ACV maintained momentum.
Keppel added that ACVs grew from a slow first quarter and surpassed the $6 billion without backing from mega deals. Only two deals in the second quarter had an ACV of over $100 million, which is very unlikely. Clearly, in today’s time, the size of the deal is no longer the driver of the market - it is now the size of the demand.
by: Sarah Joson
Wednesday, July 15, 2015 | Comments (0)
Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends
In most organizations, projects are often driven by one key aspect - budget. Every decision and strategy executives make are anchored on the company’s finances. Even if the firm requires a new operation, or a sudden problem arises, it will still depend on the budget.
Like what we’ve seen in other industries, having the most affordable supplier is not always the best option and strategy, and the pricing for offshore outsourced projects is no different from what you usually encounter in your local setting.
Searchsoa.Techtarget.com shares some important factors that business owners must consider when deciding to outsource software development.
First, if you are looking to hire a decent software developer, you will end up paying an average rate. Having him/her create complicated software programs will of course cost you a lot more. Moreover, the timeline of a project will affect the going rate and this often includes revisions and final approval.
Another factor is whether we like it or not, our cultures and values differ from one another and this type of incongruence can affect the communication between the buyer and supplier - both of which can be located in different parts of the globe.
For instance, you are describing a feature you want for your software without a clear understanding of the details it entails. You then explain this to your outsourced offshore developers and assume that they understand everything you are saying, or they will speak up to clarify things. You also assume that they will do their best to achieve your goals. But these assumptions can cause problems, and it’s hard to avoid them because it’s a miscommunication issue.
If it is your first time to outsource, you can try back office processes, and keep core processes in-house. But, if you are a small company that is trying to expand and requiring immediate external assistance then you can outsource processes. Work closely with the service provider to ensure that no vital data is taken or made public. In a nutshell, outsourcing can serve as a means to develop the current operations of companies, and not to eradicate the company’s real identity by totally replacing operations through an outsourcing service delivery model.