IT sector outsourcing in the Philippines
November 28, 2019
Today we are talking to Wayne Macartney of Bricoleur Technologies. It is a KPO as well as a BPO. They are based here in Manila, Philippines. And they also work with a distributed workforce. Wayne has vast experience in the IT and tech sector with his previous career spending 17 years in a technology company.
Wayne has brought that experience to Bricoleur Technologies and we dive into what they offer. We discuss how they can add value to businesses in Australia and across the west.
Derek Gallimore: Wayne McCartney, the MD and founder of Bricoleur Technologies. It’s a technical outsourcing supplier here in the Philippines. Hi, Wayne, welcome to the show.
Wayne McCartney: Derek, hi. How are you?
Derek Gallimore: Great. You’re from Australia, there’s a lot of outsourcing suppliers now coming over from Australia. Maybe we can kind of explore why that is and why it’s such a big migration over here.
Initially, and I suppose just give people an oversight, what is Bricoleur Technologies and how is it slightly different from the rest of the outsourcing market?
Wayne McCartney: Bricoleur Technologies, we have two arms to the business: one is the outsourcing arm; we’re also a Salesforce consulting partner, implementation partner, and generally a software implementation partner.
So we have a range of products. We implemented PayPal, and we find those two things sit nicely together because we can have a conversation, for instance, about more general outsourcing to our Salesforce clients.
The two arms are separate, our vision and the reason we set ourselves up. There are two things that distinguish us from a classic BPO. One would be that we’re generally having a global focus. So we’re not limiting. It’s not – a lot of Australian BPOs, I think, focus on their local market with the staff working in the Philippines.
We have a conversation with someone right now, for instance, just hiring staff to supply for global contracts where they have staff in Sydney, Australia, Manila, locally in Singapore. So I think there’s a market there. The same applies to Salesforce.
So again, these synergies, Salesforce is the number one CRM and we look to do deployments in the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. So we have that regional reach and it makes this, I think, attractive to clients that might be coming in from the US or the UK where they do want to expand regionally and are looking for a business that has that focus
Derek Gallimore: You focus a lot on IT, development, and technical recruitment. Is it a pure software development play or do you do generalist outsourcing services as well?
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Wayne McCartney: We do generalist. One of the offerings where we’re saying that’s having good traction in the market is blended teams.
What we’re trying to do right down to the solopreneur, small business, up to the SME level, is to say don’t limit yourself to one skill set. Build a team that gives you coverage across the different areas of your business. But not to have a lot of complexity about getting started or how many hours etc.
As an example, you might only need accounting competencies for a couple of hours a week to match zero transactions, and then you might have a spike in your activity when you’re doing invoicing monthly.
We can layer that into the arrangement so that you might have a customer service person that works part-time, you might have a general admin that’s full-time. You might have qualified certified zero accountants with all the qualifications and Australian experience, who are involved in the account only when needed. The same with Dingle for digital marketing. We’ve got a client at the moment. We’re providing them skilled, experienced staff in the ISO context, say 27001.
Outsourcing in Manila
Manila is a really mature market. There are employees in Manila with global experience, either from Manila or they’ve traveled and worked overseas. So it’s a highly-skilled workforce that we can tap into. And generally, it might take us a little longer to find a more esoteric skill set, but they do exist.
When we heard was China speaking line processes, it’s like, Yeah, we gotta look for them. We do a lot of recruitment through more direct methods. So we’re not only advertising for staff; we’re going and finding those specialist skill sets for clients that require them.
Derek Gallimore: I talked to a lot of clients and they’re like, can you find X? Or can you find Y? And often the answers, of course, this is a huge employment market. There are 110 million people here. Manila is a very established, very mature, dense city.
There’s anything you want in any sort of level of profession and job market, isn’t there?
Wayne McCartney: Absolutely, and we’ve got a staff. One of my staff had an entire career almost in Singapore before coming back to Manila. They’ve been exposed to that regional context and also just the way you do business in different parts of the world.
