At FAO, the IT division has expanded its ability to deliver IT solutions by directly sourcing non-staff resources to meet growing demand. This continuous increase in directly recruited resources has become more difficult to manage because it increases the burden of administrative processes. It also poses a challenge in managing and monitoring the progress of deliverables and the relationship with customers. The result we have seen is an exponential increase in the backlog of undelivered solutions, difficulties in meeting the SLAs agreed with customers and a growing demand for additional people. So we recently decided to look for alternative sourcing options such as outsourcing many of our solutions and services to outside companies.
Including outsourcing as a delivery option poses many challenges and we need to analyze various criteria before taking the plunge. In this article, we will discuss some of the key considerations made in the IT division in relation to this transformation.
Below are the three main recognized advantages of moving in this direction:
1. A simpler and faster integration process
It is becoming more and more difficult to find developers, moreover for short missions. In addition to the time needed for recruiting, interviews and negotiations, it also involves many lengthy administrative processes which do not allow to have resources on board quickly, so it is very difficult to leverage our ability to deliver with limited internal resources in a fast paced environment.
In addition, the IT division suffers from significant delays due to administrative overheads (these delays in terms of internal processes and procurement activities for new contracts are an important factor in limiting internal sourcing).
The integration problem is limited in case of external resources, it is enough to have the right supply contracts in place and to place an order accordingly.
2. Easy access to a global talent pool
It can be very difficult to get the right skills from our local pool of resources when a project involves new technologies or when the internal resource identified is already occupied in another project. Outsourcing makes it possible to find the best qualified resources from companies specializing in development, it also gives the possibility of having these resources for the limited duration of the project without the need to train an employee or move a resource from one place to another. project to another. This normally ensures better quality work with a faster response time and a more cost effective approach.
3. Scalability and continuation of work
Scalability is our biggest problem right now. Some projects have short deadlines and require additional development effort. Currently, this is done mainly by prioritizing projects and internally moving resources from one project to another or by bringing in new resources not immediately trained and adapted to the position. Setting up a partnership with a large subcontracting company allows resources to be consumed on demand. We can plan accordingly the number of resources only for the time of the project without worrying about training, recruitment, vacations and illnesses and above all without affecting other projects already started. In fact, it is even possible to continue development while internal resources are sleeping or when the office is closed. This means that our customers can access our services when this was not normally possible,
However, the move to outsourcing could be difficult and it is important to also consider the following:
- Clear identification of the reasons why we want to move to outsourcing
It is common knowledge that cost reduction is primarily viewed as the primary motivation for outsourcing IT solutions to external vendors, however, in recent years the industry has evolved a lot and many vendors have invested heavily in the quality of their products. services. Our surveys have shown that one of the main drivers of outsourcing is generally economic as subcontractors often offer more competitive prices for the same services at the same quality of service, whereas in the IT division it was not. not the only factor to consider as we also need the ability for staff to focus on more strategic functions while having a portfolio of services provided by contractors.
Going from an internalization model to an outsourcing model can be emotional, it is crucial that this experience takes place in an environment of collaboration and cooperation.
For example, it is generally considered that having the resources in-house makes it possible to adapt to changing requirements much more quickly and dynamically. While this may seem like an advantage, it also introduces many issues such as a reduction in the discipline of providing clear and precise requirements and an appropriate delivery plan.
In preparation for outsourcing, internal resources need to change their mindset and focus on delivering clear, detailed and comprehensive requirements with a clear plan including milestones, deliveries and customer contributions.
- Communication is essential between internal and external resources
It is important to build the outsourcing capacity on a strong collaboration and partnership with external vendors, investing the appropriate time during the initial stages to ensure that value is then achieved throughout the process.
Outsourcing development is not an easy task, it is a journey that requires clear expectations and great realism on both sides.
The challenge for the CIO today is to build on this experience to take full advantage of the full range of immediate and long-term benefits that outsourcing can bring to a business.
This can take the form of a hybrid model where the outsourcing company sets up a local interface and where internal resources are involved at certain stages of development with the ultimate goal of feeling the owner of the developed product, tests and deployment. It also gives the possibility of maintaining and expanding the product internally. Thus, external resources are used to deliver a product and internal resources retain control and ownership at all stages of the process.