Derek Gallimore is a contributor to Forbes.com and a member of the Forbes Business Council. This article was first published on Forbes.
The Covid-19 crisis put a lot of pressure on businesses and caused big disruptions in the global business sector. Because of the lockdowns and restrictions, businesses were faced with serious operational and financial challenges. As business leaders continue to navigate uncharted waters, I don’t think it has ever been so crucial for businesses to cater to the needs of customers, clients and staff.
The uncertainties brought about by the pandemic have strongly sped up the urge for organizations to undergo total digital transformation. This only proved how we have become increasingly reliant on technology and the internet.
While we embrace the concept of remote work, we cannot disregard that most businesses were not technologically equipped for this type of work model. And this is why a lot of organizations have heavily relied on outsourcing over the last two years.
How outsourcing aided business continuity in the global market
As the CEO of an outsourcing company, I saw that businesses from all industry sectors were able to get through the impacts of the pandemic through outsourcing. While some companies were put at a standstill, others turned to outsourcing to keep their businesses afloat.
With travel restrictions in place, businesses sometimes had limited resources to support their operations. Outsourcing has helped companies tap into a wider talent pool and expertise — especially in specific business areas like finance and accounting, information technology, customer service and creatives.
And due to the global economic uncertainty, organizations were also forced to reevaluate their priorities and go back to basics. Once again, cost reduction is one of the major factors for outsourcing. Through this strategic practice, companies could streamline their daily processes while cutting down on their operational costs.
By outsourcing parts of their repetitive tasks like payroll and bookkeeping, in-house employees were able to work on their core business functions. Leaders were also able to shift their focus on what currently matters, particularly their plans for disaster recovery.
Whether it is onshore, nearshore or offshore, outsourcing has supported business continuity in the global market. Despite the ongoing crisis, these organizations were able to attain resiliency and business growth.
Three predictions for the future of outsourcing
I think that one thing is certain: The demand for outsourcing services will increase, even in the post-pandemic world. However, this also means that the industry itself will become even more competitive.
Outsourcing providers have to look for better and more innovative ways to improve their services and meet their clients’ requirements. Here are three key essentials that both businesses and outsourcing vendors should consider for the future.
1. Tech-friendliness is a must.
I found that most businesses that succumbed to the effects of the pandemic were those that lacked enough tech resources to support their remote operations. This crisis taught a lesson and served as a wake-up call for business leaders to be more tech-driven as this kind of unexpected incident may still arise in the future.
Further, it is quite apparent that technological innovations will continuously reshape the global business market. I think it’s always best to start adapting to tech advancements as soon as possible to prepare for the future. Some of these technologies that we even have on-trend nowadays are foreseen to define the future of business in the coming decades. To name a few of these innovations: artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and big data.
Tech-friendliness has become a necessity for every business entity. Companies will likely look for services from business process outsourcing companies that can give them access to technological advancements. Most significantly, I predict they will look for outsourcing providers who can help support their digital transformation.
2. Co-sourcing will be a common practice.
Co-sourcing is one form of outsourcing wherein both internal staff and a third party perform the work. Unlike the traditional outsourcing method, co-sourcing focuses on long-term collaboration and partnership. One example of co-sourcing is when a human resource department hires a consultant for technical expertise.
Co-sourcing can help promote diversity in organizations. It gives companies the advantage of acquiring external support and expertise without having to fully give up internal control over their processes. For businesses to succeed through co-sourcing, look for a partner you can trust and who is committed to meeting your shared goals.
3. Value networks will become increasingly important for outsourcing providers.
In terms of outsourcing, value networks pertain to the network of connections between outsourcing providers. In the post-pandemic world, I think outsourcing providers will be seen to be working together in offering top-notch services to their clients.
Through value networks, outsourcing vendors will also be able to quickly adapt to the ever-changing tech innovations more efficiently.
Businesses can largely benefit from these value networks by making sure to find the right provider that is well suited for their needs. This way, companies will also be able to widen their connections in the global market industry. The business process outsourcing sector can also be a good avenue for companies in different fields to widen their circles and explore business opportunities.
These trying times impacted many industries, including the outsourcing field. Even with the challenges the pandemic presented, a survey conducted by BCG in the last quarter of 2020 found that almost half of the survey participants were planning to outsource more work than they would do internally.
Moving forward, I think more companies will outsource their non-core tasks to give them more room to focus on their essential functions. It could also play a major role for companies seeking to regain their efficiency. Outsourcing some job functions can help businesses avoid hiring more in-house staff.
In turn, they can reduce their expenses while boosting their productivity. Ultimately, I believe organizations will opt to outsource more services to aid their business development.