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Thursday, 15 September 2011 08:21

Is outsourcing the right career choice for you?

Welcome to the reality: in today's tough economic climate, transformational change is emerging as the key theme for the outsourcing industry.

Most industries are going through similar cycles of transformation and consolidation. For the CIO, drivers to align to business needs, reduce cost and generate maximum benefits on spending are far more significant today as firms embrace outsourcing as a critical execution strategy. Providers are changing their business models to offer a mix of transformational service offerings, technology skills and leadership to generate competitive advantage.
The outsourcing industry has become more complex than ever today.

Several key trends today are impacting the industry:

- Cloud-based sourcing is gaining momentum and is eventually expected to merge with the outsourcing industry and change how and when services will be delivered to clients.

- Clients are more and more implementing standard packages and processes to support business needs in an effort to minimise customisation. The recent mantra is to change the proprietary process to support the product features as much as possible.

- The need to provide better value to clients by converging consulting, integration and technology execution capabilities is creating M&A opportunities.

- The outsourcing market is becoming truly global as providers increase investments and employee bases in global locations to strengthen delivery capabilities and remain competitive.

- The recent media buzz about the possibility of the US dollar losing reserve currency status is prompting clients and providers to review their hedging strategies and long-term implications to their business if the dollar loses value.

Outsourcing professionals (OPs) are leading the transformation

Rapid globalisation and commoditisation is driving the need for global managers who can manage outsourced and offshore initiatives. Experienced OPs are seeing this as an excellent opportunity to put their skills and training to use working with their clients to align outsourcing goals with business strategy. As CIOs introduce initiatives to transform service delivery, improve customer experience, manage risk and reduce cost, OPs are entrusted to lead and support complex transformational initiatives and achieve cost-reduction, innovation and service development goals. OPs are leading the strategic change and helping the CIO address critical outsourcing concerns related to loss of control, flexibility, negative customer reaction, and flexibility. OPs are also critical to manage the outsourcing governance, process, provider performance and programs/project portfolio and ensure the smooth functioning of outsourcing PMOs.

It is becoming critical for firms to hire, retain and develop outsourcing talent

The Global Delivery Model is more and more becoming a reality as sourcing of IT skills is becoming more and more complex. Service providers today support development, maintenance and package product implementations from multiple global locations. The need to successfully manage global projects in partnership with providers is calling for organisations to urgently hire, retain and develop the right outsourcing skill sets. Firms are enhancing their HCM (Human Capital Management) frameworks by adding international management philosophies like SMILE (Specialty, Management Abilities, International, Language and Endeavour) to address the skill gaps and identify the right talent.

Outsourcing professionals bring forward unique multiple skills to generate value

Often cultural and cross-cultural sensitivity are assumed to be the only critical skills required but those alone are not sufficient for OPs to succeed. OPs instead may wear multiple hats depending on the role definition, need and exact nature of projects under execution. OPs' roles can contribute at several layers in the management from operational roles like coordinators, analysts, project managers, to more strategic roles like relationship managers, program managers, directors, vice presidents, sourcing heads and executives. Key attributes (the order of priority varies with role) that are critical for OPs to succeed are:

- Strong ethics and discipline
- Leadership and strategic ability
- Outsourcing experience as client and provider
- Managing ambiguity
- Change and conflict management
- Communication, relationship and interpersonal skills
- Organisational agility
- Technical and business knowledge
- Cultural sensitivity and understanding
- Program and project management skills
- Process management expertise
- Sourcing risk management
- Remote infrastructure understanding
- Contract management
- Understanding of markets and geopolitical trends

Today the most successful outsourcing companies are those where top executives recognise the need to manage the new environmental and competitive demands. They focus more on developing the outsourcing abilities, behaviour and performance of individual managers and promote those who have successfully led others. Change can only succeed when those assigned have the required skills, understand the overall goals and are dedicated to achieving them.

Responsibility of outsourcing professionals

OPs must adhere to the highest professional code of ethics and standards. OPs are responsible to their employer, clients and provider partners for their actions. They must practice outsourcing advocacy, accurately representing themselves, their skills and their organisations. OPs need to be positive thinkers, committed to investing in personal continuous improvement and embrace change.

The decision point – are you ready to become an outsourcing professional?

Outsourcing as a profession may not be a career for everyone even though it can offer tremendous challenges, growth, personal-professional rewards and responsibility. Seasoned OPs bring forward multiple skills with well-rounded experience in delivering value to customers. They also balance strategic thinking with consistent practical actions. They understand that successful outsourcing is about managing business needs and are very service-oriented. They also know how to make the best use of available resources to generate value for organisations. Mature organisations today understand the skills that OPs bring forward and are revisiting their traditional attitude towards leadership, people, skill needs, roles and relationships. Is this something you want to do?  


Fonte / Source:


Outsource Magazine - Sanjay Chadha


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Outsourcing Network