How to Collaborate with Freelancers: Advantages & Disadvantages to Outsourcing IT

Outsourcing refers to hiring an outside, independent firm to perform a business function that internal employees might otherwise perform. Many organizations outsource jobs to specialized service companies, which frequently operate abroad. The outsourcing trend stands to continue and the latest wave of outsourcing impacts the information technology field. IT outsourcing includes data center operations, desktop and help desk support, software development, e-commerce outsourcing, software applications services, network operations and disaster recovery.

As with many new technology companies, Speed and Function works with freelancers as well. The key factors which have led to a growing trend of outsourcing in our company are:

  • Lack of expert-labor in some portions of the business process
  • Availability of cheaper labor, whilst not comprising on the quality of output
  • Ability and feasibility to concentrate on the other crucial business processes

Some benefits of IT outsourcing listed below help us free up internal resources and redirect them toward growth opportunities.

  • Access to specialists with expert-level knowledge and skills
  • Reduced costs resulting from fewer capital investments and staffing requirements, less overhead, volume price breaks, and leasing options
  • On-demand access to the latest technology
  • High level of service as defined in the contract
  • Predictable expenses from flat fees and subscription-based pricing models
  • Faster product launches due to increased focus and accessibility of technology needed to bring products to market

It is known that organizations which outsource IT services run a risk of receiving poor quality work. We’ve also found out some reasons why hiring outsourcers is not always the best solution for our company. Here are the most perceptible of them:

  • High turnover on project teams
  • Lack of customer focus: outsourcers are not that interested in a building strong friendly relationships with our clients
  • Lack of direct control over project management
  • Not always following industry best practices
  • Frequent delays caused by the physical distance between client and service provider
  • Verbal and written communication barriers (often not native English speakers).

Unfortunately, there are always some risks involved. Mainly, because you expose confidential company information to a third-party. On the other hand, there is value in giving it a try. After all, nothing ventured, nothing gained. You have to trust and sometimes take risks if you want to succeed. Otherwise, I suppose, you are just not cut out to be an entrepreneur.

Nearly every business – big or small – has software development needs nowadays. And it’s a given. Outsourcing allows our company to easily access qualified help in the development sphere without the need to hire additional full-time employees. It helps us to focus on the core processes of our business. And in many cases, the freelancers who do great work for us get hired full-time. When you’re aware of the risks and do your best to avoid pitfalls, outsourcing can prove to be a fine solution to the company’s needs.

As for us, we are always working to improve our collaboration with both clients and outsourcers. Here are several helpful options to achieve the best results when working with freelancers. This set of processes helps us and can be a part of every successful IT outsourcing strategy.

  1. Get everyone on board by sharing information freely.
  2. Identify and build on the strengths of both corporate cultures to work well together.
  3. Demand accountability to make sure people do what they say they will.
  4. Work at effective communication to avoid misunderstandings.
  5. Meet in the middle and align the goals and objectives of both the client company and the service provider to develop trust.

With these five foci, we’ve been able to outsource successfully, reducing risk in the process and providing our clients with low-cost, highly specialized results. How has your company used outsourcing successfully? What tips would you like to add to the list?