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A post at TalkBusinessMagazine.co.uk posted five business processes that companies should outsource based on the recommendations of five business leaders.

Virtual Assistance/Documentation
FoSpyn co-founder Rahul Goyal explained that a virtual assistant can help alleviate congestion in the office by working on the client follow-ups and other secretarial functions non-core functions that can disrupt operations. Assign the urgent tasks first and work your way through your to-do list to clear your schedule from time-consuming work.

Content Creation
As for Terry Koutsios, founder and CEO of fivesquid.com, content creation is also a great process to outsource as it is very easy to transmit online. Hiring a blogger or writer for your website can be a painstaking process, but once you start generating valuable content, you will have greater chances of engaging with your target market. By following a content plan, you will be sure that you and your outsourced content writer are aligned.

Social Media Marketing
Social media is one of the most rewarding platforms today. It helps to humanize a company and reach out to a wider audience. Paul Robinson, founder of Social Media Services, said you would have to invest time to feel the effect of your social media campaign. Most companies even disregard it because they feel that it’s unnecessary or not the right avenue for their business. But, what they fail to realize is the PR value it brings to the business. By outsourcing a designated social media pilot, you will have support 24/7, and your online marketing arm will come full circle.

Graphic Design
A lot of companies do not require a consistent supply of creative and marketing materials, which is why outsourcing a graphic designer is their best option. However, for companies that are just starting out, they would need constant branding to make sure that customers remember them. Businesses can ask for design packages from freelance designers or creative agencies. By having consistent design, you will acquire an extra layer of credibility and personality, which can make people trust your brand more.
 
A Standby Dev Person
For urgent website needs and troubleshooting, small and start-up businesses can outsource web-related processes. It could be simple HTML code, or a pesky bug that could affect the customer’s experience in your website. Rates for small types of technical processes are usually fixed, which is great for companies that are running a website, or even a mobile app.


According to a report conducted by Frost & Sullivan and recently discussed at Channelnomics.com, firms face two critical information security challenges. First, there’s the rapidly evolving IT landscape that companies have to keep up with. Then there’s the shortage in information security experts.

The current shortage in security staff and the rising cases of security threats have become a challenge for numerous companies all over the world. Some of the solutions they are considering are increasing investment in security technology, recruiting and training internal personnel, and outsourcing information security functions to experts.

Thirty percent of survey respondents said for the first 12 months, they plan to add more funds for management of outsourced security services to size up security teams. The report revealed that 49 percent of participants said they lack skilled professionals internally; 30 percent said they need additional pairs of hands to work on projects; and 26 percent stated that they are facing recruiting limitations.

Moreover, the survey highlighted that the cost of information security operations is rising as well, which is why 30 percent noted that outsourcing is a more cost-efficient option. In addition to that, 23 percent said outsourcing helps alleviate the burden of time-consuming tasks, while 18 percent cited that they are having a hard time retaining staff.

Information security should be taken seriously at all times, and before you even ink a deal with a provider, you have to perform an all-out background investigation to ensure that your company and brand will be in good hands.

In terms of what clients are looking for in a security service provider, 55 percent stated that they are looking at the pricing, while 50 percent said the provider needs to prove its capabilities through a service-level agreement. Almost half (49 percent) revealed that they are looking at the company’s capacity, quality of service and size; 33 percent consider tenure as a focal point; 30 percent stated that they want a provider that has a wide scope of services; and 22 percent said they are after the brand name.

The survey respondents also stated their top outsourced functions: 40 percent said they are looking to outsource threat intelligence, research, detection, forensics, and remediation; 37 percent said firewall and security breach prevention systems or asset management and monitoring; while 28 percent are looking for risk and compliance management services.

If providers want to win big in the market, they need to prove that they are capable of providing the needs of their potential clients.


State of Global Cyber Security

by: Sarah Joson

Thursday, June 25, 2015 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

A post at ChannelNomics.com recently discussed the results of the online survey “2015 Global Information Security Workforce Study” conducted by International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC2), Frost & Sullivan, security professional placement firm Cyber 360, and consultancy Booz Allen Hamilton. Nearly 14,000 security professionals from small, mid-size, and large businesses from various industries joined the survey.

