How CIOs can power through the uncertainty with outsourcing providers



New CIO Challenges and a shift in focus

COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally disrupted the global business landscape. It pushed businesses to pivot, to adapt, to accept changes that were resisted in the past. Work-from-home or outsourcing practices that were frowned upon by few were integrated into business processes to ensure continuity. New processes driven by technology were introduced to cope with the abrupt disruption. A challenging, unprecedented time for CIOs worldwide!

As organizations recover in the new normal, CIOs face numerous new challenges to manage the implications of the crisis. From supporting the remote workforce to ensuring data security, they must consider whether to work with offshore outsourcing partners to safeguard business sustainability in light of recent pandemic or to better manage operating costs in anticipation of challenging economic times in the future.

The CIOs are focused on ensuring business continuity, and technologies related to remote operations are the centre standpoints. Supply chain disruptions and customer demand dampening still exist in some cases. Thus, all-around digitalization is an obvious solution for companies everywhere, although implementing it is another challenge. It requires a substantial investment, which may not be possible for many businesses at this stage. Outsourcing agencies, especially ones that deliver services on a large scale, already have this tech stack in place. Thus, they can help CIOs mitigate the outbreak’s impact and keep the organization running smoothly over the long term.

TOP CIO Prioritites stats by Statista

The COVID outbreak has seen an unprecedented rise in the digital workspace resources sphere. Hence, operational CIOs are likely to expand in these high priority categories to better serve customer demands. The outsourcing industry has proved to be an integral part of the organizations’ crises response and BCP unit. They not only helped them resolve immediate issues but also helped them position their business with increased resilience against the long-term implications of the current pandemic and potential crises. As a result, the demand for outsourcing providers has also seen a steep rise during the period.

A global outsourcing survey carried out by Deloitte displayed an exponential rise in the number of organizations that prioritize cost reduction, and with changing business scenario, this trend will only gain more traction.

Moreover, the shifting business landscape, travel restrictions and changing customer expectations has made it imperative for service providers to become more flexible and agile. Businesses are now more open to collaborations with offshore outsourcing providers as they learn to operate in the new normal where aspects such as speed, quality, agility, flexibility, scalability and cost-efficiency are more important than geography.

There are some steps that a CIO can take to make sure the people have the systems they need to stay productive-

  1. Ensure outsourcing partner is equipped with secure infrastructure, security and processes

The unprecedented scale of lockdown and the need for a shift towards remote-working operating models have put unprecedented pressure on all businesses, including outsourcing service providers. Even when these agencies supported their employees with adequate equipment to efficiently work from home, many still faced concerns around unstable internet services or inadequate infrastructure at home. These challenges restricted the productivity capability of employees to deliver quality support. The CIO must delegate the business’s essential functions to a service provider with secure infrastructure and flexible and secure processes. If the provider resources and services are bound to be impacted by potential crises, the CIO must have the capability to foresee it. To summarise, the CIOs must ensure offshore outsourcing team can operate efficiently even during lockdowns or any other unplanned crisis situations.

Moreover, the CIO will need to quickly acquire or scale-up technology capabilities. Video conferencing, messaging, and other collaboration tools should be given priority to facilitate remote workforce. Additional bandwidth and network capacity should also be taken care of given the increased number of users and communication volume.

  1. Ensure capacity rebalancing is agile, swift and, most importantly, scalable

Work with outsourcing providers to gauge current offshore capacity requirements and plan for future changes, exponential progress, or rapid productivity decline. For instance, Travel and Tourism recruitment may take a hit in future lockdowns, and your RPO partner should enable you to ramp down (even if temporarily) swiftly and without incurring the hefty cost. Similarly, the demand for healthcare recruitment (locum bookings) surged tenfold during the pandemic; the healthcare RPO partner should enable you to scale up your service delivery capability with ease. The CIO must share workload forecasts with outsourcing service providers and work with them to identify the potential surging demand points and prepare plans to address them proactively.

Assurance of the availability of a full capacity service from the outsourcing providers is essential but could end up being a stretch during a crisis period. Amidst unforeseen situations such as lockdowns, they could likely run into a workforce shortage. Hence, reassess and prioritize all the applications per their criticality and reduce SLAs for non-critical processes during such period.

  1. Develop a business continuity plan in alignment with the outsourcing partner

Work with the providers to form a reliable backup plan by forecasting potential disaster scenarios, including a full shut down of services and their solutions. Can the provider move or share critical processes across different onsite facilities to ensure sustainability? Can the service provider reallocate resources from non-critical processes to critical processes immediately? Is the provider equipped with the technology solutions that empower it to mitigate these disaster scenarios? Getting answers to these questions will go a long way to building resilience against potential crises.

  1. Build Financial Resilience with Outsourcing Partners

Businesses have always worked with outsourcing companies to save on labour and overhead cost. Although, that benefit has become more crucial than ever in this pandemic. The CIOs must take the financial costs of the pandemic lockdown into consideration and evaluate ways to better manage money. Exploring all the options to curb unnecessary expenses is significant to business continuity. While in-house resources remain your plan A, working with offshore outsourcing agencies can be your plan B –  can be part of your Plan A as it helps your business build significant financial resilience.

Assess how the offshore service partners can help your business weather any potential crisis, whether it’s through implementing lean transformation solutions within business processes, setting up payments terms for crisis situations or, in a worst-case scenario, ramp up offshore resources when the affordability of onsite resource becomes a considerable challenge.

Concluding Thoughts

The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare a massive gap in the process and structure of the businesses. It emphasized a need for technology and collaborations with outsourcing agencies. BCP with outsourcing service providers is no longer a mere ‘cost-saving’ option but a necessity, a differentiating factor for businesses. As remote working gains increased acceptance, CIOs have an opportunity, like never before, to move away from the traditional approach and shift to new operating models.

QX Global Group provides financial, accounting and recruitment process outsourcing services to businesses based in the UK, US, Canada, Australia and other geographies. If you are seeking a reliable outsourcing service provider for your business, get in touch with us today.

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