Our host Derek Gallimore delve into the future and potential of outsourcing with third-time guest, Andrew Mault, country manager of Hammerjack, an outsource service solutions and technology company.
Andrew has been working in operational management for the last 20 years, and in outsourcing for around 12 years. He shared his insights and his challenging 12-years journey in the outsourcing industry in Episodes 165 and 167.
- Andrew believes that automation will not shutdown outsourcing but will impact large outsource service providers and they will have to make the biggest changes. Hammerjack is embracing technology and is building their business around those technologies to deliver greater value to customers specially to the SME market.
- Cost saving is generally the quick wins that companies gain in outsourcing ad-hoc and time-consuming tasks, and the simplest staff.
- Outsourcing benefits SMEs as it opens the opportunity for these small companies to operate offshore at a relatively lower cost and risk. They can take advantage of new leads coming from live chats or foresee growth in improving technology and operational platform through outsource resources.
- Outsourcing is not the answer to everything, but it offers a lot more options for SMEs. It’s simply a case of deciding on what the business want to do, what the business really need, and then finding out and engaging the service model that’s unique to the business.
- There is a great growth in the SME market for outsourcing service providers.
- For the small business, there can be a custom-designed service model or platform that’s unique to the business.
- SMEs can expand their operations and market by tapping options and opportunities offered by outsourcing service providers.
Derek: Hi, and welcome to another episode of The Outsource Accelerator Podcast. My name is Derek Gallimore, and this is episode number 174.
Okay, welcome back everybody. Today I am joined by Andrew Mault of Hammerjack. Hi, Andrew, how are you?
Andrew: I’m good, Derek, thank you.
Derek: Good. And we have had Andrew a couple of times before, so I encourage you to go and listen to those episodes. Today I brought Andrew back, just because I really want to delve into the future of outsourcing and the potential of outsourcing. So, Andrew, I suppose if you can just introduce yourself and also introduce Hammerjack.
Andrew: Yeah. Hi, so, I’m Andrew Mault. I’m the country manager of Hammerjack. I’ve been working in operational management for the last 20 years, in outsourcing for around 12 years, and I’ve been based here in the Philippines for the last five years. Background, predominantly in enterprise outsource service solutions. And we are now taking enterprise capability and governance to the SME space in Australia.
Derek: Fantastic. So, you founded, co-founded Hammerjack three years ago, and outsourcing is a booming industry, and we are both based largely in the Philippines. There’s a lot of conversation at the moment about where outsourcing is going. It’s very kind of polarized. On one hand, there is still huge growth and its massive economic boom to the country, but then there’s also a lot of fear from some sectors that kind of outsourcing is over, automation is going to come in and close it all down. Do you have any opinions on that in terms of kind of automation?
Andrew: Yeah, I think that is where it’s going. I don’t think it’s going to shut down outsourcing. It’s really, it’s just where the global market’s going. Really, the people, the businesses that are going to be impacted the most that will need to make the biggest changes are the large outsource service providers. We in particular embrace technology, and work with a lot of different technologies, and we’re building our business around those technologies. All we see really in our space, because I guess we’re relatively young, is it’s just going to bring greater value to customers, specifically, in particular the SME market.
Derek: Right. Do you see the march of outsourcing to continue, because at the moment it contributes about 10% of the country’s GDP? It only employs about 1% of the population though. But do you see this just growing to the point where everyone in the world is outsourcing, or do you see a natural cap to it?
Andrew: Yeah, it’s a good question. I think for the enterprise phase, a lot of enterprise, and I know this from my connections in enterprise business. You know these businesses have tried outsourcing, and they have outsourced through a number of years here in the Philippines and in other countries. They’re now developing their own centres and sites here in the Philippines and in other countries. So, the jobs aren’t going. They’re staying, but they’re not outsourcing. They’re building these centres themselves. From an outsource service provider’s perspective, and as I meant again, the larger end of town, they will feel that. I think for small business, we just see it more and more and have done since we’ve been operating, which isn’t very long as I know. But hundreds of people coming over here every week that I see in my circles that are interested in what outsourcing and offshoring can offer. Look, it’s a tough one. I think there is a natural cap, certain things. You can’t outsource everything. It’s not the answer to everything, but I just think in the SME space as I’ve mentioned that’s really where I see it growing. I think there’s a lot more options and opportunity for SME’s to tap into it. And I see that growing significantly beyond where it is today.