Now, a lot of Filipinos go to the Middle East, and they’ve had global experience there. It’s a global workforce. Then I’ve come back to the Philippines and there’s been a trend I think, as the market shifted in the Philippines, in the last few years, where people who have to work offshore to have a career and employment.
They are finding out they can come back to Manila and have both a meaningful career and live locally, which is great.
Derek Gallimore: Absolutely. Fundamentally these BPO workers or outsourcing workers, are really offshore but they’re working from home.
They are working with US and Australian companies and getting really good global experience but able to do it from Manila, which benefits both people – well, all parties. Because obviously, there are cost savings, but then this great exposure and learnings say it’s interesting, what’s happening.
I think it’s only been over the last 10 years that this sort of explosion of skills, competencies, and professions available has really happened. So it’s exciting times, but Wayne, I just want to go back and explore your past a little bit.
You’re Australian, you’re based in Newcastle, your company is over here in the Philippines. And obviously, a huge proponent of outsourcing and encouraging businesses across the world use Philippine resources. What’s your personal journey and how did you stumble across this eureka moment?
Wayne McCartney: It’s a good question. The company I worked for prior to starting out for Bricoleur, I was actually with them for 17 years. We were in the mortgage space in the finance industry in Australia and the GFC hit that mark – non-bank lending particularly, which is one of our nation’s debt market, really hard.
So, it was probably a defensive play initially to look offshore. We looked at India and the Philippines as locations. We liked the Philippines, then we started there.
We started with a couple of tech support guys and a couple of developers with a client. We grew that across from the GFC through to last year, we’d scaled that dramatically. We had multiple floors in multiple offices in the districts of Manila.
Derek Gallimore: So the GFC is the financial crisis in about 2009.
Wayne McCartney: Sorry, I’m forgetting that it’s not currently the global financial crisis. The meltdown of the financial markets, particularly for lending, the online industry, and I think it was a bit of a property slide.
At the same time from then, you couldn’t borrow money. Because I remember I was trying to at the time to get a mortgage and lending markets went into freefall.
Derek Gallimore: It’s funny, isn’t it? Often, outsourcing is a countercyclical industry because people are like, we’re not going to outsource, we don’t want to outsource. Then as soon as there’s a downturn, they’re cutting costs, they’re looking for opportunities to build a better, more efficient organisation. That was the same as the organisation that you were working with.
That’s about a 10-year period, how many staff do they have in the Philippines now?
Wayne McCartney: Now, I stay in touch but I wouldn’t know the numbers. It’s now in the hundreds. We might have made newbie mistakes a long time ago.
I think from launching Bricoleur, there are some differences in the models with distributing company. But for me, it’s version two it’s “do it without the learning curve” and “do it better, faster” and so that’s where we’ve set off.
Derek Gallimore: What were you saying about the previous clients and the realisation that because your last business was very technical as well, there’s also a lot of regulation and people are very apprehensive about outsourcing typically, but eventually, you found that a lot moved across?
Wayne McCartney: Look a lot of it. Yeah, a lot of it was mindset. We’re very rigorous. We work with clients that have, I say, 27-hour one and because it’s the finance industry, Australia regulators, ASIC, etc, in Australia.
One of the ways we solve for that is we work. We make sure our staff rigorously work today, our clients’ processes and procedures, we do all the vetting. We do training on the Privacy Act in whatever the jurisdiction is. As long as the checks and balances are there and the procedures are followed, the clients are comfortable.
We have an Australian bank at the moment. We’ve set up a time for all kinds of accountabilities, and they’re really comfortable with the way we go about it. So you can solve for it, basically. It comes down to when you look at it…
I would have a conversation with a client about what the security measures are like for their onshore staff, about the risks there, and then about the offshore staff as simply being an extension of that.
The biggest risk, I think, the two risks really in terms of security and privacy, etc, is human error. Someone makes a mistake. We’ve all sent the wrong spreadsheet to the wrong email address then panicked. So that’s a process in a training conversation.
