Outsourcing teaching old lessons

“Success with outsourcing mirrors that in the divorce rate; that is, one in five deals end within a year, and 50% of all deals end in five years.” — Ken Landis, Deloitte Consulting

The normal caveat when outsourcing is don’t send out core functions, Information Week reminds us. But what qualifies as a core function? Business people are apt to think only in terms of high-level strategic stuff that executives do. But the truth is, even answering the telephone or accounts payable can be considered strategic–if it doesn’t work right, your customers and/or vendors can get upset and take their business elsewhere.

I find it amusing to think that it’s going to take outsourcing for some business owners/execs to realize that the people in the trenches actually are important to their success. The idea of “internal customers” has been around a long time–but falling on many deaf ears. It seems so obvious that if you don’t treat people right, they might not have good attitudes when they’re dealing with your customers. But I guess if your eyes are only on the bottom line, that can easily fall into the category of “who cares?”

So if you go, go quietly into the maze of outsourcing–and pay close attention to the details. Survey your customers often, and act when you see a potential problem.

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