Derek: And you’re mainly focused on the Australian market, but you obviously have English, U.K. roots, how do you see… at the moment, I see a huge flood of Australians entering into the Philippines either as clients or new business founders. I think the ties are becoming incredibly close now between Australia and the Philippines. How do you see that in comparison to the different sectors, different major markets like the U.S., the U.K.?
Andrew: Well, the U.S. has always been the dominant market here in the Philippines. I know going back a couple of years, it made up around 70% of the outsource service sector. There’s been huge growth in the U.K. in services, again I think in the small business space coming out here to the Philippines and outsourcing in general. And again, in Australia, it probably offsets slightly because of some of the larger companies that may be either bringing work back to Australia. But as I mentioned, the SME space is certainly growing.
Derek: Right. And then also, one of the other concerns has been the U.S. and Donald Trump potentially trying to shut down outsourcing. Do you see this as kind of an issue, and do you think outsourcing will in future be kind of being controlled, can it be taxed? Are we going to see more and more resistance to outsourcing, do you think?
Andrew: Yeah, I don’t really know. I think there was a bit of noise around that, and there are concerns about that. For us in particular, where it will impact the likes of us the small business is things are going to become more expensive. Some of the benefits that may be available to the industry may not be there if there isn’t such a huge amount of revenue being brought in by these larger countries. So yeah, I don’t really have an opinion on that. I think as it is right now, we’ve not seen any impact or any difference on the market. I guess we’ll just watch the space and see how that goes.
Derek: Right. And then in your opinion, because I’m trying to encourage everyone to consider outsourcing. Of course, as you say it’s not a magic bullet. It’s not right for everyone necessarily, but I think everyone needs to consider it. What do you think are some of the tipping points for people that start outsourcing? What are the entry points? Is it just because, as you’ve said, they’ve seen a colleague or a friend or Mrs. Jones doing it or are there some other catalysts that make people take that step?
Andrew: I think it depends on the sector. In the technology space in particular, they’re very forward-thinking in the outsourcing services space. A lot of these small tech start-ups, they don’t start to stay small, they’re trying to get big. They’re looking for funding and it probably develops, they’re looking to scale quickly. So, they’re really embracing the outsource services space. And I think probably, a little bit more on the front foot, an understanding that they’re experts in developing technology, they’re not necessarily experts in supporting their products, or doing some of the other things that are involved in running a business. So, I think it’s around businesses that are looking to scale that have that in their sights. Probably the businesses that are looking to make that move, or the old, just the savings that comes from outsourcing. I know that the business that I came over here with, it was purely about the savings being involved.
Derek: Yeah. And I see in my experiences with new people, new clients, outsourcing, it’s really important to get quick wins early, because people might be a little bit concerned or might have fears. What are some of the quick wins in your experience that people can get so that they feel more justified in making such a big operational decision for their business?
Andrew: Yeah, I think savings are the quickest win. You will see savings immediately as you make that move across. I think when you start seeing the additional value you can, I guess outsourcing can have a bit of a bad name, and the fact that what does outsourcing do? It remove jobs from Australians, let’s say. But actually what, probably the quickest wins and the best opportunities for SME’s to try something they’re not doing today offshore at a relatively low cost and at a relatively low risk. And they see those wins through, whether it’s new leads coming through live chat or whether it’s the roll out of or development of their platform or technology by using an offshore or outsource resource, and see what’s capable, and then growing on top of that. But I think savings are generally that quick wins that people are looking for, and generally that’s what you get. But the other one maybe just removing of some of the ad hoc and time-consuming tasks, so looking at the simplest staff and the staff that’s easy to move. When you see how easy that’s been and actually what you save whether in cost or whether it’s time back in your day, it’s easy then to plan and map out to move across.
