This article talks explicitly about video outsourcing. However, the points raised here are equally relevant to any offshore outsourcing relationship.
The trend that started with the IT industry is quickly spreading into the video production and post-production industry. Rapidly multiplying demand for videos and shrinking budgets are forcing production houses and video agencies to look for cheaper resources offshore. The global boundaries have never been more insignificant. Standardization of tools & techniques and evolution of collaborative tools make it very easy to hive-off full or part of your video job for excellent cost savings.
Businesses that are trying to proliferate fast are always hungry for skills & talent. Standardization of tools and techniques have made it easy to source offshore talent.
The endless lust for finding an even cheaper option
In my opinion, the quest for finding the cheapest of the cheap service provider is the top reason why businesses miserably fail in setting up a successful offshore team and end up carrying poor opinion about the offshore model.
The cheapest service providers in any market are likely to be poor quality. While the primary reason for offshoring your work is cost, let it not be your only consideration. I suggest you target a 50% cost optimization. Once a partner saves you that much over a local agency/freelancer/in-house team, you consider other qualities you’d want in a partner.
Here are some points to consider beyond cost:
– Experience of catering an offshore team
– Flexible enough to blend in your workflow
– Legitimate and reliable legal entity
– Agile enough to give you enough scalability in the hour of need
– A culture fit for your team
1. Experience of catering an offshore clientele
When you don’t have enough expertise, or say enough success with offshore outsourcing, it’s best to choose a partner that has.
Offshoring is very different compared to outsourcing to a local agency/freelance and certainly nothing like getting things done in-house. You’d require process and structure to make the exercise successful. Choosing an experienced partner means you’ll have all of this already done for you by your partner. An experienced partner can also suggest what kind of changes you may require at your end to make the workflow better.
2. Flexible enough to blend in your workflow
If this is a new experience for your team, it’s best that you choose a team that easily molds itself into your existing processes. This makes it easier for your in-house team to adapt to the new set up.
Consider a team that’s comfortable using the same software suite, the same collaboration platforms, the same stock libraries, and the same 3rd party plugins.
While you want your offshore partner to blend into your processes, it is worth keeping your eyes open for learning that can come from their processes. Most outsourcing agencies have experience of production at a scale. Also, they collaborate with a variety of video production houses. Their experience can help you sharpen your internal processes. Infect, we regularly get requests from new clients to make a detailed workflow presentation.
3. Legitimate and Reliable legal entity
Chances are, you wouldn’t visit the office of your partner or personally meet the resources that you recruit offshore. Don’t let this make you jittery about entering into an offshore partnership.
Here’s how I suggest you screen your outsourcing partner:
– Study the website of your partner carefully and ask for a virtual tour of their set up. Ask for a corporate video that talks about their work culture.
– Work with a legally registered business, preferably a Private Limited Company.
– Prefer an ISO certified partner, that way you know they have solid business practices.
– Ask for testimonials and look for online reviews. You may also ask to talk to their existing customers. The last thing you want to do is to partner with a company that runs a sweatshop in Bangladesh.
– If, after working for a while with your partner, you see the potential for a long-term relationship, I suggest investing in a personal visit.
A little time spent on due diligence can bring much faith in your decision making. I believe when you enter into a partnership with confidence, the chances of success grow manifold.
4. Flexible and agile enough to bring scalability into your business
Your efforts of onboarding an offshore partner will earn you rich rewards when they can help you achieve something that was impossible by hiring an in-house team.
When your business presents you with opportunities that require you to deliver difficult jobs on a tight deadline, your offshore partner should be able to help. Put together a large team in a short while and let you make rain when the sun is shining.
5. A culture fit for your team
Often the most ignored and yet a critical aspect. You always want to work with a partner that shares the same vision and dream as you.
If you are in it for the long run, be ready to train and coach your offshore team just the way you’d your in-house team. Share with your offshore team how you see the future shaping up. What new skills you’d like to acquire in the future? What new avenues you’d like to tap?
Working with your partner, exactly how you’d work with an in-house team makes them as prolific as your in-house team
In conclusion, the whole process of offshore outsourcing is not as complicated as it is rewarding. With a little open-mindedness, you can reap rich benefits that can profoundly impact your business success.
In the past 10 years, I have crafted numerous successful offshore partnerships. Feel free to get in touch, should you need my advice or insight at any point.