High-quality back office support is crucial to the overall operations and smooth functioning of any business. However, in the quest of growing your business, managing complex and routine back-office tasks can be a drain of time and resources. Often, a large proportion of operational costs are driven by back-office functions.
There are many benefits to outsourcing back-office services. The most common and tangible benefit is significant savings in operating costs. Outsourcing routine back-office tasks also allows your employees to focus on core strategic tasks important to grow your business. Another key benefit of outsourcing is the ability to quickly scale up or down based on the changing needs of your business.
While outsourcing can be proven to be a great investment, it can be the worst nightmare if you do not spend enough time upfront in selecting the perfect outsourcing partner for your company and working collaboratively with them to set up the right processes and checkpoints. Below are some tips and pointers that can help ensure that your outsourcing project is successful and has the desired results.
1. Define the scope of work
Before you start finding the right back-office outsourcing partner, you need to know exactly what you want from them. Defining your scope of work is crucial to help the back-office outsourcing partner understand your process. A clear understanding of what portions you want to keep in-house vs outsource is key. You can also follow a phased approach whereby you start with a few pieces and add them to the list later. It is also important to clearly define roles and responsibilities at the start of your project.
2. Think about data security
As a part of the process, you will have to share large amounts of data with your outsourcing partner and vice-versa. It is important to have a discussion about how both parties can work collaboratively toward ensuring better data security. There are various solutions available depending on the nature of the data and the level of access required. We strongly recommend engaging in a clear and constructive dialogue about your concerns and the way to address them.
3. Re-think the process
A business process may be managed in a certain way for a long period of time. An outsourcing project is a great opportunity to rethink and re-design the existing process. More often than not this helps identify opportunities for improvement in terms of improving both speed and accuracy. It is also an excellent opportunity to document the process for future reference. Much of this heavy lifting can be done by your outsourcing partner. As part of the redesign, we also recommend working with your outsourcing partner on opportunities for automation. Often times integrating different tools and platforms with APIs eliminates the need for manual data entry.
4. Assign a program manager
Many organizations fall into the trap of ‘outsourcing’ their back office functions without setting up proper (Service Level Agreements) SLAs, metrics, etc. Many organizations think of their outsourcing provider as a ‘vendor’ and not as a ‘partner’. Identify a program manager who can work collaboratively with the outsourcing provider keeping them abreast of changes or trends in your company or industry. This enables your outsourcing provider to be agile and adapt quickly to the changing needs of the organization.
5. Reputation & Experience
Working with a company that has prior experience or expertise in your industry or process is always an added advantage. It allows for a smooth transition and fewer glitches along the way. Also, as with any other product or service, we highly recommend getting referrals about the companies you plan to work with.
Back office outsourcing is an important yet inevitable aspect that will yield the best result for your business if you are fortunate enough to find the right service provider for your company. Managing non-core business tasks along with the core tasks can be overwhelming for a company to handle on its own. SHJ International specializes in handling back-office support operations for a variety of clients in diverse industries. Reach out to us to discuss your custom requirements or learn more about the work we do and see if we could be a good fit.