Category Archives: Outsourcing

Outsourcing Cybersecurity – Why It Works

Cybersecurity is becoming a bigger issue for businesses with each year that passes. Whereas before smaller companies were usually safe from any major attacks, nowadays, even the smallest companies have to worry about someone breaking into their system, stealing their data and/or keeping it for ransom. Since the majority of smaller and even many medium-sized companies have limited budgets, they usually go outside for their cybersecurity. And this is a very good idea.

Expertise

The first reason why you should outsourced cybersecurity for your company is the expertise you will be getting from an outside partner. Cybersecurity is a field that transforms on a daily basis and, for someone who is not absolutely in the loop; things get very chaotic very soon. An outsourced cybersecurity partner will know exactly what your vulnerabilities are (after doing penetration testing), how to address them in the best way possible and how to deal with possible attacks that do take place.

Tools

In order to be able to handle attacks from all over the world, a company needs to be supplied with the finest tools that are available on the market. Unfortunately, such tools cost an arm and a leg, and a smaller company can never hope to afford them. Your outsourced cybersecurity partners, on the other hand, will have all kinds of tools at their disposal and they will be ready to deploy them for you when need be.

Costs

There are a couple of ways in which you can put a price tag on your cybersecurity. For example, you may start putting together a budget for your own dedicated team of employees who would do nothing but take care of your cybersecurity. You factor in their salaries, the space they will be taking up and the tools they will need and you soon realize it is an insane expensive proposition, even if your company is doing well.

Then, you start thinking that maybe it is just not worth it and that you can leave your company wide open to attackers in the hopes they will not target you. Now, think about what it would cost you to close down your company for a few months, not being able to do a single thing. That is a reality if you are hit by even the crudest piece of ransomware. What are the costs there?

In the end, it is more than obvious that the only logical solution is to hire an outsourced cybersecurity partner who will handle your security at a fraction of a price that you would have to pay to handle it yourself or to ignore it.

Education

Last but not the least, we also have to mention the value of proper education in cybersecurity matters. Education of business owners, C-suite, managers and individual employees is a basis of every secure company and that is where your outsourced cybersecurity partners can also come in handy.

Namely, you will often find that such companies are ready to put together a class or two on cybersecurity basics for the people in the company. And these are actually the right people to be telling you about their industry. There is nothing worse than when someone who never worked in infosec tries to tell people how to keep their company systems safe.

Closing Word

When you go through all the reasons why outsourced cybersecurity makes sense, it really makes no sense to go any other way. You get expertise (perhaps even education) and tools and you get them at a price that more than makes sense.

What is not to like?

Why You Should Always Outsource App Quality Testing

There are many issues to deal with in software development. In today’s ever-changing technical world, it’s very difficult to keep a development team focused and on track, work within a budget, decide on a methodology, gather requirements, and lock down scope. App quality testing is still one of the most overlooked aspects of the software development process because both developers and producers can make mistakes, even when they think that their coding is flawless.

However, with quality assurance (QA) testing, you’ll make sure that your apps are bug-free and ready for launch. Due to issues such as small budget and time constraints, there are definite benefits to outsourcing software QA. These are some solid reasons to outsource app quality testing.

Types of software testing

Before we begin, it will be helpful to understand which specific app elements are tested, in order to get a better idea of how QA testing is truly practical and useful. There are three main types of QA testing: usability, functionality, and security.

Usability testing can include testing your app’s overall flow, content, responsiveness, and speed. Great usability is crucial for making users feel comfortable using your app.

Functionality testing includes testing search features, text inputting, menu navigation, and other elements that refer to the ease in which your app can be used. It’s done to ensure that your app’s functions meet its original design specifications.

Security testing is done to ensure that there are no poor coding errors or misconfigurations that can leave your app open to security attacks (takeover, denial of service, and data theft). Identifying security vulnerabilities is primarily done by ethical hackers, who are able to create reports that highlight potential problem areas and risks before the real hackers do.

1. Time

Saving time is one of the major reasons for outsourcing app quality testing. Experienced QA testers are able to do the testing at hand more thoroughly and quickly than your in-house staff. After all, QA testing is their area of expertise. By outsourcing these services, you’ll have more time to devote to other important tasks, while your quality testing gets done by professionals with the highest levels of expertise. You’ll increase productivity by following documentation and test planning standards that help keep track of all functional requirements.

2. Objectivity

Maintaining objectivity is one of the biggest advantages to outsourcing quality assurance testing. When performed in-house, testing is often done by the same group of people who created the software in the first place. They review the material that they’re already familiar with, and there’s a higher risk of error and bugs to go unnoticed. Defects in functionality and small errors are more likely to be discovered by a “fresh pair of eyes than individuals who worked to develop the app.

3. Cost efficiency

By using a skilled team of dedicated developers, you can drastically cut testing costs. This is a guarantee that you won’t miss functional testing, and speed up delivery time to your client. By delivering a bug-free product and expediting your app’s time-to-market, you’ll ensure maximum budget efficiency. One of the latest concepts of QA testing is crowdsourced app testing that quickly gained momentum, which consists in assigning app testing tasks to a community of professional QA testers through an online platform.

4. Ensure best practices

When it comes to software testing, you can ensure following measurable industry standards by hiring a team of professionals that is exclusively concerned with quality app testing. A good QA teams should have certain standards and tools for testing services, which means that you should do your research before choosing a QA team. These testing standards and tools should relate to mobile apps, web services, security penetration, load and performance testing, and database services.

5. Improve development quality

Software development teams either have individuals in multiple roles (designers or coders) that perform quality app testing along the way or one QA person who’s terrified of the developers. However, the number of discovered bugs and errors will be increased with a team of experienced and dedicated app testers. A team of QA testers only cares about ensuring functionality, which makes it able to reduce defect leakage.