Then if you look at the risk, if you remove human error, your current sales manager is the person most likely to take info sensitive information out of your businesses. When your sales guy downloads this contact list and goes to a competitor or startup by design or something like that.
In reality, that’s more likely to happen. Most of our staff, they have mortgages, families, kids, careers, they’re normal people. There’s nothing different about the science. So, the percentage of the population that is honest or dishonest is absolutely no different than in Australia.
We also can bring some sort of monitoring capabilities to bear, which just helps, I think the Australian management of the clients while at night. It doesn’t particularly change anything but it helps them feel comfortable about the engagement, particularly in the early days, then it’s certainly something we do.
Derek Gallimore: How does that conversation go? Because there is the regulatory requirement, isn’t it to go through certain security measures, PRC compliance, and for the HIPAA compliance, for the health care and things like that. Then as you say that, but typically it comes down to either people’s malevolence, which is generally pretty rare or people’s mistakes.
How do you able to assure people? Because generally what I find is people at the beginning they’re like, it’s them and us. How can we trust them? Who are these people? Then within about six months, they realised that these are just humans. They’re doing their best, as you said, they’ve got their families and careers. They’re basically the same as us.
But until that point, I think that people expect to bring out the big guns, lock everything down, and have sort of secured entrance at that hotel, in the lobby. Where is that happy medium do you find and also to stay compliant with the regulations?
Wayne McCartney: I think it’s really a conversation you have with the clients and, look, for any staff member anywhere, you wouldn’t necessarily give them exposure to everything initially. There’s a training period, there’s a familiarisation period. I don’t think it applies any differently.
As soon as you’ve got an office in Melbourne and Sydney, London and Manchester or whatever, but you’ve got that conversation about how you operationally manage your business across multiple locations.
So it’s a choice. There may be certain parts of a role that you don’t send offshore. There might be there’s some restructuring. It may not be for everyone; different companies have different risk appetites, and that’s entirely appropriate.
But I think, what we’re saying is if– the other thing that we did previously is we took our Manila office through ISO 27001 accreditation. So I said 27001 is information security. So there were times where we would find ourselves having conversations about security and risk with clients where our staff are more sophisticated than their operations were, anyway.
You dial it up and you dial it down. Then back up, some of our clients, because of the industry we were in, came to us and said, Look, can you do this because our corporate risk says we’re really comfortable with it if you have ISO 27001 operational standards.
We still do that today. If we’ve got an ISO 27001 client, we’ll do some training induction for the staff, and then I’ll just work within that protocol. We did it because it makes it a very short conversation about security. You just say, as a client, explain to us. Just put a big sign up that says we have ISO 27001 and the conversation goes away almost because it’s a shorthand design the level of security that you’re operating under.
It’s a really early conversation you have with potential clients if they’re really new to it. Otherwise, it’s a normal risk compliance conversation you have and you can solve for that.
Derek Gallimore: Fantastic. And typically, as you say, they’re incredibly sophisticated operations at any level of security requires deliverable. Often the weak point can actually be with the client-side depending on how big they are, of course.
But if they’re in the SME, SMB market, typically the opportunity for leakage can be greater on their side where, I suppose, maybe complacency is a little bit higher.
Wayne McCartney: Look at simple things like, ensuring that everyone has their own password, ensuring that your own data is stored securely, whether it’s in the cloud – you know how people get access to a VPN – whether they’re using multi-factor authentication, all of these things.
Whether you’ve got data leak, so Office now has data leakage protection tools. You can get a long way by looking at what you dial-up in terms of access, etc. Fraud/criminal activity is one element, but–
You hear horror stories in Australia without an outsourcing conversation then deal with that; you have confidentiality clauses in the employee contracts and with us as a supplier. We get the authorities involved and we dial it down.
Again, in 20 years of working in IT, it can be your own shore. A guy that lays his laptop in the back of a car in the rocks and goes off to the pub and comes back and finds these laptops disappeared. It happens there again, if your hard drives encrypted and the USB ports are locked down and there’s a whole lot of things you can do.