The report read that firms will soon face an onslaught of security challenges. Cases of cyber attacks and security breaches will increase, and there will be a decline in the number of professionals skilled enough to address these issues.

The report cited several factors that could be contributing to the growing pool of challenges. Some of the things that firms should watch out for are the increasing capabilities of black hats, breadth of technology and its platforms (cloud, mobile/BYOD, and wearables), which allow criminals to have access to prime information and data.

Common processes that bait companies are the production of vulnerable software application into production, and identity theft through phishing.

Now, as companies are going through security battles, there comes another issue - they lack skilled data security personnel. More than half (62 percent) of the survey respondents said their businesses lack adequate information security staff. This percentage was a leap from the 56 percent who aired the same sentiments in 2013.
 
By 2020, shortage in the segment will reach 1.5 million. The report indicated that it will likely be caused by insufficient supply of suitable candidates, and not by reluctant hiring managers.

In order to address the talent shortage, survey respondents said they are considering alternatives such as upgrading security tools, hiring and training internal staff, and outsourcing.

Moreover, even if hiring and training their own security personnel is an option, it usually takes up a lot of time and resources, which is why many companies outsource the functions instead. One of the platforms they use is managed services. Thirty percent of the respondents said they are planning to spend more on managed or outsourced security services in the coming months. They will outsource to beef up existing security teams and address other challenges such as rising costs of operating an information security arm, recruitment limitations, and employee retention issues.


3 Tips to Stay Ahead of the Content Marketing Game

by: Finella Kristle Panlilio

Wednesday, June 24, 2015 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

Consumers today are more sophisticated than ever, absorbing information both via online and mobile devices and connecting with them in real time. To stay ahead of the content marketing game, take note of these key takeaways from the new Asia-Pacific research study - Content Matters: The Impact of Brand Storytelling Online in 2015 - by public relations firm Waggener Edstrom.

It's all about the ecosystem.
Consumers want cross-channel experiences, through an ecosystem of online and offline touch points. But it's important to note that the dominant platforms change according to industry and geography. For example, regardless of industry, blogs dominate purchasing decisions in South Korea; while social media holds the greatest purchase influence in the Philippines. And in the majority of Asia-Pacific markets, the Finance and Banking industry's strongest influencers are corporate websites, while Restaurant and Dining purchases rely heavily on word of mouth.

Content is a local game.
Facebook and WhatsApp currently dominate the region, with the third most preferred social network differing in almost every market. Consumers based in Singapore and Malaysia are hot for Instagram, Indonesians and South Koreans love to tweet, while India and the Philippines are expanding their circles on Google+. Moreover, willingness to engage with brands and motivation are market-led. For example, access to discounts is the main reason consumers follow a brand in Hong Kong and Indonesia; in China, it's the love for the brand; in India, it's for inspirational content. This means that campaign design in Southeast Asia should be promotion-led, while marketers will need to focus on brand in China and touch hearts in India.

Multiple devices matter.
Based on the research, consumers are using multiple screens to engage with brands and gather information prior to purchase, pivoting between devices, typically a smartphone and a computer. Also, consumers combine branded content before taking action, and they do so in different ways depending on their location.


Source:
http://www.marketing-interactive.com/


Ways to Maximize IT Outsourcing Deals

by: Sarah Joson

Monday, June 22, 2015 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

Today’s IT outsourcing deals are being inked left and right. Large, long-term deals used to rule the IT outsourcing space, but nowadays, these types of deals are considered impractical and a waste of time. IT companies are now seen dividing major operations into smaller ones, which are then subcontracted to niche providers.

If companies were to outsource to a single provider today, others will consider it risky or a bad move. Even experts believe that having a single provider is not the best strategy for a long-term project. Specific technical expertise that a firm needs might not be covered by the provider and large providers might not be the best candidates for testing and development, or they may be good testers and platforms for development but do not have the adequate management and transition teams.