6. Equipment

One of the most determining factors when it comes to outsourcing instead of creating your own in-house QA testing team is equipment and infrastructure. This can involve office equipment, such as office supplies and productivity software (browsers, licensed operating systems, and third-party plugins) and new hardware, such as computers and mobile devices (both tablets and Android and iOS phones).

By outsourcing app quality testing, you’ll cut down on cost, time, and liability. It will also give you the option to take advantage of these resources and services only when you need them, and not on an on-going basis, which makes the whole process more cost-efficient.

Top 5 Tips for Growing an eCommerce Business

Growth keyboardStarting an eCommerce business in 2017 is fairly simple. All you need to do is find your niche, choose the right platform and follow a quick and self-explanatory tutorial. Still, although starting may be fairly easy, growing your business, making it self-sustainable and of course triumphing over your closest competitors is something completely different. So, here are five simple tips on how you could effectively grow an eCommerce business.

1. Target other demographics
While most guides will advise you to focus on a single major demographic in order to get the most effect, every once in a while, it might be worth your while to reach out to other audiences as well. Sure, you are still better off focusing the majority of your resources on those you deem as low-hanging fruits or qualified leads, but it doesn’t hurt to make an extra effort and add an additional objective to your outreach plans.

2. Outsource
Growing your business can cost a small fortune and expanding your business rarely seems cost-effective in the long run. Furthermore, trying to do everything in-house gives you a lot less flexibility, which is why it might be a much better option to simply outsource. While there are those who hate the idea of outsourcing core-tasks, in most situations, this is where the greatest savings can be made. Furthermore, if you, for example, operate out of Sydney, you can use a Sydney-based warehouse storage solution instead of purchasing a warehouse. This way, you can also save a lot of time and effort on hiring, handpicking and training a team. Overall, whether or not outsourcing is resource-efficient may be quite situational but it is always more flexible and more scalable.

3. Market your most popular products
Another simple trick that will help you grow your eCommerce business lies in your marketing focus. More often than not there will be so many different items in your stock that you won’t have enough time, space or resources to market all of them properly. This is why, in order to get the best results, you need to figure out which of your products are the most popular ones and focus on promoting them individually. This way, you will not only boost sales of your flagship products but you’ll also increase the chance of driving attention towards your other products as well.

4. Use affiliate marketing
Whether or not traffic is a vanity metric is up to a lot of debate. Still, one thing is certain – without traffic, there is no profit. for example, your conversion rate can be 100 percent, but if you only get a few visitors on your website every month, it won’t amount to much. One of the ways you can boost your traffic is through a cunning use of affiliate marketing and PPC (pay-per-click). Even though some dislike the idea of paying for visitors, no one can dispute the effectiveness of this method.

5. Focus on return business
Finally, you need to keep in mind that the thing that will generate you the most profit is not new conversions but return business. In fact, according to research, 8 percent of your return customers are responsible for over 40 percent of all your profit. For this, however, you need to have great analytics tools and an even greater post-sale follow-up technique. Here, methods such as email marketing or even traditional telemarketing are highly recommended.

Conclusion
With these several growth hacks, you are bound to set your eCommerce on the right path towards success. Not only are these techniques optimal for creating some great immediate results but they also excel in helping you scale a lot better than your current business model. The best thing here is the fact that the above-listed five are nothing more than a tip of the iceberg and there are many other tricks left for you to discover.

 

Outsourcing: Big Help for Small Businesses

SMB Owner
Small businesses often experience the same issues as large companies. The odds might seem unjust, especially for owners of startups. Still, there are ways to combat this ‘inequity’, and one of them is strategic outsourcing. There are certain tasks that would otherwise be unfeasible for a small business. So, by commissioning a third party to help you out, you can save both money and time, which could then be diverted to some other developments.

Administrative tasks

Unless your small business is bookkeeping or accounting, the administration is probably not your primary job. Still, it is an essential part of every business operation, as it enables it to function properly. One way or another, administrative tasks are time-consuming and overwhelming, especially for companies that cannot spare the personnel. Hiring a virtual assistant is a good way of clearing the administrative mess, so you’ll have one less thing to worry about.

Banking

As a very important aspect of doing business, banking is not to be taken lightly. There are professionals whose job is to help small businesses navigate the treacherous waters of banking. Keeping someone on board who can keep track of your cash flow, loans, credits, etc. might be too expensive considering the training and everything. On the other hand, a hired ‘deckhand’ will be able to do this quickly and more efficiently.

Social media activity

While it may sound like clicking likes and shares, keeping track of your company’s stats on Facebook, Twitter and other social media is much more than that. The good news is that it is not a demanding task, and as it doesn’t require any special skills, hiring a person for it is more than affordable. What do you get out of this bargain? More room in your schedule and peace of mind knowing that your social media presence is taken care of.

Content marketing

How can you promote your small business in an excellent, yet non-aggressive way? The answer is content marketing. Writing content that is easy to read but also informative and practical is a popular and effective way of promoting your business without actually selling anything. Following this increasingly successful strategy, many companies have executives whose job is strictly related to content marketing. For small businesses, on the other hand, outsourcing is the most reasonable option.

Artwork and printing

If you sell products or services, you need logos, website art, and promotional material. As a matter of fact, even if you don’t sell anything, you still need business cards at least. And this is where it gets tricky. Not everyone has a talent for graphic design. As much as you feel inclined and motivated to design something for your company on your own, it is best to outsource this job to professionals. There are many reputable companies who specialize in digital printing in Sydney area that you can hire without breaking the bank.