Derek Gallimore: Technically, typically it’s not the highest of technical kind of hexes that cause leakages, religious mistakes, or people forgetting things here.
So you were talking about, you offer a range of services right from full-time dedicated staffing over two more projects or part time gigs, especially within the IT sector. There’s a lot of project-oriented work especially for the sort of SMB market.
These I suppose, if someone wants to revamp their website, and I think Lot of people refer to outsourcing as Look, I need a website done or I need my accounts audited and that isn’t really the sweet spot for a lot of outsourcing suppliers. What is your conversation like with people, especially within the tech sector, that are looking for project versus ongoing roles?
Wayne McCartney: It’s a good question. I think we’re really excited about our estimated model and it does apply across IT, marketing accounts, etc. We’ve got clients that might have a digital marketing campaign and they want to run something for two weeks and then trickle, drip, feed it from there.
We offer IT guys, system admin, certified system admins for Salesforce, and that’s a really interesting one. Because you invest in some software, you want to keep it current, but it’s not full time overhead. it’s a tweak here, it’s a “can we build a new report” there, and the ability to just dial it up and dial that down without any retainers or minimum part-time stipulations.
Clients are really responding to that. It’s not common at this point in time that I’m aware of, and I think that’s why we’re getting great traction with it. It’s a point of differentiation for us but our clients are loving it because it extends the conversation about how we can help them.
I think one of the things we’re trying to do is look at a hollow business perspective to say, Well, how do we solve for the business solution you’re looking for, rather than just selling our skills as almost a commodity. What are the bits that you would normally have leftovers? Yeah, we can build your website. Yeah, we’ve got a guy that does brushes and PowerPoint slides and banners and T-shirts, but you’re not doing that all day every day.
You might have a design project and it might be a week, a couple of hours worth of work, but I think the nice thing to then is if you’re engaging sort of at a service level, and thinking all of the business with a provider, you can then have that piece of work needs tweaking in six months time or you’ve got the next initiative. You’ve got that continuity where it’s the same staff. We’ve got all the collateral on file, we just pick it up again when you notice to and move forward.
So it’s a bit of a hybrid. I think most projects, including tech ones, there’s always that residual support out the other side. It’s the same when we do Salesforce implementations, I think, there’s a risk of the client and the implementer. Both just think about the initial project.
But when you’re rolling out software, if it’s not current and you’re not thinking about how you future proof yourself, then over time, it becomes less relevant. Then you suddenly discover Stop, stop using bits because it no longer supports where your business has gone.
So we like to have a conversation about the project and then what happens afterward and build those two things together into the engagement.
Derek Gallimore: There’s that whole sort of broader architecture. I suppose. I think I can tap into your experience and expertise as well, isn’t it? It’s not just kind of getting a bomb on a seat. It’s more about tapping into your vast experience.
Wayne McCartney: Absolutely. Look, I should have had we talked earlier, we’re not talking just entry-level positions here. We’re talking allies of management, all the way up that have that global experience.
So as you rely on the team, we bring that knowledge of how to structure and expand teams to the table. Technical skills. Part of our secret sauce is how you make remote teams work so that they are performing teams as well for the normal. You know, people being people, things that happen in an organisation and how you smooth out the conversational disconnects between local staff and remote staff.
They’re the things that if your supplier is just, as you say, giving you a bomb on your seat then you’re missing a trick. You’re not leveraging the solution as much as you could because you’re not getting that experience baked into the engagement. Technical skills you can hire for. It’s how you run the team pragmatically so that it works. I think to right-sizing the engagement.
One of the things we say to people who are looking to outsource is to think about who you’re engaging with because it’s not like in any other business engagement. If you can work with those people and if you’re looking for two staff, and it’s really important for you what they are doing, but the average team size for them is 50 or 100, then the level of attention you get will be proportionate.
We like to sort of engage and enter the bigger, you probably have a more structured balance and state style engagement. We like to dial-up and dial down the level of engagement, so that suits the client.
