Raconteur asked three company executives why they chose to outsource a core business function
Managing director of office designers Oktra
We are an award-winning design and build company in London, delivering sustainable office interior design to help businesses enhance their brand and working environments.
In 2006, following a management buy-in, we decided to outsource the management of all our IT systems to IT services provider Exec Sys.
The key drivers for this move were to reduce overall IT costs, remove the need for expensive in-house resources and benefit from the latest technologies to further improve operational efficiencies and ultimately service delivery.
Since then, Exec Sys has managed, upgraded and supported our entire IT infrastructure that has helped sustain our rapid 90 per cent, year-on-year growth and a rise in staff from ten to seventy four. Outsourcing has also helped us utilise the latest technologies, including server virtualisation and mobile computing capabilities.
The benefit of having an expert third party running our entire IT systems was perfectly illustrated when we experienced the Cryptolocker virus. Exec Sys used some clever recovery systems that enabled our business operations to swiftly resume in several hours rather than many days.
Overall, using Exec Sys has significantly enhanced our working efficiencies and saved us IT costs of up to 60 per cent, compared with running IT in-house. Critically, outsourcing IT has also helped us to focus on and optimise our customer service delivery.
Exec Sys is essentially our IT department, and cover all areas of our technology and communication needs. Over the past eight years they have provided a consistently stable, secure and evolving technology platform, enabling our team to focus 100 per cent on running the business. We also have access to Exec Sys’ deep levels of IT expertise, support and advice which is reassuring for our staff.
Head of customer experience at online estate agent, Purplebricks.com
To support our customers we wanted a team of experts within our property centre who could provide support to our customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We evaluated a number of options including delivering the service in-house or using an outsource partner.
Outsourcer Ventrica were initially recommended to us and, after a number of visits to their Southend operation, we were convinced they would be the right partner. What stood out most for us was the quality of staff and their flexibility.
At the beginning, Ventrica’s team started by responding to support calls and live web chats from customers who had questions about navigating our online Ezie platform and liaising with our network of local property experts. However, as our business has developed we have recognised the additional knowledge and value that they can bring to the table as they now get involved in pretty much every aspect of both our residential sales and lettings.
The end-game for using outsourcing has been to make the customer journey as smooth as possible, so that ultimately they can buy, sell or rent a property. This has certainly been achieved, plus we can also create additional value from cross-selling other products, such as mortgages or legal advice, through our approved partners.
With outsourcing, we can offer the customer the choice of interacting on any channel they wish, whether it’s via the phone, web chat, e-mail or social media. Offering choice can be hugely beneficial both for us and the customer because, if we can’t offer the right channel at a specific time, then they may go elsewhere.
Managing director of private jet service PrivateFly
Technology is at the heart of our business and, as a disruptive business model, we have a strong central team, but bring in the widest possible technical insights and expertise to keep innovation at our core.
A key area is our web and app development team. This is outsourced to a company based in India, QBurst. We have worked with them now for nearly eight years.
The initial reason was for cost. As a start-up, PrivateFly’s launch was funded by its co-founders selling their home. But both PrivateFly and QBurst have grown side by side into much larger companies, and the outsourcing benefits outstrip just the financial savings.
The developers give a wider technical insight, with the QBurst team calling on a much wider pool of resources and learning from other projects.
We also benefit from the flexibility to scale up and down quickly when we need resources for certain projects, removing recruitment hassles for PrivateFly.
Time difference is also an advantage for our business. The developers can make technical uploads in the middle of the night (European time), then the UK team can come in and pick up in the morning.
We also make an effort to develop individual relationships with our development team at QBurst and make them feel part of PrivateFly. Our UK senior management make regular visits to India.
We’ve worked hard to achieve a successful balance between our in-house and outsourced resources, with strategy and leadership from our UK team, who manage the outsourced team closely.