General weaknesses

At the end of the day, it is always best to evaluate and identify the company’s tasks that you are not very good at. This will give you a clear picture of what sectors you should outsource. By relegating some of those tasks, your crew will have more time to focus on things you are actually good at, which will help you develop your small business faster. And then, there is the money issue. If you compare the cost of a full-time executive and a freelancer, the lance wins any day.

Once the amount of work increases beyond the capacity, outsourcing is a popular way for small businesses to keep on paddling. Having the need to outsource doesn’t mean that you as the CEO are incapable or that your company is sinking. On the contrary, it means that you are developing at full speed.

5 Business Practices You Didn’t Know You Could Outsource

Business outsourceEven though traditionalists loathe the idea of anything not being done in-house, it goes beyond saying that in 2017 outsourcing is more than a common business practice. Sometimes, it is both cheaper and more convenient to just get an expert outsider than to try to train, equip and fund your own department. Not to mention the fact that it would take months, perhaps even years, for your team to gain the same level of the expertise. Be as it may, while a lot of companies outsource their customer support, accounting, and web design, there are other fields you could outsource, as well. With this in mind and without further ado, here are a few business practices you probably didn’t know you could outsource.

1. Research and development

A thing that makes this particular outsourcing idea… let’s say controversial, is a fact that a lot of companies tend to be quite jealous of their prototypes. You see, some even decide to sit on their most valuable discoveries for years in hope that some of their competitors will stumble upon it by chance and therefore commit a copyright violation. Still, research and development take a lot of work, meaning that such a team would have to perform demographic and market research, financial analysis and many other complex tasks. This alone is the reason most companies decide that it is much more cost-effective to deal with this overseas.

2. Presentation design

Another thing that some companies decide to outsource is presentation design. No matter how brilliant your idea might be, there is always a risk that your investors won’t understand it the way you intended. Framing your thoughts in a format that is both engaging and enticing takes a lot of skill and experience, which is again why so many companies decide to entrust this function to someone more competent, like professional presentation design services providers. Features like structure, narrative and visual style play a key role in your persuasion attempts and you need someone who thoroughly understands them. Of course, training your own team-members in this field might seem like a smarter long-term choice but sometimes you simply may not have this luxury of time.

3. Manufacturing

If you decide to take a look at any guide on outsourcing, most of them will advise you to keep doing core tasks in-house. No matter how wise this may sound at first, upon a closer examination, you will realize that all major conglomerates outsource their production. Reasons behind this are usually more convenient labor laws abroad, cheaper workforce or more affordable raw materials abroad. Sure, some may still discuss just how ethical this course of action may be but no one can deny its cost-efficiency.

4. Telemarketing

One of the greatest misconceptions regarding telemarketing is that it has no place in the world of modern marketing. The truth is that it no longer gives the same stand-alone results but it still works quite well as the support of your digital marketing. In other words, these days you can effectively use telemarketing in order to boost your website traffic and in this way enhance your digital marketing campaign. Still, there is a thin line between making people interested and annoying them on the phone and crossing it can be quite costly. There are certain skills a good telemarketer needs to possess but at the end of the day, even good might not be good enough. When you need the services of the best, it might be time for you to outsource.

5. Transportation

Finally, while some companies prefer to get their own company vehicles when it comes to the transportation of employees, this seldom comes as worth the cost. The greatest benefits of such methods would be the chance to label your company as green by reducing its carbon footprint but this can be done through outsourcing, as well. As for the cost-effectiveness, like always, it is short-term cheaper to outsource and long-term cheaper to handle it in-house.

Conclusion

The funniest thing about this list is that it is only a tip of the iceberg. In fact, the list of tasks you can (and even should) outsource seems to be much longer than the one of the tasks that absolutely need to be done on-spot. Some honorable mentions are scheduling, voicemail support, employee retention, and healthcare. The world is your oyster, only now you might want to consider getting someone else to shuck it, coat it and fry it for you.

What a Good Marketing Agency can Do For You

Global BusinessThere is a perpetual debate being waged about whether companies should implement marketing departments of their own or should they outsource their marketing to outside partners, i.e. marketing agencies. In many cases, it comes down to money, but sometimes other factors play a more important role.

Today, we will be looking at those factors and try to find out what a good marketing agency can do for you and your company should you decide to use an outside partner.

Years of Expertise

Any renowned marketing agency will boast a staff filled with people who have spent years in marketing and who have actually had marketing education. In the world of digital marketing gurus and other charlatans, this is a huge thing as these people will actually know what they are doing. They will know how to identify your needs and the best way to fulfill those needs in the most cost-effective way possible. This is what decades of joint experience bring to the table and it is definitely not something you should ignore.

Latest Technology

Marketing has become technology-driven and it is safe to say that most companies do not have the resources to supply their limited marketing teams with all the new technology. When you go outside for a marketing partner, you know that you will be getting services enabled by the latest technology – from content producing equipment to the latest in data analysis software and beyond. With this latest technology, your outsourced marketing partner will be able to set you apart from the competition which is what marketing is all about when you get down to it.

So Many Ideas

Marketing agencies thrive on ideas and they employ people just for the purpose of having ideas. Unless you run a massive corporation with huge marketing teams, your marketing department will be limited and its members will sooner or later start to think alike. Marketing agencies are set up in a way to avoid this and to provide a constant stream of ideas and innovation. As a result of this, your marketing efforts will stand out in the crowd and your message will never get stale.

Crucial Tweaks

Marketing is a fluid concept and once you settle on a strategy, it is not set in stone. It has to be revisited on a daily basis and it needs to be tweaked along the way. In-house marketing departments often neglect this aspect of their work for a number of reasons – limited resources and vanity being the primary ones. When you hire a marketing agency, you can rest assured they will be adjusting your campaigns regularly so that you get the best possible results.