So for a small business or a solopreneur, where it is sophisticated as they notice to be but then we get right up to the banking telco level where we bring that level of rigour to the engagement.
Start with outsource staffing
Derek Gallimore: Absolutely. Do you find that people start, they give you a go, and then, it’s very role-specific, then they just give it all over to you, to the Philippines, generally, because they realise that actually, this is an incredible resource? And why not get it all done?
Do you see quite a lot of role creep and just adapt to more and more functions of a business?
Wayne McCartney: We do. It’s very common. We’d also say, look, to get started don’t overthink it. As a school of thought that says it’s months of planning and everything needs to be in place.
If you’re that organised, you probably wouldn’t have an outsourcing conversation anyway.
So businesses or businesses. We all know that in our businesses, it’s everything shiny on the surface. We engage with clients and there’s always problems they’re trying to solve for and that’s normal.
Going with the low hanging fruit is actually a good strategy. And what we say is maybe taking customer service staff as an example. If you try to scale cost effectively in customer service, look at where they add value to clients. Look at all the things they do that don’t add any value to clients and then peel that bottom level off. First.
Suddenly your striking staff is saying are really impacted, got more headspace to work with clients, and not just doing general administrative stuff. Then over time, you can introduce staff to working directly with clients once they’ve gone through the training and the learning curve.
I used to do it myself with teams in Australia and teams in the Philippines, you find yourself walking around the office thinking, why aren’t we doing that in Manila? The guys in Manila could do that really easily.
I think you made a comment earlier about cyclical, but the nice thing about outsourcing from the client’s perspective is it works both ways. Sure, it’s cost savings in efficiencies and protecting your margins. But it’s also an opportunity to scale and once you grow into it, you start to talk about profit centres driven out of the Philippines and it’s perfectly achievable.
Derek Gallimore: For sure that’s when it gets really exciting, isn’t it? People do just see it as a cost-cutting exercise.
A, you know, there’s cost-cutting. B, you can add actually revenue-generating aspects to the business. C, also when you have access to cheaper resources, you can try out other things, test other things, explore different things, it’s less lumpy to hire new teams.
So it gets really exciting when you combine all three because it can just be an incredible opportunity of saving money, access to better resources, and then just pushing revenues forward.
Wayne McCartney: Absolutely. And as I said, I liked your comment about experimenting. I mean, that’s where some of the engagements we have now.
Normally, you’d have a gap in your skill set in your organisation because it’s not a full-time role. You don’t want to engage to the party to do it. And if you’re already outsourcing then you can run controlled experiments, particularly now as needed model to sign a cable. What if we did this? What would it look like? How will it work? Then you learn from it.
I’ve got a client. I was talking to him the other day, we did some work for him. We both went into some digital marketing. We both went into it to see what would happen. We learned some things and they said, that’s great. Let’s stop for a while.
He ran to me the other day and said, Okay, we’re ready to go with version two from what we learned last time. I’ll call you in a couple of weeks once we’ve got it sorted. But he’s running pilots of size initiatives and marketing initiatives that he wouldn’t be able to tackle otherwise.
Derek Gallimore: It just gives you more space, isn’t it? Because if you’ve got to take someone on in Sydney for 100 grand a year, then you really think twice about wasting time on doing tests.
Whereas in the Philippines, you can actually have an entire team just dedicated to exploring new opportunities, new tests, new processes. Because it’s a cost-effective business.
Wayne McCartney: Absolutely. I think it works all the way down all nice to solopreneur level where, as a businessman, got a lot of things that you need to have on your radar, things you paying attention to, and things that don’t get done.
Route marketing is, traditionally, something drops to the bottom. I really enjoyed expanding my internal team. They also work for clients where stuff just happens. Oh, I’ve got an opportunity to place an ad with someone but I need an ad, deadlines were next Friday.
Am I going to get to that? Well, I could but I’m going to peel off my attention headspace from something to do the ad. Now I find things just get done. And it’s great.
Derek Gallimore: I was thinking about that the other day. It’s very much like life, isn’t it? Everyone tends to be eating well, and going to the gym and doing all these things, but you get busy. So you start it for two weeks, and then it drops off.
