by: Sarah Joson
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 | Comments (0)
Category: Outsourcing News
The pricing models of outsourcing contracts are often based on either a fixed pricing prototype or the scope and duration of a project. Some things such as risks are often overlooked, which in turn can affect the total cost of a contract.
In an article posted at info.ISG-One.com, risks in outsourcing deals are highlighted to help business owners who are looking to outsource clearly identify uncertain aspects in contracts especially with today’s rapidly moving market, and with a bit of luck, rule out risks altogether.
Always check if there’s a basic pricing model. Most providers offer their services in packages at a fixed rate. This type of outsourcing pricing is usually less risky but often results to overhead costs so before signing a deal, make sure that it will be maximized and every function will be useful and effective.
Build trust to pave the way for a clear process. Knowing the background of the provider you’ve selected will help you in creating the contract. Clients should communicate their concerns properlyand share more information about their background to help the provider perform due diligence as well.
Explain what you want in a nutshell. To save time and money, clients need to tell the provider what they want to get out of the process and let the professionals come up with the proper solution before signing the proposal or the contract. If the client doesn’t want the proposed solution, he/she can always forward his/her suggestions and provide direction to help the provider design a better solution.
Know the requirements of your business. Since technology is always evolving, business executives should analyze and anticipate trends that can change the landscape of the way business is done and how technology is used. By documenting the internal process of the company, they will be able to map out the events and needs of the company, which can affect operations and budget in the future.
Create a team of leaders. It will be assigned to spearhead the operation and manage each crucial business unit. Select a service provider with the most compelling proposal and pristine track record. Your business, on the other hand, should be an institution worth-serving.
Most people often misconstrue that managing social media sites are as easy as pie, but the truth is businesses that want to invest on social media campaigns will have a lot on their plate.
First off, they need to set up accounts in various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other websites where content is shareable. To make user targeting easier, they would have to know the interests of the majority of each platform (LinkedIn = entrepreneurs, etc.). They likewise need to build their followers, which means marketing managers or outsourced marketing agencies need to create content that will attract users to follow and trust their brand’s account.
Managing social media accounts is very time-consuming and can be labor-intensive depending on the campaigns. Some businesses want to establish their presence in social media but do not have the resources to successfully do it.
OnlineSocialMedia.net lists down things that drive businesses to outsource social media marketing:
Time - It is the most crucial element for social media marketing as it covers different aspects of the production, publication, and marketing process of a campaign. Apart from replying to posts and direct messages, they also have to create compelling content. It can be through articles or videos, but what matters is you are showing it to the right set of audience at the right time.
Know-how - Anybody who knows how social media sites work can handle a company’s campaign - Wrong. The social media marketer should have background in marketing, as well as the latest trends in technology. So business executives can’t just pluck out random employees and order them to tweet about this and repost that as it needs a certain type of skill and that is experience.
Budget constraints - Hiring additional staff to your current marketing team would mean you would have to set up a workstation for him/her and pay for other overhead costs. By outsourcing social media processes, the employee can work remotely while fulfilling his/her daily tasks.You know it’s money well spent when the social media outsourcing company is able to explain to you the details of a campaign, how they started, and if they were able to reach new customers.
Some businesses are likely to get penalized for improper telemarketing practices. For instance, consumers still get calls from a certain company, which they have specifically registered in their Do Not Call list. They can lodge a complaint to the FTC and pursue a case against the company for disregarding their specific request.
Of course, no company would like to be sued and have their brand tarnished, which is why most organizations that need aggressive marketing only deal with professional telemarketing companies.
Business2Community.com shares some of the things that business owners should look out for when selecting a telemarketing partner:
Robocalls are considered as part of SOP.
Robocalls are an illegal practice for telemarketing. Even if the telemarketing service provider claims that doing robocalls is perfectly safe and that they are experts on the matter, do not think twice of turning their offer or package down. Never risk your company’s reputation for the sake of reducing costs.
Do Not Call list is not updated.