Abundance of Data

One of the most difficult aspects of marketing to master is data and data analysis. This is often considered the hard science part of marketing and many in-house marketing teams lack the expertise in this particular field. Sure, they know how to recognize when a campaign is not working out, but they lack the advanced knowledge and actual data to make models that will predict future outcomes and that will more precisely identify what works and what doesn’t. Professional marketing agencies operate with all the data you can ever need and they know how to present it to you in a way that will help you make smart decisions down the road.

In the end, it is all about being able to make truly informed decisions that will benefit your company. A good marketing agency can do that for you.

How to Use Outsourcing to Grow Your Company

GraphGrowing a company is hard work. It takes much more than just talent or a few smart moves to turn a new company into a growing business that will be taking on new employees, expanding its market share and bringing in more revenue.

Nowadays, however, business owners have an ally that their predecessors did not – outsourcing partners. Outsourcing is effectively revolutionizing the way business is done and especially the way in which companies grow.

In other words, if you wish to grow your company the smart way, you will turn to outsourcing.

Access to Talent

Let’s be honest, not all parts of the world are teeming with talent in all industries. There are areas where technical schools are extraordinary and you can easily find engineers and developers in those parts of the world. However, what if your local talent pool is shallow and you struggle to find someone to fill the most crucial roles in your company?

Well, you turn to outsourcing companies which are teeming with talent and which always have someone on call who can handle various roles that you need filling in your company. You will be getting experts with years of experience when you outsource, and usually at a fraction of the cost you would incur if you sourced that talent yourself.

State-of-the-art Tools

A growing company needs to keep growing and this is near impossible to do without all the right tools. Upgrading tools as your company grows can be costly. For instance, moving your website to high-quality dedicated hosting can be quite an undertaking and an expense which becomes a necessity at one point. And this is just the most basic thing.

Imagine if you had an IT team that once served ten people now having to take on a hundred. You would have to invest huge amounts of money in the latest tools.

With outsourced partners, you know you are getting the latest in technology, no matter what part of your operation you are outsourcing. Outsourcing companies know that their clients require the best and they understand that they need the best possible tools money can buy.

Once again, you are getting tools that are worth millions at a fraction of the price tag.

Unprecedented Versatility

Let’s imagine a situation in which your company experienced rapid growth and you went from 25 employees to 250. You moved offices and you invested millions in your expansion.

Then, all of a sudden, your industry experiences a downturn and all of a sudden, you have to cut back, letting go a hundred people and finding a way to get out of your office space contract. It soon becomes obvious that you bit off more than you can chew and you are having a difficult time scaling back.

With outsourcing, this does not happen. Outsourcing allows you to quickly scale up your operation and get all the help you need without the strings that come attached to doing so on your own. If you suddenly realize that you have to slow down and perhaps roll back some of the expansion, outsourcing companies let you do this just as quickly and as easily as you did when growing.

This may not sound like much, but it can definitely make a difference between a company that finds its way in new circumstances and one that gets swallowed by new realities.

New Ideas

When you get into partnerships with outsourcing companies, you will be tapping into a source of great expertise and knowledge and if you know what is good for you, you will spend some time analyzing the way in which they do things.

This will not only ensure that you get the best results from them, but it will also provide you with an abundance of new ideas that you might apply to various parts of your operation. You may, for example, discover an interesting way in which they handle certain requirements of the job you hired them for or they might be using a piece of software you never thought of.

It is crucial to have an open mind and to get as much as you can from your new relationship.

3 Tips for Expanding Your Company on a Global Level

Globe businessHistorically, expanding and opening an international office was something reserved solely for the largest conglomerates and multi-million dollar companies. This, however, is no longer the case. Thanks to the Internet, you can now easily research a foreign market and make some reliable local contacts. Furthermore, you can get in touch with people who do this sort of thing in a foreign country or use your online resources to see if there is a government grant or incentive that would make this investment worth your while.

When all of these things are considered, expanding your company globally might not be something out of your reach after all. So, if you do decide to go on with it, here are some tips that you may find useful.

1. It is still quite expensive

Sure, having your company present on a foreign market may seem like a good idea, but is it really a cost-effective one? It would be perfect if your office could just materialize in a different country and all your employees suddenly turned into native citizens. However, in reality, both of these things are something you need to work hard to achieve. Moreover, it’s not just about hard work, but expenses as well. So, aside from being a considerable risk, investing in a foreign country is not cheap, which means you have to be 100 percent sure that making this move is worth your while.

2. Research the local culture

Another thing you need to do when planning to expand internationally is to research the target country’s culture. Sure, everyone knows that opening up a restaurant that serves pork in a predominantly Muslim country or one serving beef in India is not such a good idea. There are also numerous other cultural differences, which could prevent you from achieving profit at your intended destination. You see, even some of the most unlikely items might be prohibited in your target country, which could potentially hinder your efforts to launch your product on that market.

Aside from that, there is the issue of etiquette, local laws and regulations, as well as local policies that may affect your industry. The best way you can deal with this is by hiring a reliable DMC (destination management company) to help you out. It will be best if the company in question is based locally, seeing how it would give you a point of view much closer to locals. For instance, Australian and NZ entrepreneurs hoping to start a business in the U.S. could contact someone at the Insider Experience.

3. Hiring the right people

Finally, one of the greatest problems a company can face when going global is finding a way to hire the right people. First of all, it is much easier to look presentable during a Skype call, than in an actual job interview. Additionally, you have no way of knowing if the person you entrusted this task with has the right recruitment skills.

