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November 2012 | Outsourcing Blog | BPO Industry Updates and Articles

PR: Do it In-house or Hire a PR Agency?

by: Sarah Joson

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing News

Should Public Relations work be Outsourced?

There are several ways businesses can improve branding, and one of them is keeping marketing strategies updated. Having a good public relations (PR) approach and using different types of media can help businesses improve their presence among consumers. Traditional ones such as print, radio, and television are still effective and are widely used by advertisers, but as technology and data gradually become more mobile, majority of consumers can now be found online - which is another medium to consider. 

PR covers different aspects and is a time-consuming process. Many companies have their own PR departments in-house, but for some businesses especially start-ups, they may not have enough manpower and resources to develop an effective PR strategy. They may hire a PR agency or even consider outsourcing

An article posted at Guardian.co.uk shows the benefits and drawbacks of doing PR processes in-house and hiring a PR agency. 

If you decide on creating an in-house team, you should be equipped with the right information by performing a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis. Your strategy should be well-thought of and be cascaded to all members of the production team. This will help you have a unified goal and reach the target market using the appropriate media. There are also several ways business executives can learn the trends in the PR & marketing arena. They can take media training courses that cover writing and media processing to achieve marketing goals.

However, setting up a PR team is time-consuming. Even its basic processes will have a long turnaround time.

If you choose to hire an agency, it will definitely cost more but will enable you to focus on more important things like the development of the product that will be launched, or supply chain issues in certain regions of the country. PR agencies have the skills needed to formulate the right plan according to the requirements of the company and/or products/services. Present your objectives to PR agencies and ensure that they understand it fully. It would also help if you give them a unique selling point or how you want to be seen by consumers. For small projects, hiring a PR agency is a good idea as it will help reduce overhead costs.

 


What Small Business Owners Should Know

by: Sarah Joson

Monday, November 26, 2012 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing News

Outsourcing for Small Businesses

In a write-up posted at TheStreet.com, Laurie Kulikowski shares important things that start-up and small business owners should know.

First, she cited the article from TheAtlantic where writer James Fallows said business owners as well as employees should avoid including personal comments in emails, especially ones that could create a scandal or problem in the company. It includes gossip or harsh criticism of an employee. One thing people should remember in emails is that data can be easily monitored, stored, and sometimes, hacked.

Another one is outsourcing. It enables business owners to subcontract a wide range of processes to service providers that charge at a lower rate. It also helps solve talent shortage issues. For instance, if a business needs a new design for their website, they can outsource web design tasks to an offshore to service provider or freelancer who can do it well at a fraction of the cost.

Lastly, one of the important things to remember is to make use of the available marketing tools. If there’s one thing that is crucial to businesses, it’s definitely acquiring more presence online because that’s where the customers are. Everything is becoming mobile, thanks to the internet.

Business owners can make use of social media marketing, search engine optimization, and more interactive processes that can help improve consumer engagement and spread the word about the company. 



The Pros and Cons of Crowdsourcing

by: Sarah Joson

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing News

Crowdsourcing Services

Crowdsourcing is the combination of the word “crowd” and “outsourcing”. It basically means that processes can be outsourced to a crowd of freelancers. Organizations that still have their internal managers and employees often make use of crowdsourcing to address talent shortages.

For instance, a client goes to the provider with a specific job order, the provider then asks several freelancers to send a sample, or work on the task. Ultimately, the client will select his/her preferred freelancer.

Brad James deconstructs crowdsourcing in his article posted at Business2Community.com. His article highlights the cost benefits of crowdsourcing, and identifies its pros and cons. 

When it comes to cost, he said businesses that are trying to avoid huge overhead costs are often caused by hiring external providers or employing an additional internal team. With crowdsourcing, you only pay for what you’ve utilized, which is typical in freelance-based operations.

Crowdsourcing providers earn by charging a services fee or taking some sort of commission from the freelancer’s reward.

Advantages:

- Portfolios do not mean much as long as you can deliver what clients want and when they want it.
- It is more cost-effective for clients.
- There is an endless supply of new ideas.
- It enables businesses to tap international talent.

Disadvantages:

- Freelancers usually get paid at a lower rate.
- It will be hard to track each person’s work and retain top level talent.
- Freelancers who are involved in crowdsourcing are usually beginners and are ready for mass production.
- Traditional providers are overtaken by crowd-based providers because they charge more.

All in all, businesses can use crowdsourcing to the benefit of their financial situations whereas beginners and those who are looking to make extra money can partake when crowdsourcing agencies call for orders.


Game Changers in the IT Services Arena

by: Sarah Joson

Tuesday, November 20, 2012 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing News

Movers and Shakers in the IT Services Space

In an article published at CloudTimes.org, Gartner Inc. said the information technology (IT) sector is changing as it is leaning more towards mobile-based technology and data. David Cearly, Vice-president at Gartner said mobile-based processes are overtaking desktop-based technology. Some of which are mobile devices, social media innovations, cloud computing as well as web information. IT companies are now encouraged to address the growing demand for mobile services, specially the cloud-client architecture.

With this shift in the IT environment, the skills of IT employees are also anticipated to change. Front-end developers and designers should now consider mobile capabilities that are compatible with different browsers and mobile operating systems. Cearley also noted that consumers have new perspectives and expectations that should be addressed by application developers and designers.
 
