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18 February 2013

Technology (Methodology and Tool) to successfully undertake Outsourcing projects

This post is also available in: Spanish

With a BPM Suite(Business Process Management software) and the methodology proposed here, any type of outsourcing project can be undertaken, with guarantees, drawing on each of the advantages that outsourcing provides and considerably reducing risks.

I don’t think it worthwhile to list the advantages of outsourcing certain tasks here, as they are well known to all, but as we all know the advantages, we also know the weakness: the insecurity that can result from having to rely on another company.

For this reason, to undertake outsourcing projects with guarantees, we must:

  • Select the outsourcing companies carefully
  • Have a tool to organize, manage and control the outsourcing, making it more secure, practical and efficient

The type of tool needed is without a doubt a BPMS (Business Process Management Suite) which, when transferring the company’s internal organization rules to the outsourced company, minimizes the risks that outsourcing implies without losing any of its advantages.

Safe and Effective

Working with a BPM Suite makes it possible to outsource all kinds of specific activities, even entire business processes, as well as any mixed outsourcing formula of interest at the time, without losing control of the activities.

Thanks to the BPMS capacity to allow Process Tasks to be performed by External Users, we can use the same processes that would be used if we were carrying out the outsourced activities ourselves. The tasks that would be performed by employees are substituted for tasks to be performed by the outsourced company, thus becoming automated and integrated in the company’s work and information flows.

The company will also be able to change subcontractor or directly resume activity at any time, without imposing a trauma on the company.

Managing outsourcing with BPMS encompasses the whole set of performed procedures to develop an effective outsourcing policy: Capture, Recruitment, Administration and Evaluation of Results.

1. Capture and Recruitment

The entire subcontractor capture process can be automated: Searches, Publication of proposals, Analysis of candidates according to requirements, Interviews, etc.
Likewise the recruitment process can be automated: request, approval, and contract and signature preparation. Each person involved will have the necessary documentation at their fingertips to enable them to perform their duties, depending on how their duties have been determined, and they will know the status of the process at all times.

With the methodology proposed here, the contract between the two companies is not limited to determining the terms of the relationship but, instead, will include the following information to be transferred to the subcontractors:

  • The rules, standards, conditions, functions, times, costs, roles, etc. that the administration of the outsourced function should govern.
  • The internal and external regulations as well as those that are legally binding, including the procedures for Quality, Information Security (including personal data files) and all other regulations that may imply technical, commercial, logistical, financial and even liability risks.

2. Administration

Working with BPMS, these procedures and regulations concerted in the terms of the contract will be implemented in the entity’s operative processes.

On launching these processes, they will follow their established flows and will actively engage the performers responsible for carrying out each activity, whether they are internal employees or employees of the outsourcing company. The processes will run manually (with instructions in the Tasks to be performed by external staff) or automatically through System Tasks, that carry out their functions without any human intervention.

This way, during the time that the contract is in force, similar controls to those that are carried out in any other department or area of the company can be exercised.

The effectiveness and control will make all of the actions coordinated, avoiding overlaps and gaps and optimizing results. The data, any performed actions and partial task results can be known at all times, as well as the stage that the process has reached.

The processes can also undergo a tight risk control (as in all other departments and work areas in the company), including periodic review and verification procedures, audits, event logs, preventive controls and corrective actions.

3. Evaluation of Results

As all of the information has been handled by the BPM Suite, an immediate analysis can be performed, daily and automatically, of the progress of each outsourced area. Deviations occurring in the functions to be performed can be controlled, as well as the costs and times, knowing at all times the leeway available to allowing analysis of the process execution, with the aim of evaluating and adjusting the system.

The evaluation of the results can be established from the point of view of the costs, or with other qualitative factors in mind: times, satisfaction, quality, security, etc.

As a rule, including outsourcing in the company’s Knowledge Management strengthens its control, integration and loyalty, and combines efforts to achieve an unprecedented level of effectiveness.