This is why it is probably your best choice to get in touch with an international recruitment agency, of course, after checking their reputation online. You could additionally do some background checking of your employees over social networks (not just their LinkedIn profile). Needless to say, it still might be best to go pay them a visit in person from time to time.

Of course, another way to go is to outsource part of your operation, especially in the early days. This is, in fact, something that is often recommended to companies which enter markets that are unfamiliar to them. Outsource as much of your operation as you can until you get to know the new marketplace and its idiosyncrasies and until you build up your reputation as an employer.

Conclusion

As you can see, expanding your office internationally may be an extremely lucrative move in some situations, but in others, it might not be such a good idea. If you don’t have anyone you can lean on at the target destination, means to travel there from time to time or someone to check the terrain before you move, it is probably for the best to avoid this risky move. Still, in the digital era of 2017, all of these things are much easier to handle.

Why you should Reevaluate your Outsourced Partners

ChartsGoverned by the motto “Do what you do best, outsource the rest”, companies have been outsourcing their business needs in the last 15 years. By doing that, they are able to focus on their business strategies and execution without having to worry about the details of their daily tasks. Outsourcing enables you to reduce time to market, save money, scale quicker, and increase your access to expertise.

Does outsourcing always pay off?

There are companies that decided to outsource certain functions at one point, but eventually brought them back in-house. The reasons for this can vary: the outsourced partner did not deliver the promised cost savings, they’ve grown lazy over time, or the transition simply didn’t go well. Initially, the company may see greater efficiencies and lower costs, but there was no continued improvement.

It often happens that the disappointments are rooted in the fact that the outsourcing partners fail to understand the company’s long-term goals and company culture. Outsourcing is about increasing operational efficiencies on an ongoing basis rather than just about cutting in the short term. When you realize that things aren’t going as planned, it’s important to reevaluate your outsourced partners, and understand why they fail to deliver properly.

Outsourcing contract mistakes

If you fail to define all the details in your agreement with outsourcing partners, you’ll quickly blow your budget. Whether you outsourced for IT, HR, or customer service help, not specifying budget limitations, delivery deadlines, and clear requirements will most likely result in spending more money and time than expected. All the guidelines can be difficult to establish, of course, so instead of getting yourself into a position to have to reevaluate their contribution and eventually change the outsourcing partner, you should start with a temporary agreement that can be renegotiated when needed.

For example, you’ve outsourced your IT department, to perform your website maintenance, security and hosting, telecommunications, database management, or technical support. Take time to check upon their services from time to time, to see how your software development is taking place or what kind of hosting features you really get.

In case that they’re not delivering what’s expected, you should be able to push back on contract terms. When signing an agreement with an outsourced partner, insist on including a clause that allows you to break the contract in case you realize (and are able to prove) that they haven’t been fulfilling their part job determined by the contract.

Is your relationship built on trust?

Assuming that you can enter into a smooth working relationship with an outsourced partner would be a mistake. In recent years, the approach where work gets simply assigned to an outsourced team has been replaced by efforts on creating a true partnership with them.

Reevaluation of your outsourced partners is necessary if you’re not committed to outsourcing as your company’s business strategy and are not comfortable with all the processes involved. Believing in the gains of outsourcing beyond the ones determined in the service level agreement and contracts is also necessary, but on the other hand, you should stay in control by managing the projects on an ongoing basis, developing project management plans, and monitoring deliverables. Always be prepared to implement changes.

Keep track of changing circumstances

It may be necessary to recalibrate or renegotiate the service level agreement as circumstances change. Is the composition of the team changing from time to time? Are new members joining the team or is there a staff turnover? Whenever it happens, retain your right to reject them as team members if you don’t think they meet your requirements (after evaluating their CVs or after a Skype interview). It is not common, but it happens that outsourcing service providers attract companies with skilled workers, replacing them with inexperienced ones after the commencement of the contract.

Adjust service levels every now and then in order to align goals and increase mutual understanding, which will contribute to a better relationship with your outsourcing partners. After all, the most crucial part of having a service level agreement is the two-way discussion that revolves around its contents.

Outsourcing service providers need to show their clients that they’re able to provide more than just providing basic operational support, meeting cost reduction goals, and staff augmentation. Today’s directive requires them to try to add tech support and innovations, as well as valuable and niche skills. On the other hand, you should remember that taking risks, monitoring the work of your outsourced staff, and eventually changing some of your associations is required for your business growth.

How to Become a Workplace Health and Safety Officer

The progress that has been evident in almost every field has also brought about significant changes to the way we work, including the requirements related to health and safety. It’s often no longer enough to receive traditional education and training, since the types of emergencies have also changed and now require different approaches.

Work health and safety is one of the crucial aspects of daily operations of every company. It’s a well-known fact that illnesses and accidents can affect much more than just production processes.

Unfortunately, they sometimes lead to serious injuries or even death. That’s why it’s important for health and safety experts to receive relevant and applicable knowledge. So, let’s look at what it takes to become a workplace health and safety officer.

Step 1

The first step you need to take if you want to become an expert in this field is to attend a work and safety course and get a valid certificate after completing it. If you’re living Down Under, your most natural choices are Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety and Diploma of Work Health and Safety.

Consider these as stepping stones towards the ultimate goal. Such a course will teach you to identify risks and hazards in the workplace, react appropriately to accidents, operate different types of emergency warning systems, check compliance with work health and safety legislation and you’ll also learn quite a lot of theory.

However, if you want to progress and get promoted, or simply become more competitive on the job market, you’ll need to get Diploma WHS, since it will provide you with additional set of skills. This way you would be able to investigate risks and hazards, manage workplace health and safety consultation process, draft elaborate safety reports and use risk management tools.