A post at CIO.com suggests ways on how companies can maximize and optimize their IT outsourcing operations:
 
Multisourcing is not always the best option.
Some transformative and enterprise programs may not be compatible with multisourcing, or the process of outsourcing a specific division/function to several providers. For instance, certain specific and complex functions such as software solutions or software-as-a-service platform are best to be done in a single-provider approach. The life cycle of the operations is redundant with minimal updates and changes, and is more focused on agile configuration and testing.

Properly address risks.
Large-scale and long-term IT projects must rule out all the issues that could lead to problems in the future during the planning and contracting phase. One way is to ensure that you, as the client, will only be billed for the things that you specifically asked for, and are delivered well within your stipulated conditions and agreement. Also, if you feel that you can gauge the operation well enough to make estimates, then do so by limiting the scope of work and deliverables of the outsourcing provider.  

What you would want to do is create a strategy that will add value to your ongoing operation, while watching out for the major drawbacks that can happen in a single-provider partnership. Consider the rates, discounts, management structure, resource and staffing requirements, performance structure, and commercial terms.


Reasons to Outsource Finance Processes

by: Sarah Joson

Thursday, June 18, 2015 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

With today’s fast-paced environment, businesses often overlook some opportunities that can help expand and improve their operations. For instance, small and medium-sized enterprises have to wear several different types of hats to get through the day. A typical employee at an SME performs a variety of tasks, which often overtakes their core function. This can become an additional challenge for them and can put a strain on their output.
 
Though finance processes are not commonly outsourced functions, it can be done by experienced finance service providers. In fact, a lot of global companies have subcontracted their payroll, benefits management, invoice management, collections, and budgeting to third party service providers.

A post at TheCSuite.co.uk shares some of the reasons why should you outsource your company’s finance processes:

It can save you valuable time - time that could be allotted for things that can add value to your business.
A professional finance firm can provide service that has been tested by their client list and years in the industry.

An outsourced finance partner is also a valuable source of guidance and expert advice, and this likewise is the main reason why most small firms take advantage of this service. Small firms also see the value of the relationship they have with their outsourced finance experts because they understand that this can help develop the business.

As for the role of the accountant, he/she is expected to educate other employees based on the financial resources available. But, majority of the tasks related to the company’s finances should not be on accountants - it is also important for business executives to step in and look at the state of the company’s budget.

All in all, outsourcing finance functions will enable business executives to focus on important matters so that the skills of all business units are maximized, and the finance aspect is in good hands.


A post in Computerworld.co.nz discussed the details of Grant Thornton’s latest International Business Report (IBR) survey where it was discovered that New Zealand companies do not consider cost as the top reason when choosing an outsourcing partner.

According to Matt Parkinson, Partner, Privately Held Business at Grant Thornton New Zealand, many assume that cost and technical know-how of third party service providers are the crucial success factors in outsourcing partnerships. However, the IBR study discovered that reliability, communication, trust, and other non-core skills are important to making client-vendor relationships work. In fact, it is often more important than factors such as skills and capabilities. Parkinson noted that even if firms still consider the cost, it is not the most important factor when choosing the outsourcing partner.

New Zealand executives who answered the survey revealed the most important factors when selecting an outsourcing provider: experience in the industry (46 percent), trust (36 percent), and ability to adapt and understand their business (36 percent). Cost of services as a factor is at the fourth spot with 18 percent.

Parkinson also cited report findings that 91 percent of business owners in New Zealand identified good communication as a key driver that helps improve the outsourcing experience. In line with that, New Zealand ranked 22 out of 35 countries based on their ability to communicate, and all the survey participants in the top seven countries have also stated that communication is crucial to successful customer service.

Parkinson also said being assertive and responsive are contributing factors to good communication in outsourcing relationships. In fact, 75 percent of business leaders around the world pointed out that their best service providers are able to reply to their requests and inquiries within a short period of time.



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