All outsourced service providers are not created equal
By Jaroslav Cerny, CEO of RDB Consulting.
The adage says "a jack of all trades is a master of none". Many companies in the technology space today try to solve all the tech problems their customers have, or as many as their capabilities allow them to. However, rather than meeting all of the needs of their customers, the result of this approach is often that companies try to service too broad a customer base and are unable to deliver the quality of products and services demanded by today's exacting business environment.
This is especially true in those areas requiring specialist skills, where market needs for cost-effective solutions vie with specific challenges that can only be met by providers that have experience and expertise.
"All outsourced service providers are not created equal," says Jaroslav Cerny, CEO of RDB Consulting. "To be effective, they must be adaptable and constructed around the needs of their customers, and having the right approach is just as important as having the right skills. Effective outsourced solutions have to have a focus on specific requirements, which drive the assurances, the individual elements and the structure that will ensure success."
The concept of outsourcing is based on the competitive advantage theory put forward by Adam Smith in his book "The Wealth of Nations", which was published in 1776. From its initial characterisation as the move of manufacturing to countries providing cheap labour, the definition and understanding of outsourcing has undergone many changes.
In today's business environment, where IT forms the backbone of companies of every size across the globe, outsourcing has become big business. Cerny believes technology should be considered a strategic asset in working out the business capability of the enterprise. But, he says, most enterprises are currently not capable of taking advantage of opportunities and challenges because their systems are plagued with difficulties. "Common challenges encountered by most businesses can be easily resolved with the right know-how, and experience and expertise make all the difference," Cerny says.
"Every business strives to be the best at what it does - to innovate, to build customer relationships, to grow and profit. In a perfect world, you could devote all your time to achieving those goals. But in the real world, there are challenges that include a mobile workforce, huge quantities of data and regulatory compliance requirements, among other factors. Using the right service provider for the right job frees up companies to focus on their strategic goals while knowing that the rest is taken care of."
He adds that while outsourcing provides cost benefits and efficiencies, the specific competencies of an outsourced provider can offer companies a competitive edge. By concentrating only on their specific areas of expertise, niche providers can offer more value than those that present a generalised approach.
"Niche providers start with a conventional approach, then completely re-imagine every aspect of the solution as though the entire offering was originally conceived and built for each customer. They are uniquely qualified to solve specific challenges while offering flexible solutions. Specialists are just that: experts in their fields. When you have a specific challenge, who would you rather use - the company that deals with that challenge day-in, day-out, or one that occasionally touches on it in among all the other things it does?" Cerny asks.