Licenses for specific high-risk jobs

If your interest lies in working with specific, high-risk equipment or in more dangerous environments, you’ll need to meet some special requirements. They depend on the area in which you’re looking for work, which means you need to ask around and get relevant and correct information before taking any steps.

Furthermore, those among you whose ambition is to become trainers need to be ready to add to their existing qualifications, although the most useful thing to do for them is collect as much relevant experience as possible. This is not only a requirement for becoming a trainer, but also an invaluable component of every professional knowledge.

Choosing the way of studying

Like most other courses, those in workplace health and safety can be taken either online or face-to-face. Either way, they usually last not more than one year, which allows all candidates to take the plunge rather quickly and learn the ropes.

It is important to compare available courses and what they offer, as well as to look for testimonials from people who have already finished some courses. Make sure you choose the best option available since you need to invest both your money and effort into completing a course.

Conclusion

With the development of various fields of work, the job requirements for health and safety officers have also changed and become stricter. The desired knowledge and skills are also becoming more specific, which means that traditional qualifications may not be sufficient or that other people will have an advantage over you when applying for a job in this field.

Apart from completing appropriate courses and getting valid certificates, you should try to get as much varied experience as possible, since that will be both useful for any future job and necessary if you decide to pursue a more esteemed career. It’s up to you to choose the institution that can provide appropriate training and try to get a job as soon as possible.

7 Reasons Why You Should Outsource Your IT Support

Today, most of the businesses out there rely heavily on technology. That is why they need IT specialists who will be able to fix any tech problem as soon as it occurs. If this is the case with you, chances are you are thinking about hiring an IT team for your business. Still, more and more entrepreneurs choose to outsource their IT support. That being said, make sure you check out our seven reasons why you should go for outsourced IT support.

It saves you money

The IT outsourcing market tends to be quite competitive, which means you will not have to spend a real fortune if you decide to turn to IT professionals. On the other hand, if you decide to hire new employees who are going to deal with IT support for you, you will not only have to pay their wages but there will be some other expenses such as recruitment and training. Also, bear in mind that if you choose to deal with IT support internally, you will also have to buy all the equipment necessary for your IT team’s work.

It offers you the benefit of experts in IT

Unless your business actually has something to do with IT, you are hardly going to keep up with the pace of the latest trends in the industry. And we all know how rapidly new pieces of technology get released. Luckily, IT professionals will always stay up-to-date with all the developments and they might also advise you on ways you can use technology to grow your business. This might just help you gain a competitive edge and start standing out among the companies in your industry.

It is more effective

It is also important to mention that outsourced suppliers are able to deal with any sudden problems more effectively. Since they are always on call, they can use remote access to take control over someone’s PC and deal with the issue as soon as possible. Not to mention that these experts have tons of experience in fixing any potential problems. You can also sign an agreement that allows you to apply financial penalties if your supplier fails to provide you with all the services you agreed upon.

It helps you resolve issues properly

There are plenty of things that can go wrong with your tech equipment. No matter what it is, you have to make sure it’s resolved properly in order for the same problem not to occur again. There are also some issues that can cause further damage if they are not dealt with correctly. With this in mind, outsourcing your IT support makes a lot of sense since you will be assured there are highly-skilled people dealing with this kind of issues for you. Furthermore, they will do it much faster than an internal IT team which is something you should definitely aim at.

It allows you to focus on other things

No matter what kind of work your business does, it is always very important that you and your managers are able to focus on core aims of your company. IT issues are something that can easily divert you from your main task, and make you lose hours and hours. Even if there is a whole team responsible for your IT, either you or your managers will have to be included in the decision-making process. Not only this, but there will be more people that you have to manage and more reports to read. On the other hand, if you outsource your IT support, you will be able to focus solely on doing your work.

It provides you with 24/7 support

If your employees work from 9 to 5, they will also need to have in-house support for your systems in case something goes wrong. This means you will have to supply them with more equipment and pay them more. Also, you can hardly expect from your employees to be available 24/7 and you might have to hire more people who will deal with your IT support. Most of the companies that can provide you with managed IT services are on call 24/7 and you’ll always be assured any IT problem will be dealt with as soon as possible.

It helps you respond to changes in demand

When launching a new product or starting a new marketing campaign, you can always expect to see a sudden change in demand. This may cause a real headache for your IT team, especially if you don’t have enough IT experts in your company. Outsourced suppliers are prepared for such changes in demand and will be able to deal with it easily. Most importantly, if they respond to these changes properly, there will be no deals not going through just because there’s something wrong with your tech.

An outsourced supplier can offer you a much cheaper and better way to manage your IT support services. Therefore, make sure you take a look at local companies that provide these services and try to reach an agreement that both sides will benefit from.

How to Boost Communication with your Outsourced Partners

Computers communicatingWhen you as company decision-makers and managers what the biggest challenges for a successful outsourcing relationship with vendors is, it is far more likely than not that they will identify communication as one of those challenges.

Despite the huge leaps in communication technology, we are still not in a situation when outsourced partners are as present and as reachable as people who work on the premises. Luckily, there are ways in which we can encourage communication with outsourced partners and, subsequently, achieve better results from this collaboration.

Find the Right Outsourcing Partner

It should be pointed out that not all companies you can hire as outsourced partners are the same. Just like with anything else, you will find those that are great at what they do and those whose services can be found a bit lacking. Those companies that are not exactly top of the line will probably give you more headache communication-wise than those that really excel.

Namely, all great companies that provide services as outsourced partners understand the need for great communication and they will make you feel like you really do have a partner out there and not just someone who is taking money out of your pocket every month.