Derek: Yeah, and that is a critical point isn’t it? As you said earlier, people aren’t planning to stay small, everyone’s planning to grow. And outsourcing isn’t about reducing jobs, it’s essentially about creating growth, isn’t it? It’s about adding people. It’s about adding teams. And when you outsource, you can actually afford to test new thing, to try new things, to add new business models. And it’s kind of less incremental cost and less risk. It’s kind of an addition to staff isn’t it, as opposed to just a blanket reduction.
Andrew: Yeah. Basically, we’ve got a global pool of talent now. It’s always been there, but it’s more acceptable to shop around and look outside. And I think some of the large enterprise type businesses like the Googles, and the Facebooks of this world have kind of in some way led the way for that. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have the best people. So that’s what outsourcing is able to bring to some of these businesses that may not have that on the doorstep. It’s a smart move, and it’s not as scary as people might think.
Derek: Yeah, absolutely. It is crazy, there’s seven billion people in this world on the planet, and it really is crazy that people are still thinking about hiring from their hometown of 100,000 people because there’s just so much more opportunity and potential out there for anyone’s business. And so, if people were looking to engage, if they wanted to try outsourcing, if they have an existing operation but they want to try Hammerjack, how do you suggest they start an integration with outsourcing? Is it to add a new function that they’re not doing or to replicate the team and have two side by side? What are your common go-to advice points there?
Andrew: Well I guess it depends on the bucket it falls in. If you’re looking to try something new, it’s easy. Identify what that might be. Or if you’re looking to get some of those quicker wins and grow through just being able to switch on the new service, it’s simply a case of engaging and seeing if one of our out-of-the-box type products or services can meet your needs. And that at least will give you a taste of what’s possible. You can then grow beyond that, decide you want your own focus and centralized team to expand on that service. But a lot of this is quite well documented. It’s really to understand your business, understand your objectives, what are you trying to achieve. Have a look at the pain points within your business and understand it. Removing those pain points is going to make, if you’re going to remove those pain points if that’s going to make a difference to your business, or if it’s going to help you to get closer to where you want to be. So yeah, I think understanding where you want to get to, and then really engaging in the conversation. And as I say, we really, we start very transparent, and really talking about what are the objectives, when are they expected to achieve these objectives? And then we really can provide a solution around, given the full picture of what that might look like over the first one month, three months, six months, 12 months. I think it’s important that people understand that moving offshore, if you’re developing your own team and building your own capability, is an investment. It’s going to take time, depending on the service provider you go with will depend on how much time, your time it needs to take. But it’s very easy for people to just look at the numbers and the savings, without thinking about what’s that going to look like in 12 months, how are they going to reach their goal. So yeah, it’s about having a discussion first and foremost, and trying to understand what functions or tasks they’re looking to move.
Derek: Yeah, that’s well said. That really is a very… I mean all of it is bespoke and it’s very dynamic. It’s a very deep partnership that you forge with people, because people can buy whatever product off the shelf to get them started. But then a lot of it, real outsourcing is actually about forging a real on-going partnership with people, isn’t it? It’s quite a deep partnership that has to just naturally evolve as the business does.
Andrew: Yeah, and people generally don’t want whatever everyone else has got. Their business is unique to them like their customer is unique to them. And that’s true, the service model and the way they get outcomes if offshore or onshore when they’re outsourcing, the model needs to be unique to the business. I guess that’s really what we’re doing is wrapping our capability and experience around our customer’s business.
Derek: Absolutely. Thank you so much Andrew. Of course, if anyone is interested in talking to you, or knowing more about Hammerjack services, how can they get in touch?
Derek: Fantastic. Thanks so much for your time.
Derek: Okay, so that was Andrew Mault of hammerjack.com.au. If you want to get in touch with Andrew or know any more about this podcast, then go to our show notes at outsourceaccelerator.com/174. And of course, if you want to ask us anything, then just drop some email to [email protected]. See you next time.