How Can It Outsourcing Improve Your Business Workflow

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Many companies have been forced to change their business strategies to survival strategies. In many cases, their physical brick-and-mortar presence has been closed due to lockdown. With much less foot and drop-in traffic in retail stores, they need to sell online to make up the shortfall. They foresee many customers using their smart devices to shop online, which means ramping up their web presence and supporting business infrastructures.

The business itself will change. Remote working and working from home are now the “new normal”. Most established businesses have busine ss processes that have been around for some time, even perhaps since the founding of the business. That the bulk of your staff is now off-site indicates a need to have a thorough review of your business processes to make sure that you are operating optimal business processes.

All this under the spotlight of budget constraints and the need to reduce operational costs. As with other departments,  IT will be asked to reduce operational costs, and manage the move to e-commerce, ideally with no increase in IT expenditure to make the transition. Management want it done as quickly as possible.

One option under serious consideration for managing IT expenditure is moving to a reliable IT Outsourcing environment. The reasons being:

  1. Business Workflow Improvements

    Business Workflow Improvements

    Before introducing an IT Outsourcing partner to the business, they will want to know what they are being asked to manage. That provides an opportunity for a major audit/review of existing business practices. One is needed anyway as mentioned above.

    The outcome of the review will be a list of processes that are not needed, parts of processes that are not needed, and where new or altered processes will provide significant business benefit.  Some processes can be moved to a digital platform.

    The business then has the opportunity to revise business workflows. Some can be dispensed with entirely, some modified, and some introduced. It could also be an opportunity to automate some processes using a digital workflow management tool like Bizagi.

    However, changing workflows and business procedures can take staff out of their comfort zones and is an activity that needs to be handled with care and sensitivity.

  2. Fixed and hopefully reduced expenditure management

    Expenditure management

    Having a review of business processes and making the necessary adjustments to them is likely to change expenditure patterns for the better.

    As an example, most of IT’s current budget spend is on staff salaries and the daily business as usual operations. Restructuring business workflow will probably remove the need for some operations, thereby removing overhead costs and increasing business efficiencies. Hopefully, outsourcing will reduce or at least fix operational costs.

    Outsourcing also removes the need for capital expenditure to upgrade servers, increase network and data security, and boost comms links to support the new remote and WFH environments.

    Altering processes also provides the opportunity to introduce improved expenditure control systems.

  3. Releasing and redeploying staff

    Staff deployment

    Staffing is also a significant consideration. Budget restrictions make it impossible to hire new staff, including those tied up in day-to-day operations. Outsourcing will release them to support the new eCommerce systems’ development and implementation.

    Restructuring the businesses’ workflow will also identify where there is excess staff, or where staff can be redeployed to other tasks that will increase productivity and efficiency.

Outsourcing is not a trivial move. It is entering a business relationship that will last for a long time. It needs to be done properly, but quickly. The company must be comfortable with our chosen service provider.

Step 1 is to draw up a list of criteria, broken down into mandatory, desirable, and nice-to-have. The new reliable outsourced service provider must meet at least all the mandatory, and a majority of the desirable criteria. This again will be a company effort, not just IT.

Step 2 is the reduction of responses to a short-list, followed by a selection. This is best done by a scoring method aligned to the criteria list. Using a structured approach allows the decision to be based on an apples-to-apples comparison. However, gut-feel is also very important, since using an MSP is a long-term business arrangement with which the company must be comfortable.

Step 3 is taking the plunge.

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