If you are not certain that you can recognize a great outsourcing partner, a good idea would be to consult a company like Globality Consulting that can help you with this.

Be Clear about what you Want

Unless you are clear and direct with your outsourced partners early in your relationship, you cannot expect the lines of communication to remain open and to have any kind of a to-and-fro relationship where everything that needs to be discussed actually is discussed.

When discussing the terms of your future partnership, it is necessary that you ask your new partners how they handle communication with the companies they provide services for and whether they have any questions before you get into this business partnership of sorts.

You should also be very upfront and tell them exactly what you want from them and how you will want to clear up any future misunderstandings or changes to your relationship. If they seem uneasy committing to anything like that, do not back down and ensure they will be available to you and your people.

Take Advantage of Technology

One of the main reasons why outsourcing has become so popular over the last couple of years are the many leaps that communication technologies have made. In the past, you were reduced to conference calls which often descended into anarchy as lines were broken, different parties struggled to hear or convey their message.

It was a mess. And an expensive mess, at that.

Nowadays, you can take advantage of the innumerable ways of communication that are possible via the internet, from video calls which reduce the chances of misunderstanding to chat software which allows for quick resolutions of burning issues.

In case you use some kind of an intranet solution, you might even consider giving your outsourced partners limited access to certain parts of it; those parts that would allow them to do their job better and to communicate with your employees. If you do this, you have to ensure that their cybersecurity system is up to code and that you are not putting your company in any jeopardy.

Don’t Presume Anything

There is a line from an early Guy Ritchie’s movie which is a bit rude so we will not be writing it here, but the idea behind it is that presumption is the most common cause for all kinds of problems.

When we are talking an outsourced partnership, this is perhaps even truer than for other business situations since there are not people who are directly in your employ and who may not be familiar with the way you do things.

If you suspect they will have problems with a certain aspect of your account, make sure that you clear everything up before mistakes are made.

For example, until you are certain that your outsourced customer service representative understands your policies to the tiniest detail, go over it again and again. If you also employ some kind of mobile marketing automation, make sure your outsourced marketing agency is not doing anything that would undermine these efforts of yours, and vice versa.

If it requires innumerable emails and hour-long video chats, then so be it.

Your business is at stake and you cannot afford to have it put in danger because someone didn’t understand what their assignment was.

Above everything, encourage communication. Do not shy away from being boring and even annoying.

Outsourcing and Your Ecommerce Company – How to Do It

One of the most common business ideas these days is running an eCommerce company – an online store that exists only on the web. It can be a fantastic way to make a living if you know a market that still has a need for a new online store and if you know how to put everything together so that you can sell your products at a profit.

As you might imagine, this is where outsourcing can be of immense help. In fact, the vast majority of ecommerce stores are built on outsourcing various aspects of their organization and today, we will be talking about the most common parts of the ecommerce experience that business owners outsource.

Logistics

In the vast majority of cases, ecommerce companies will outsource their logistics. In fact, there are only a handful of ecommerce companies that do their logistics themselves and these are the world’s largest ecommerce companies such as Amazon, for example. For everyone else, it comes down to third-party logistics companies, also known as 3PL.

This way, you are outsourcing your warehousing, your transport and your deliveries. This both ensures that you get professionals taking care of your stock at all times and also that you will not be spending all of your money on your own warehouses, trucks and delivery people.

Simply put, not outsourcing your logistics makes no sense in the ecommerce arena.

Well, unless you are Amazon with your robotic warehouses and whatnot.

IT

Since an eCommerce company will exist almost entirely online, it goes without saying that IT and everything that goes with it will be the majority of the operation. Some eCommerce owners decide to outsource one part of it while others let their outsourced partners handle the most of it.

For example, there are people who decide on Shopify’s domain registration, hosting and the basic package and then they hire someone to upgrade their solutions so that their shop does not look like just another Shopify store (not that there is anything wrong with them).

Other people go to web design companies and they have their store developed from scratch. Sometimes, ecommerce websites grow so quickly that the owner has to hire someone to handle the maintenance.

There are innumerable variants to this, and when ecommerce owners decide to outsource their IT, they need to ensure they are hiring the right people. This is where Globality Consulting and companies like that come in.

Customer Service

For people who are not really familiar with how ecommerce stores work, it may seem that they can operate without any customer service people. The customers just click on what they wish to buy, this is recorded and the delivery is made, right? Couldn’t be any simpler?

In reality, however, there is as much need for customer service in ecommerce stores as there is in traditional, brick and mortar ones. People have questions about products and since they cannot hold them in their hand, they have even more questions. On top of this, many shoppers do their purchasing outside of regular work hours and it is not like you can hang a sign Sorry, we’re closed on your website.

This is why a very large number of ecommerce companies outsource at least one part of their customer service experience, the live one. It is quite difficult to organize three 8-hour shifts if you are not exactly teaming with a budget for such serious customer service.

Marketing

Ecommerce takes a lot of marketing to work. You start with nothing but a website. No one knows anything about it. No one knows it exists.

You have to change that.

For most ecommerce owners, marketing is not a strength and they often find it much simpler to outsource marketing to an outside agency that will know exactly how to get an ecommerce website visible and attracting customers.

Once again, when hiring outsourced marketers, it is important to know how to recognize those that will do your website justice and deliver the results.

Closing Word

All in all, eCommerce involves quite a bit of outsourcing and it is essential you find reputable partners you can rely on. Read a few more articles on the Globality Consulting blog and pick up a few tricks.

Is Your Outsourced Digital Marketing Agency Doing Enough For You?

Nowadays, everyone does some digital marketing and for most companies, this is something they gladly outsource for any number of reasons. And while most people will be careful when choosing their outsourced digital marketing partners, this does not ensure that they will continue to provide fantastic service, even if their pitch was phenomenal.

