Five examples of outsourcing agility

Agile outsourcing provides businesses with the flexibility they need to grow and thrive, and allows key staff to concentrate on high-level tasks

Outsourcing may evoke mixed reactions, partly due to the collapse of high-profile public-private partnerships in recent years. But these bear no relation to the many successful agile outsourcing partnerships in the private sector, which have helped companies generate new business, streamline their customer service, and more.

  1. Creating sales leads

PwC wanted to launch a new flexible legal resource service for businesses with ad hoc legal requirements; essentially a startup within a corporate. However, it lacked the time and capacity to generate sales quickly, as their internal sales teams were focused on their existing responsibilities.

To overcome this, PwC approached durhamlane, which offers sales training, recruitment and outsourcing. Having carried out similar projects successfully, durhamlane developed an outsourced sales campaign that would quickly build market share for PwC’s new service. This involved identifying finance, insurance and banking businesses that were a good fit, from large corporates to independent firms.

In 120 days, the sales campaign produced 54 qualified opportunities. Moreover, durhamlane also delivered sales training workshops to help upskill PwC’s teams and ensure long-term sales success.

“While sales outsourcing isn’t right for every business or requirement, this project is an example of how it can be an effective, agile solution to react quickly to market conditions,” says Richard Lane, co-founder and managing partner of durhamlane.

  1. Customer service support

Great customer service is a must for any business. Agile outsourcing can improve response times and support business growth, and without impacting the quality of customer communications.

Take the case of Jackson Fire & Security, which supplies fire and security services across North Wales, Chester and Cheshire. When the company wanted to streamline the call handling process, it turned to Moneypenny, which looks after calls and live chat for businesses ranging from sole traders to multinational corporations.

“Moneypenny looked to implement a solution for our northwest franchisees,” says Rachel Evans, marketing manager of Jackson Fire & Security. “As we were growing fast in that area, we needed a more streamlined process
working on postcodes to handle calls more efficiently.”

Thanks to the partnership with Moneypenny, any new franchisee coming on board can now rest assured that new sales leads or existing customer call-outs are being dealt with professionally. Jackson Fire & Security have also found Moneypenny’s reporting tools useful, especially from a marketing point of view.

“It’s a great tool to find out how our franchisees are doing for new sales inquiries, week on week, and we can feed that back into other marketing campaigns,” says Ms Evans. “We can find out what the best times are for generating new inquiries.”

  1. Handling accounts

Agile outsourcing can provide companies with the breathing room they need to concentrate on their core business. Indeed, according to Oliver Finch, outsourcing director at accountancy firm Menzies, organisations often lack the time they need to improve the way they operate.

“Outsourced accounting services can help organisations to streamline their processes, allowing them to drive efficiencies, improve their profitability and focus on core activities such as sales, people management and investment decisions,” he explains.

For venues management agency GSP Venues, the decision to outsource its accounting was prompted by the need to reduce its exposure to the risk of disruption following the departure of a key member of staff. Menzies helped take pressure off the business at this critical time by introducing some much-needed flexibility.

“Implementing online accounting platforms, such as Xero and AutoEntry, has improved GSP Venues’ visibility of key financial information, giving business leaders real-time access, on the go, to data insights across areas such as debt management and cash flow,” says Mr Finch. Outsourcing other areas of the business, such as payment runs and VAT returns, has also reduced the administrative burden on the management team and freed up time to focus on long-term strategy.

  1. Supporting HR

Ricoh UK, part of the Japanese multinational imaging and electronics business, decided in 2017 to outsource its front-line employee relations and human resources support for line managers to a specialist supplier to give their in-house HR team more time to focus on strategic activities.

The company, which provides document management solutions, IT services, commercial and industrial printing, and industrial systems technology, employing more than 3,000 people across the UK, including some 300 line managers, appointed The Curve Group, a leading UK recruitment outsource provider, to provide its UK management team with a dedicated telephone and email support service.

The service covers advice and support on all HR matters, including disciplinaries and grievances, capability matters, management of short-term and long-term absence, and policy advice.

Well-defined service level agreements were agreed to ensure clarity between all parties around standards and expected response times. Within the first 12 weeks of service delivery, more than 110 cases were satisfactorily handled and closed, the majority of which were complex in nature.

Mark Deer, HR commercial business partner at Ricoh UK, says: “The service provided by The Curve Group allows the internal HR team here at Ricoh to concentrate on more strategic HR work, while at the same time allowing managers to gain access to best-in-class employee relations and HR support as and when they need it.”

  1. Faster global response times

Agile outsourcing can help companies with an international client base to meet customer needs with greater speed and efficiency, as predictive customer acquisition platform PX discovered.

PX’s offices are located in the United States, Panama and the Netherlands, with remote development and support teams in Ukraine. Due to large numbers of real-time transactions, it is vitally important that PX provides a high level of service to its customers around the clock. However, given the time differences between offices and customers, this presented a challenge.

Ciklum, an international custom software development and IT outsourcing company, was able to provide PX with the scalable and flexible support centre services it needed to deliver fast responses to customers around the world. First response times have now been reduced from 24 hours to under ten minutes.

“Of course, with all the benefits there are still a few constraints companies might face when outsourcing support functions,” says Liudmyla Andersen, global solution leader, managed services, at Ciklum, citing the time that needs to be invested at the start of a project, as well as the cost to train the support team in the intricacies of the product or service to be supported.

However, Ms Andersen says this represents a one-time investment. “Once we launch, the customer won’t be involved in the support process at all; knowledge transfer, knowledge base maintenance and documentation of incidents is carried out by the service provider,” she says.

This means the client can fully focus on the business goals of the company, while the service provider takes care of the selected operations seamlessly and invisibly. “That’s what makes outsourcing of such functions absolutely worth it,” Ms Andersen concludes.