It’s very much the same with sort of small and medium-sized businesses, I think. If there isn’t a process, you need to be completely unemotional about it. You need to sort of design and build a process. Get the people into the process, iterate that process for a while, and then it’s set.
It’s going, and then it will happen. Whereas, I think the smaller businesses, they kind of start something from wrong. They get busy, they get distracted, and then it stopped.
Wayne McCartney: Yeah. It’s all that thing we said we’re going to do, we didn’t do it. It actually happens, it gets done. It’s great. I think that there’s a caveat on that is, if you micromanage it, then it’s still chewing up your time.
You need to have a level of belief that if I give someone something to do and give them the tools, that it will get done. That’s part of how we recruit to make sure that staff are comfortable working to direction but not the constant supervision.
We would lie that supervision into the time if it was a requirement for a help desk or something. Otherwise, people respond in that way. Today, give him something to do and get out of there, right? You get on with what you’re doing and they get on with what you’re doing.
It’s a minimal effort, then, to just check-in and tweak particularly with – I’m using brushes because it’s something we’ve been doing. But then you just need to write, okay.
Two, I mean from my headspace, we end up with a result better than I would have probably imagined, and we do it incrementally. So we do a bit, we look at it, we tweak it, we get to version one, we probably ride test it, we come back to version two.
We use Slack, for instance, for internal communication. The employee will pop up, three options for iterations. And I’ll glance at them and I’ll say, I like the middle one, that changes. Change that and then we’ll look at it again. It’s a couple of minutes of my time to keep the thing moving. Whereas, to have the headspace to do something like that myself, I need to peel out several hours, which just doesn’t happen.
I look at it as organisational muscle. I mean, we’re talking small business and solopreneurs here, but you’re building organisational muscle. You’re starting to build a support framework around yourselves where you focus on the one-inch punch, the thing you do that makes a difference, while you get out of bed in the morning and build a support network around you for everything else.
Initially, it sounds scary and it’s almost an act of faith. But we find that once they start, they then start to push the boundaries of how much can we actually hand over to someone else. And again, that’s for a small business or solopreneur. That’s a question you have onshore or offshore.
I think we’d having staff outsource, then there are a whole lot of headaches around payroll and HR admin and all those kinds of things. Finding sites for them and equipment and all of those go away and that’s the value add for small businesses. These whole levels of retain admin that you don’t need to think about.
We went down that path with Bricoleur as a distributed company, having multiple offices in multiple buildings. We found that there’s a fire in the food court and we have to evacuate, the internet’s not working, the communal toilets on the floor have been…
I’ve been cleaned regularly enough and you know, staff complaining about Yeah, right, saw that personal hygiene. So it’s an overhead that you, in a distributed company, we’re going to dispense with all of that.
The other thing we found is that, for instance, the earthquake in Manila earlier this year was in Pampanga. So far as all the ceilings have come down in the workspaces and the other cables have come down. It took the best part of the week for some of them to get back up and running.
So there’s hundreds of staff and clients that are down in the meantime. A distributed company, you’re also mitigating for that kind of risk. And the Philippines does have interesting events like typhoons, and traffic and earthquakes, so we’re finding that as a business continuity strategy. It works really well.
Derek Gallimore: That’s good. That’s interesting, especially blended with the higher security and the ISO offerings that you have that still the distributed workforce works and provides value for.
Wayne McCartney: It is, we do. We’ll go and source an office for, we tend to use co-working spaces as hubs to bring people together. And if clients come to visit and you don’t have a place to meet staff (…) their facilities. We do set up offices for clients. But it’s really clear that that’s a client stipulation.
We source the office to the clients’ spec, but it’s built into their contract as part of the service we provide. That way, it’s clear. And it’s interesting already, that everyone should turn up to the office every day starts to get relax pretty quickly.