Because of this, it is crucial that you take stock of what they have done and what they have been doing for you, simply to make sure they are doing enough. Often times, you will find out that your agency may have missed out on a current trend that is providing great results for other companies and you will want to ensure they provide you with this kind of service too.

But, we are getting ahead of ourselves.

Getting the Basics In Order

The first step in making sure your outsourced digital marketing partners are handling your account the right way is to track the results that they have achieved and how this has affected your company.

In order to do this, you will want to establish clear KPIs and then track how the digital marketing efforts are helping you hit those targets. For example, you might want to increase the visits to your website by 25% in six months, or you might want to get 10% more conversions in this time.

This is something you will have already conveyed to your partners as the targets and through keeping track of how much of it is being accomplished, you will be able to see how well they are working for you.

Sometimes they will have difficulties absolutely hitting those targets, but it is important that they are not taking you for a ride and handing you various vanity metrics in lieu of actual results.

Digital marketing (like all marketing) is all about concrete results and your outsourced partners need to deliver those results.

That is why you are paying them.

Another part of taking care of the basics will be talking to them about the practices they have put in place and the strategies they are using to provide you with the results. You will probably be not an expert in digital marketing, but you can do some research and find out if they are doing the right things for you anyway.

The Need for Innovation

Digital marketing is a field that is always changing and there are always new strategies and tactics that may provide results for your company. Unfortunately, many digital marketing agencies get stuck in their ways and it takes them a while before they acknowledge these innovations and start applying them to their clients (i.e. you).

Because of this, you might want to check from time to time and find out whether they are staying in the loop and whether your company is benefitting from these new tactics and strategies that can boost your digital marketing efforts.

One of the more recent examples of this are virtual summits. Virtual summits are online conferences where you invite experts and influencers from a certain industry and let them share their views and insights.

Just as an example, if you run a B2B company that does account-based marketing, you can invite the leading experts in the field and let them give talks that you will then turn into podcasts that people can watch live or download later. You will ask for emails from the visitors and this way, you will be growing your email list in unprecedented ways. Navid Moazzez has a great guide on virtual summits and you will do well to check it out.

Ask your digital marketing agency is they have heard of this or any new tactics and you will find out how well they are staying in touch with what is happening in their industry. You cannot afford to pay someone whose practices are stuck in 2008.

What the Others Are Doing

Of course, you will also want to make sure that other agencies have not surpassed yours when it comes to their practices, prices and everything else. This is the same relationship you will have with any other supplier or outside partner. You need to make sure you are getting value for your money and the best way to go about this is to discover what others are doing for their clients.

You will probably know other business owners who are using other digital marketing agencies. Ask them about the services that their partners are providing them with and perhaps even try to find out how much they are paying.

Also, keep an eye on your competitors and make sure they are not rocketing past you when digital marketing is in question. If they are, the chances are your outsourced digital marketing agency is not doing as great a job as they think they are.

Closing Word

This is your company. This is your money. You cannot afford to be wasting money on an outsourced digital marketing partner that does not deliver results and lives three years in the past.

You deserve the best for the money you are paying.

Never forget this.

The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing

In today’s world, with the internet and globalization, workforce has changed significantly. While 9 to 5 office jobs used to be the norm, in a lot of cases, it doesn’t work like that anymore. When you call customer support, the person answering your call might be on the other end of the planet. When your internet crashes, the person troubleshooting the problem is possibly in a different country. Here are some of the most important things to bear in mind when it comes to outsourcing.

Not All Positions Are the Same

It is important to take a good, hard look at your company’s needs. People tend to be set in their ways, and do things one way just because that is how it has always been done. Don’t let yourself be limited by routine. A surprising number of positions can be outsourced. While some key positions are better filled by full-time employees, there are a lot of others that can be done by freelancers. People usually hire full-time employees for positions that require personal contact and meetings with clients. Everything else can be outsourced, thanks to modern technology. What is more, why would you pay more for night shifts if there is someone somewhere in the world, in a different time zone, for whom the day is just starting? Think about it.

The Cost of Outsourcing

Believe it or not, outsourcing can make a significant difference in terms of cost, without compromising on quality. First of all, traditional hiring requires a lot of red tape which is costly in and of itself. An HR team and legal requirements can set you back a great deal of money. Another thing is that with a full-time employee, you pay them indefinitely, regardless of the current workload. When you are hiring a freelancer, you can plan out exactly what needs to be done, and then negotiate the price per task or project with no strings attached after it’s done. And finally, different parts of the world all have experts, but the price for their work varies wildly as it is dictated by the cost of living in their country. It is entirely possible to find an expert who charges less than a person with the same qualifications and experience in your country. In another scenario, you can often get more qualified and experienced freelancers for the same money you would pay a beginner at home.

Where Can You Get in Touch with Quality Employees?

The internet has made hiring freelancers extremely easy. There are numerous websites that work as a job market. With a wide range of professionals, they offer an expert in just about any field and price range. If you feel more secure working with an organization, many international companies, like excellent Crystel, offer a wide range of outsourcing services.

Is There a Downside?

As with everything, there is a downside. Mainly, it is the fact that you are not entirely able to exercise direct control over your workforce. Some freelancers have several clients, and you might not be their priority. Most people solve this problem by first outsourcing tasks and projects that are less important or have a more flexible deadline. Afterward, when they have established a relationship of trust with their freelancers, they expand and give them bigger and more crucial tasks.

With a rise in outsourcing, the job market has diversified. This has led to easier access to quality workers and lower cost. Taking advantage of this situation is an excellent way to give your business the push it needs and let it flourish.