Outsourcing consultants plays a vital role when companies plan to outsource complicated large projects or when offshore outsourcing is considered. The need of an expert is felt because companies either lack the expertise or skills necessary to overlook project implementation, or may want to draw upon the experience of independent and unbiased people. Depending on the nature and complexity of the project, the consultant can play the roles of a facilitator, contributor, trouble shooter, negotiator, or that of an impartial watch dog.
Outsourcing consultants normally have considerable experience of project management in their respective fields, such as human resources, information technology, finance and accounting, real estate facilities management, logistics, manufacturing, etc. Some may have experience from several fields. However, it is their connectivity with the prospective vendors coupled with negotiation and project management skills that substantially add to their value.
Selection of a good consultant is the vital first step. An ideal consultant would be the one who is capable of doing the intended project himself, because he has done similar projects before. So, he is an expert in that field. This individual can help the company define the project clearly and advise on the gains arising out of outsourcing. THey will also work out details of the manner of implementation and quality checks of deliverables.
On the other end of the table, these individuals will ensure that the vendor has necessary technical capability and infrastructure to complete the project and to ensure after sales service. In addition they will help negotiate the deal to the satisfaction of both the parties. Skillful outsourcing consultants look for ways to negotiate rather “user friendly” terms of contract that provide scope for change and adjustments as the project goes along. This creates a more collaborative and accommodative relationship between the company and the vendor. It also facilitates incorporation of novel and better ideas whenever they spring up from any side.
The role of the outsourcing consultants becomes all the more crucial for offshore outsourcing when the vendors belong to a totally different work culture. Their major task becomes ensuring effective communication between two culturally dissimilar entities – which is more like a cultural translator, more so in the beginning. For the outsourcing company, they becomes the vital multipurpose trouble shooter. This adds to the burden of the consultant – assuring both quality and timely delivery becomes their sole responsibility. Being aware of the expertise as well as limitations of the local vendors, they have to not only ensure quality of deliverables but also help resolve newer issues along the way.
Outsourcing consultants are valuable for other reasons too. In addition to introducing you with the quality vendors, they can keep you out of “the danger zone”, particularly if you haven’t outsourced before; they can help you select the right projects or processes for outsourcing so that you get maximum benefits. You and your organization gain a fresh way to look at management of outsourced projects from experts. In the fast changing world of business outsourcing, the importance of consultants is going to stay; only their role will get bigger.