I’ve seen clients that have said, Oh, why did we get an office again? Again, it’s deception. But the reality I mean, Manila traffic, it’s a force of nature and our staff work Australian time zones so they’re commuting their ability to get to work. It doesn’t take much for traffic events or some rain or something for Manila traffic to just push on.
You experienced it and then you’re having an attendance conversation and the tardiness conversation and the distributed model. That all just evaporates. The staff get two and a half hours each way, commute back into their life.
They spend more time with their family, they’re more refreshed. They’re more energised, they don’t have carbon monoxide poisoning by the time they get to work, happens you say, all of those things.
Derek Gallimore: There’s a lot of reasons for this
Future of work from home
Wayne McCartney: Absolutely. I think it’s the next devolution. In the last couple of years in the classic BPO, more and more, you’d hear people would resign and you’d ask them why. In the exit interview, they go into why.
Very prevalent, working from home, whether that was something the staff member was looking for or not, more and more it’s becoming the norm in Manila. I think it’s really early days that our sense is that it’s a genuine trend, not a blip.
And if you wind back a bit, there are some large companies that are really vocal about how they do this and that it works for them. So we’re certainly not the first but you can probably make an argument for how commute to the office thing and back might be around for a very short period of time. People working, when I leave, I think is more sustainable. Historically, just you look across history, and it’s the way people normally work.
Derek Gallimore: Good. And I see
Wayne McCartney: You can say I’m an advocate of it. Also, I do it. I’m set up here, we have co working spaces in Australia, but I work from home. I’ve been doing that for a long time, and I’m very productive. I just believe if the boss can do it, then the staff should be able to do it as well.
Derek Gallimore: I totally agree. Obviously, the whole movement towards remote work benefits the outsourcing industry. Because then the smaller, medium-sized businesses of the world, they can relate better to having people sitting in the Philippines when they don’t have an office themselves.
So it gets everyone more into an online community, more working through tools as opposed to just by sitting physically next to each other. So there’s definitely a rising movement. I do worry about efficiency levels of people.
Again, I sort of relate it to my example of the gym. I’ve always gone to the gym, I’ve always been fit. But if I don’t actually go to the gym, I probably wouldn’t exercise. And I do worry sometimes about the efficiency of people.
But having said that, I also think that it doesn’t necessarily matter if they’re sitting in the office or at home. People can have enough opportunity to slack off or be unproductive.
Wayne McCartney: Look, I think it’s just a different way of working it. As you said, it’s not better or worse, you could choose to have a home gym. What’s changed, I think, too, recently is the prevalence of zoom, or Skype, etc.
You don’t need a massive telly conferencing solution that’s expensive to communicate remotely. We’re moving really quickly. We’ve shut down the amount of internal communication as far as email, and how much is actually done via Slack. Which, collaboration tools, I think they make a big difference.
What you miss out is the ability to just walk past someone’s desk and look over someone’s shoulder, but you can do screen sharing through zoom or Skype. So usually if there’s something it’s like, okay, let’s jump on a call and we’ll take a look at it. The trade-off is your sideways, all those inefficiencies of water cooler conversations, etc, where people are at work, but they’re not necessarily productive anyway.
The staff actually come back and say, Look, it’s great. I’m not in a large set of API environment, you’ve probably got the open key because you’ll be on a large floor and you’ll have other teams and you’ll have background noise and with the doing work that requires concentration. so we actually love the fact that I can work uninterrupted.
And I think partly, we’ve run teams that are all in the same office and they communicate via Skype anyway. So there are subliminal conversations going on about where we going to show, are we go to the pub afterward. They’re all in the same office and I used to kind of scratch my head about certainly the strategy as well as overseas.
I think it’s a generational thing where people have grown up going to uni. My son’s 10 and he’s on multiple kinds of communication tools. He was chatting with a classmate the other night, organising a basketball tournament.
It’s normal now, and people have grown up collaborating with uni projects and all those things. So it’s probably less efficient if It’s not normal to you. It’s like if you’re 70 and decide to use email.
