Almost everything is, SAME SAME but DIFFERENT

by Alexander Tacugue - Channel Development Manager, hammerjack

Originally posted on LinkedIn

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Same, same. Reflecting on the last crazy quarter, what has stood out to me is advancements within the finance and accounting industry, whether services or products, seemed to have slowed (since the recent cloud boom anyway). There now more players pushing each other in the market to refine their products with an aim to get your business, which is great for you and your business.  

So, what’s different?

You have options, more now than ever. For example, the offshoring industry is evolving and where as previously small and mid-sized business has only had one option (Staffing or as its more commonly known, Seat Leasing), you now have service providers talking about outcomes, results and measurable ROI. These kind of service models are what big corporates like Telstra, AMEX, Optus, Virgin etc. opt to move millions of dollars in costs and drive improved efficiency and customer experience offshore. Why? Because they recognize that they are not experts at moving functions offshore and they have a business to run. These models are now available to you. That’s a game changer. 

Service providers that talk about outcomes and share responsibility for the success of your offshore venture (have skin in the game) is what’s different. DIY service models don’t drive performance or results. Getting results in any business, especially offshore takes STRUCTURE, GOVERNANCE and EXPERIENCE, fact! The good news is, the right service provider can provide all of this. 

Why is that important?

Structure

Besides providing a great working environment, structure is key for driving consistency, efficiency and employee engagement. Having a team offshore should be no different to having a team in Australia. How productive would your team in Australia be without management, direction and presence?  Structure should be a must when selecting your offshore partner: 

  • Real-time, onsite management and direction - (having management support does make a difference, especially when you are 7000 km's away and the only interaction you have is over a video call.)

  • Coaching, development and growth pathways - (besides pay, personal development is the number one priority for Filipinos when looking for an employer)

  • Rewards and recognition and (real) employee engagement - (recognizing performance and checking in with team members on a personal level plays a big part in employee retention.)

  • Reporting and visibility of your offshore team members - (having a tracker for results is good but having a management team locally, acting as an extension of your team and sharing your outcomes, communicating regularly between you and your team members creates a sense of belonging – Your team feel like a part of your business)

Governance

Engaging a service provider to employ team members overseas is one thing. Transitioning your functions, training your new team members and driving outcomes requires governance. What works for you in Australia, won’t necessarily work for you in the Philippines. For example, traveling to the Philippines to train your new team is fine first time around, but what if you lose people? Are you going to travel to the Philippines every time? Some things you may want to think about: 

  • How are you protecting customer information?

  • How will you measure team member performance?

  • How will you on-board new team members? How will you assess new trainees?

  • What is your expected speed to competency? How do you measure this?

  • How will you measure and manage quality?

  • How do you review processes and make improvements? 

  • How will you manage change and ensure that changes are rolled out effectively?

  • What are your performance expectations? And how will you raise the bar? 

Lastly, business Continuity – What is your plan? What part does your offshore team play and how or what actions will you take to minimize disruption in the case of an incident or loss of workforce either in Australia or the Philippines?  Is your partner talking to you about your Business Continuity Plan? 

Experience

Finding good people and an office space is the easy part. Successfully moving a function or process, or building a team offshore, takes years of experience. Establishing your business and your team offshore takes a deep understanding of your business, your services and your way of working. The right partner will adapt to your way of working, not the other way around. They will be able to talk about scalability and redundancy.

It’s worth noting here, that outsourcing your functions and processes does not mean handing over control. It simply means engaging a team of experts to execute on your offshore goals, with your objectives top of mind. Its your business, you are the customer and YOU ARE IN CONTROL. 

With the right experienced partner, you can focus on your business objectives, with your partner driving your results offshore.  Experience is everything. 

As a SME, you need to understand What is your time worth and think about what your measure of success looks like when outsourcing. The industry has evolved, most offshoring businesses haven’t. 

You have options, you should expect more.