With cost optimisation at the top of the current agenda and organisations demanding ever-more competitive rates from service providers, utilising offshore resource can provide a highly effective means of cutting operational overheads.
At our own service management and IT operations firm, establishing a new overseas base has helped achieve valuable savings that we have been able to pass on to our customers, allowing us to offer even more competitive prices. Crucially, it has also given us access to highly-skilled and enthusiastic new staff.
Offshoring is not without risks, and a purely offshore model can fail when all operations are taken overseas or lack of communication results in services not meeting client expectations. To prevent this, we believe that it is crucial to establish good communication channels at the outset and we work very closely with the offshore team to build a lot of understanding and make sure the work is delivered effectively.
Our model sees the onshore and offshore teams receiving the same level of training and also using the same systems and reporting methods. Although we are one of the few firms in our specialist area to adopt this blended approach, we have been transparent about the fact that we are doing it and it has not affected the quality of service we offer our clients in any way.
In our case, all the initial consultation and workshops are still conducted by the onshore team and clients always have access to dedicated UK-based project manager. Rather than being conducted remotely by the onshore team, however, some of the subsequent non-customer facing work such as analysis, configuration or software testing and installation is now passed to the offshore team.
The work done by our Bulgarian operation, for example, is incorporated in our service desk operation as well as some of our off-site technical consulting work, which is also carried out by remote workers. In the next year, we plan to apply the same onshore/offshore approach to expanding our operations to include India, as well as Bulgaria.
In reality, it makes little difference to the customer where the technical team are dialling in from, but it does enable us to reflect the savings we make in the prices we offer our customers. The bottom line is that, in these tough times of fiscal uncertainty, this creative onshore/offshore approach is undoubtedly helping our business to deliver the same demonstrable improvement in IT operations for our clients - whilst also remaining competitive.