You haven’t been sending an email for years and this is the next evolution of communicating and staying in touch. Half the time my teammates in terms of and staff in terms of problem-solving is the oh, we already chatted to so and so and we sorted it.
They’re just that it’s wide, that’s how you work with current members. That’s how they work anyway. So the remote thing is a non-issue for them.
Derek Gallimore: Yeah. I think for the next generation, like your son when he’s in corporate life, it will be very natural for him to outsource or offshore staffing. Because he’s just grown up communicating through tools, through software through chats, apps. It would seem less relevant to have to recruit people that are geographically located I suppose.
So I do see this kind of second wave coming as a result, and it all ties into the remote work and globalisation and then online tools and collaboration. That’s pretty powerful, isn’t it?
Wayne McCartney: Yeah. I mean, we’ve gone to the next level. I work regularly, partly because of need to travel. But I spent part of my time in Manila, I spent part of the year in Thailand, that’s been part of my time, various cities in Australia.
It’s great if I do move locations like I’ll be spending some time in Singapore en route to Manila for the Christmas party soon. It’s a good opportunity to ride test the resilience of your business. If you can be anywhere and by extension, your staff can be anywhere and it runs.
Every time I do a journey, I go and work somewhere else, I learn, and it’s almost you’ve stepped out of your normal space. You can look at your own operations at arm’s length and observe process improvement disconnects.
We then work to address and say your organisation is becoming more and more resilient. The veins of a staff member do need to move locations or need some flexibility. Again, it’s back into the day and I have the company.
I think the discipline of working with offshore staff, there’s some that all of that comes along with it. That it’s not the problem you’re immediately trying to solve, but it’s definitely a benefit.
Derek Gallimore: Absolutely. And it’s incredible, isn’t it? How all of this is evolving in front of us so fast. So it’s really exciting.
If people want to learn more, and if they want to engage, and we’ve spoken about just starting, not overthinking it and not building crazy processes just starting with one function. You can do sort of partial hours, partial functions, as well as having that strategic oversight.
How do you recommend people to get started? Or what is the typical process you walk them through?
Building the process
Wayne McCartney: I think have a conversation. Start with the conversation. Have a conversation that involves potential suppliers and also your internal stakeholders. So that you can build that input into your planning.
Sometimes it’s not the right time. Sometimes it’s great information and you’ll come back to it. We have a lot of conversations with clients where they say we’re thinking of outsourcing. We’re not quite ready. We don’t know everything we need to know. So there might be initial conversations and six months later, yeah, we’re ready. Let’s go.
I think it helps if you have a conversation, you do engage someone that’s done it before. It’s like playing the piano or play or art or playing football or running a business. Pictured it a level of sophistication with the understanding that as you get into it, live with it and learn from it. It’ll evolve.
Don’t overthink and don’t have a five year plan. Particularly have a vision but don’t get bogged down in the detail because in a year’s time, you’ll still be planning and whatever you think it might look like. It probably won’t make sense,
Derek Gallimore: For sure. And kind of always iterating on things, right?
Wayne McCartney: Yeah, exactly. That’s more and more so in the durations come quicker, it’s a dynamic environment. I think, too, that then extends out into your first hire. Get them involved in the change process, because what you think it will look like and what it will turn out to be can be very different.
Derek Gallimore: Absolutely. Thank you, Wayne, it’s a good place to leave it. And if people want to get in touch with you, how can they? Do you recommend they do that?
Wayne McCartney: I think Google URL. Bricoleur. B R I C O L E U R. I’m also on LinkedIn. Will have a Facebook page pretty soon so try social media.
I’m happy to just have the conversation with people. It’s a journey and if you have someone just to talk it through with the initial then, at least you can visualise it and think about how it might work for you.
Derek Gallimore: Absolutely. Thank you for your time, Wayne.
Wayne McCartney: Great to catch up. Thank you.
That was Wayne McCartney of Bricoleur Technologies. If you want to get in touch with Wayne or know any more about this episode, go to outsourceaccelerator.com/266 and of course if you want to ask us anything, just drop us an email to [email protected] See you next time.