One of the crucial compliance factors for telemarketing companies is to strictly follow the Do Not Call list. By assuring that the telemarketing service provider you’ve chosen strictly follows this protocol, you will at least have an idea of the type of leads they have. For instance, they’ve already removed unfavourable leads or leads that are already irate.
This basically means hacking the system so that the number that will appear on the customer’s caller ID will be different.
It is hard enough to trust someone over the phone, and it is even harder to trust someone who is obviously altering his/her character for the sake of landing a sale. Since telemarketers are the ones calling, it is only appropriate to properly introduce themselves and the company they are representing.
Some of these unethical practices carry a hefty fine. It is up to the business leader to make the right choice for their company’s telemarketing processes.
More and more marketing and advertising agencies are starting to take notice of the benefits of content outsourcing. However, they are often seen doing it in a discreet manner as it is still not generally accepted by numerous consumers, companies, and even marketers themselves. The idea is even said to be around long before the internet came, and once technology picked up, the industry and process of having a "ghost writer" evolved, along with platforms such as blogs, micro blogs, photo sharing sites, and social media, as well as devices like tablets, smartphones, and netbooks that were being used.
An article posted at Business2Community.com shares five effective ways of outsourcing content creation processes:
1. Find a credible and creative writer.
It seems like more and more users have added the title of content creator or web writer to their online profiles. The thing is, unless they’ve actually published their portfolio online, looking for the right writer has become such a daunting chore. There are several things you should look into: he/she should have exceptional command of the English language, should be active or have a broad audience in his/her social networking sites, and should be up-to-date with the trends.
2. Brief them properly.
Ideas do not magically appear on a blank piece of paper or an empty screen. No matter how good your writers are, if they are not well informed about what you want and what direction and tone they should take, you will end up with nothing but scrap.
3. It’s better to overshare than to hold back information.
Writing for the internet and writing for the newspaper are two different things. Invest time in training your writers about the newest trends in online marketing. Give them different types of information so they would have enough to write compelling and realistic content that can be appreciated by your audience. Also, giving them access to the blog or website’s visitor tracker can help them strive to become better writers and reassess targets better.
4. Appoint an editor.
All types of content have to be double checked by somebody. If you can’t hire a full-time editor, ask each of your staff to cross check each other’s work. The last thing you want is a minute syntax error on an ad copy that will affect the image of your company. You could also hire a subject matter expert for professions or topics that a typical writer can’t just weave words about.
5. Creative newsjacking.
Trends come and go and when a certain report becomes the talk of the town, writers should be able to contribute and relate their stories with what’s currently happening. News items, especially online articles, have a certain lifespan wherein one moment, it’s really hyped up and
by: Sarah Joson
Monday, April 22, 2013 | Comments (0)
Category: Outsourcing News
Most business owners tend to refer to their initial outsourcing contract - believing everything would still be applicable to their upcoming plan of hiring more providers or subcontracting other processes. Some probably feel that all providers are the same and that changing the contract will just consume more resources, even their time.
However, doing a competitive analysis of credible service providers can help clients know where their contracts stand in the market, and how they can improve them.
ISG-One.com shares five steps that can help clients gauge if it’s feasible to retain their initial contract or draft a new one before hiring more providers.
Research on the things you would like to verify with the provider.
Avoid skimping on the details because once the contract has been drafted, it will be hard to go back and edit it as some clauses are dependent on one another. It will also affect the relationship during the negotiation phase as some providers might think that you often change your mind or you do not know what you really want.
Analyze if your firm has enough room for errors.
Being too confident with your selected service provider can be detrimental to the operation. Since they didn’t experience competitive tension, they might become negligent and lose sight of what they are supposed to deliver. Your current processes might undergo delays and strenuous transition, which is why you have to be sure right from the start that everything will go smoothly or that you are equipped with a contingency plan.
Take the initiative to study the latest trends.
