Can I do it myself or should I engage an agency?
For many businesses, engaging an agency is seen as a way of utilising expertise that might be lacking in the company currently.
In 2011 it was estimated that turnover across all ‘outsourced’ sectors – including IT, catering, facilities management and others – was in the region of £207 billion.
Despite its popularity, however, the thought of outsourcing part of a business that they have worked so hard to create is a source of worry for many business owners.
This article will examine when the right situation is to engage an agency and outsource while avoiding any potential drawbacks that can come with this. In short, it will demonstrate how to make outsourcing work for you and your business.
What should you outsource?
Many businesses use an agency for technically difficult projects so that they can benefit from the company’s knowledge of best practices as well as the latest industry trends. Processes that can be considered for outsourcing range from finance through to health and safety.
Web design and management are also two very common areas for outsourcing and this is our area of expertise here at Web Foundry. We recognise the responsibility that comes with managing such a business critical area for clients and as such, are always aiming to improve our level of service. It is important for business owners to carefully consider the consequences before handing over management of important areas of the business to an outside company.
It is tempting to assume that as soon as a business runs into a problem or task that falls outside its area of expertise it should look to bring in an agency. However, outsourcing is only beneficial in certain situations and rushing into an outsourcing agreement that’s not needed can be time-consuming and costly.
When should you engage an agency?
Before deciding to outsource something it is important to ask yourself a number of questions namely; what are the costs of doing the project in-house? what will be the return on investment? and are you prepared to spend the time and energy that will be necessary to oversee the new outsourcing relationship? This last point is key and is something that often gets overlooked. At Web Foundry, we try and make managing this relationship as easy as possible by giving clients multiple ways of contacting and interacting with us.
Only once owners have the answers to these questions and are convinced that it makes both practical and financial sense to outsource then the next stage of the outsourcing process can begin, selecting the outsourcing partner.
Choosing an agency
There are always potential disadvantages when making a business decision. With outsourcing, however, these downsides can often appear worse because they are no longer in direct control of the management and therefore the solutions are outwith their control. Things like service delivery falling below expectations and confidentiality not being respected are often things that business owners worry about before entering into a contract with an agency. However, there are steps that can be taken to mitigate the risk of these issues taking place.
Before entering into an agreement with an agency, business owners should always ask themselves these questions.
At Web Foundry, we seek to demonstrate to clients that we can give satisfactory answers to each of these questions. We have recently sent out satisfaction surveys to all clients to find out how we are doing as a business. We have also opened new offices in Manchester and Warsaw to give our clients, even more, options in terms of services that we can offer. Checking that the agency being considered ticks these requirements goes some way to ensuring that further down the line there are no problems with projects not being up to standard or other issues.
Conclusion- Making outsourcing work for you
Outsourcing can be a great way for your business to continue to grow, and focus on what it does best, whilst not having the necessary expertise in all areas. As this article has described, taking relatively simple steps before entering into an agreement with an agency can mitigate the chances of problems appearing later.
Once the process or service has been outsourced it is important to continue to monitor the success of this. Looking at the financial benefits of the deal are important but there are many other signs that an outsourcing deal is reaping benefits; a reduction of errors, an improvement in the level of service offered to customers and increases in the speed to market are just some examples of these.
To find out more about Web Foundry and to discuss the options of outsourcing your web responsibilities, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0131 667 0997.