Miko Matsumara, Senior VP for platform marketing and developer relations at Kii Inc., said the developers of today rely heavily on the cloud and have shifted from traditional architecture. He added that client cloud is similar to a programming platform, language, and model.

Meanwhile, Jim Duggan, Gartner’s VP for Research, said by 2015, mobile applications will be at the forefront and have surpassed static technology by 400 percent. Firms should also look into training programs for developers and outsourcing.
   
Gartner analysts predict that in the near future, businesses will allocate more funds on IT and will employ a Chief Digital Officer (CDO), and by 2015, 25 percent will have CDOs. 

Another segment that is anticipated to grow is cloud security due to the increasing compliance regulations. Furthermore, Gartner sees enterprise service providers to acquire cloud-based identity access management solutions. Eighty percent of cloud security issues next year will be related to administrative errors and user management issues, said the firm. They also believe that 60 percent of large companies will only give mobile network access connectivity to their employees.

 


Is the Concept of Outsourcing still Effective?

by: Sarah Joson

Monday, November 19, 2012 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing News

The presidential elections in the US must have amplified the negative implication that the term outsourcing has.

An article in CIO.com proves that a lot of service providers want to break away from the negative idea and want to be known as something else, something better.

The article highlights a study done by Hfs Research, an outsourcing analyst firm, in which 63 percent of IT leaders said they would like to remove the term "outsourcing" when speaking of the IT services that they subcontract to third party providers, while 68 percent said they do not want to be associated with the term.

According to Cliff Justice, Partner in KPMG’s Shared Services and Outsourcing Advisory, outsourcing is beginning to evolve. In his report "The Death of Outsourcing", processes and delivery models are said to be shifting from basic cost-cutting processes to more complex operations that deal with the client’s higher expectations and provide tools that help businesses operate. He also mentioned in the study that customers and providers should come up with fresh ideas regarding outsourcing.

His report pointed out that entrepreneurs should look at which process would best suit their business. They should think of it as an "extended global enterprise" where they can make use of, and combine, insourcing, outsourcing, or offshore outsourcing.

Outsourcing as a commodity instead of a special service

In an interview, Cliff Justice revealed that the shift in the industry began around 2006-2007 and that outsourcing has evolved as a commodity instead of a special service. Businesses which are well aware of the outsourcing processes use it to enable their business to grow and mature, and are actually only purchasing the services that the business needs and help them achieve their targets. It has resulted to new products, collaboration, and innovation.


The Philippines as Destination for English Lessons

by: Sarah Joson

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing News

English Language Learning Destination

An article posted at www.BBC.co.uk stated that the Philippines is rapidly becoming known as a destination for affordable English lessons. Foreign students were said to be flocking to the country to enrol in English-speaking universities to learn how to communicate in English. 

Factors that were found to have contributed to the growth in the number of foreign enrollees are the inexpensive fees and neutral English accent. If compared to English-speaking countries such as the UK, the US or Australia, the Philippines is singled out by Russian, Iranian, Brazilian, and Libyan students who want to learn English as it is more economical to study the language in the country.

An English teacher cited that her school’s fee of $500 (£313) for a 60-hour class is only one-third of the same course in Canada or the US. Furthermore, the ability of a Filipino to speak with a clear American accent makes the country more ideal for learning the English language.

The country is also home to a lot of companies that offer call center services, where employees are often trained to speak like an American so callers will understand them easily and will not know that they’re talking to people who are not from the US.

The Philippine Immigration Bureau announced that 24,000 candidates applied for a permit to study this year, far from the 8,000 back in 2008. Another positive factor for the Philippines is that most of its universities teach lessons in English.
 
According to Cristino Panlilio, Undersecretary of the Department of Trade and Industry, the Philippines is ready to accept more students and as the demand increases, the country should likewise improve marketing strategies to address the trend.

 


Managing End-User Computing Costs

by: Sarah Joson

Monday, November 12, 2012 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing News

There are times when companies experience fluctuations in end-user computing (EUC). This could result to large overhead costs or budgets falling short. However, it is more common for an organization experience an increase in demand which is why some businesses encounter challenges, especially in dealing with the service provider and costs. 

Ways to manage end-user computing costs

Info.ISG-One.com shares five ways on how businesses can manage EUC costs properly, while making the most out of the entire operation.

1) Coordinate with your service provider.
Service providers know more about the environment than the clients. So who better to ask regarding the ratio of full-time employees to end users? Providers are also likely to point out which ordering and delivering processes clients could focus on.

2) Regularly monitor and update changes in device usage. Properly track each device. See if it’s idle, left behind by a former employee, returned properly when new orders came or if it is in storage. This will help clients as well as providers have a concrete idea on what’s actually going on and if each device is being accounted for properly.

3) Create an agreement based on usage.
Recommend provisions regarding chargeback principles so that each job order, delivery, and usage of all the devices will create a benchmark that can be used for future transactions. This will also enable clients to provide accurate data if discrepancies in billing show up.
 
4) Review invoice.
Closely monitor invoice sent by the provider. Having proper financial management ensures clients that no unscrupulous charges show up.

5) Review warranty policies. Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) warranties have expiration dates. If devices are retained beyond their OEM warranty, clients should contact EUC service providers for upgrades or complete change of units before these expire.


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