Knowing what you have against what is going on can help you improve your business’ standing. By sending several providers invitations to present will give you a broader idea of what’s going on in the market today.
Reassess the strengths and weaknesses of your organization.
Without knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your internal team, you will fail to get enough information to negotiate and define the scope of your strategy. This will then prevent you from getting a good deal.
Consider the company-wide goals.
See to it that the strategy will add value to the company as a whole and not just a specific business unit. This will maximize your effort and budget, and will help the company grow.
Technology is one of the fastest evolving tools in businesses today. It is crucial to the decision-making process and construction of strategies for future operations. It is constantly evolving that some business leaders consider it as a problem as they’ve invested much of the company’s capital to technologies that drive little to no value to the company, or are only useful for a short period of time.
Meanwhile, major companies were seen hiring IT suppliers to keep their internal IT operations updated and become more economical. However, vendor management protocol should be regularly evaluated and changed so that new technologies can become more sustainable.
Business2Community.com shares five things that can help businesses manage their IT vendors better.
1. Study the trends that may affect your IT supplier’s market.
IT vendors can be easily swayed by the demands of their respective markets. For instance, when the cloud was introduced, they would have to be one of the first service providers offering cloud-related services to the market. Their pricing for other services will change; their packages will evolve as well. It would be better if you are updated or study this on your own.
2. Avoid pushing your vendor to the limit.
Business owners should know the limits of their vendors. This enables them to make correct judgment calls should they want to expand or acquire new IT infrastructure. If IT leaders proceed with plans without checking the background of their providers, it could lead to loss in funds and time.
3. Business executives should always put their foot down.
Operations that use major IT providers often have conflict of ideas. A feasible customer and vendor relationship does not happen overnight. Both parties have to collaborate and business executives should still be able to plot new strategies without being shot down by the vendor.
4. Be more stringent.
When managing IT providers, little mistakes are often pushed aside and when a major error is done, clients do not know how to deal with it. Buyers should review the contract and seek legal action when necessary, or better yet, create a contract that covers all aspects of the operations, even errors, so that when an error actually happens, it will be easy for executives to draw up a solution.
5. Prepare for the end of contract.
Even before starting the operation, clients should have a clear view of what’s going to happen when the contract with a certain provider ends. This alleviates additional financial woes and transition problems.
Internal operations of most businesses usually have a routine where business executives are in charge of overseeing each department. They also work on formulating new strategies that can improve efficiency, minimize production blockages, and enhance the process flow.
If all internal business processes are optimized, each business unit will be able to help a company to eliminate overhead costs, streamline processes, and contribute to its growth.
Business2Community.com shares five things that can help optimize the processes of a business:
1) Do an internal audit of your current operation.
Having a concrete background on the current state of the business operation will enable executives to come up with a better strategy. It will serve as an outline for every goal that they would want to achieve.
Proper collection of data from each business unit should also be done meticulously so that mistakes can be prevented. All of the processes, once collected, should look like they are telling a detailed story of what’s going on in each department and should be able to show which parts need to be improved or need the most attention, and which parts can be retained.
2) Create goals that correspond to the results of the audit.
Goals should be driven from the results of the analysis. This will help in creating achievable goals that will contribute to the business as a whole. The formulated goals can then be used in service level agreements (SLAs) in the future. These can also help the executives to make proper projections.
3) Compare the current state with the goals.
By looking at the current state and goals side by side, leaders will easily see how the important goals, or the goals that need immediate attention, can be attained. The errors can be identified at a faster rate, giving leaders more time to apply planned changes.
4) Create a simulation and try out the strategies.
A simulation will give each business unit and executives a better view on what will happen if they use a specific strategy. Moreover, it will help in predicting the costs and turnaround time of an operation.
5) Hire credible people.
Having the right people will make the transition better and faster. They should be able to handle their tasks, while making additional contributions to the company. For instance, they perform their daily tasks, but they make time to analyze and act on the plans designed by their leaders. They should also be able to understand the plans and adapt to changes.