Expertise: outsourcing

Not in-house, but in control

How can I stay in control while outsourcing?

Moving your business processes to an external party doesn’t have to mean losing the amount of control you would have in-house, even if you’re dealing with multiple vendors. The best thing to do is encourage all your vendors to work together by making operational arrangements with each other. If this doesn’t work, you can make the collaboration legally binding and commit the vendors to joint service levels, making them jointly responsible for a successful outsourcing operation.

What’s the best exit strategy?

It’s always best to deal with a potential problem sooner rather later. If agreed in advance, clear exit arrangements can help to avoid discussions at the end of an outsourcing contract – and make it easier to agree on a fixed price for the exit. Before starting an outsourcing relationship, you should determine the hourly rates and the amount of hours spent for each step in the exit plan. Make sure you include this in the contract, as well as an obligation to regularly update the exit plan.

How can we ensure that our vendor is committed to innovation?

The first step is to define what you see as ‘innovation’ for this particular business process or service. Once this is established, you should put this into the RFP documents and, at a later stage, the contract. But you’ll need more than a contractual clause to inspire a vendor to get really creative for you. We’d suggest you work closely together, share the risks and costs of innovation projects and make sure innovation is regularly on the agenda on both sides.