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Innovation in outsourcing — a how-to checklist

17 Sep 2018
by Yana Doshkova

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History still remembers the days when companies would get rid of repetitive and supportive functions via an offshore company, yet market conditions have changed and we see the ascent of IT outsourcing as a success story of a cross-vertical type of partnership . Every company operating in the age of digitalization faces the challenge of turning into a technology company, unless they find a technology-savvy soulmate. This implies that the outsourcing vendor should be a proactive solutions advisor and catalyzer, who is well familiar with the client’s business roadmap.

Yet, а next era is waving at us, one where the concept of innovation created outside the enterprise does not seem that daunting. For example, these days companies invest in increasing efficiency and collaboration through digital solutions instead of solely releasing new products. The link between the two stages of the cycle is, after all, strengthened by high team performance and user journey insights.

Here is how you can speed up innovation realization in collaboration with a strategic partner. Before you start doing your research, or if you have already compiled a list of companies to get in touch with, make sure to check for the following features of the preferred partner profile.

Checklist

  • Request vertical references– as much as a loan management firm would like to, the software developer working with them will not be a financial consultant in their spare time. What is important, is that they are aware of how the restraints and opportunities ahead of the organization may well affect the amount and shape of innovation they can develop together.
  • Make sure company cultures correspond — bringing in tech experts into your ecosystem successfully means they need to understand your work values. For you to get a good notion of that, we have come to see that paying a visit at the supplier premises at the stage of evaluating alternatives tells you a lot about how well you would knit together. Look for communication and social engagement factors as triggers of innovation.
  • Focus on growth over time– define your partnership success metrics, whether they are hard-coded like a product release in a certain time span, or synergy-oriented like team size expansion, integration capacity, etc. This will help you observe how your relationship grows and redirect the track you have taken together, if necessary.
  • Recognize their commitment — you can learn a lot about your combined innovation potential from how your partner treats your relationship. The questions they ask, how regularly they conduct satisfaction surveys, how smooth the process from establishing first contact to project and account management is — the health of these is an indicator that the company follows high process and quality standards, cares about your feedback and is committed to improving over time.
  • Мake outcomes a priority — putting budget first might seem alluring, especially if it’s a practice among your industry counterparts. However, you can’t expect to maintain a competitive advantage if innovation capacity lays upon savings considerations. There are examples of large companies with spending splendor and cost-conscious startups who have taken a 180-degrees turn to boutique service providers after embarking on the price-first highway to hell. Seek the balance between cost, value, cultural proximity and agility to find your perfect fit.

Staying alert to these things will help you avoid the common pitfalls, associated with externalizing software development, while reaping its benefits. Here is a list of some that probably make sense and some which might not seem so obvious.

Technology at the forefront

Regardless of whether your decision makers have technology background, or the business is IT-driven, having an idea of the broad tech landscape could be a luxury good. And most likely, it will still not give you the answer to: “What path to take to achieve the end goal?” What you get by working with a technology partner is an up-to-date take on what’s out there, and better — what’s in it for you. So, do trust your partner to advise you in the name of business growth, not for the sake of technology hype itself.

Sustainable innovation

Let’s fast-forward to the point where you have put a stake on the next big transformation program at your company. Leaving technology aside, how do you evaluate the viability of such initiative from pure innovation perspective? For instance, a large part of the projects we are engaged in, start off as digital transformation requests, which range from a business going mobile, reinventing user experience or integrating an interactive marketplace to reach prospects in brand new ways. To put this in perspective, similar innovation goals go well with different background stories to tell, so the experience of a professional services company is something you could take advantage of and adapt to your case. It is basically a window to what others like you have done and to what your customers could be asking for.

Continual development as a philosophy

Next on our list is the benefit of the attitude towards innovation, instilled within niche outsourcing providers. Choosing a recognized in such a crowded market company guarantees that innovation is applied across the depth and breadth of it daily. You wouldn’t even imagine the pool of skills development techniques IT companies bring into play — from creating their own course academies to initializing nation-wide programming competitions. We, at Accedia for one, have homegrown a center of innovation excellence which unites our specialists from different areas of expertise around the goal of creating software product innovation. Environment like that helps deliver cutting-edge technology expertise, on-point customer offerings, as well as a never-ending urge for optimization and modernization in every aspect.

Scalability at your fingertips

Let’s say innovation driver comes from a force majeure circumstance like a competitor launching a product-critical feature in their new release. How quick can you be to ramp up your own team and respond? Do you have the experts you thought you might have needed a couple of months on from that moment? The mere thought could be disheartening. The alternative is opting for an external team to give you the edge you need. Тhis does not even have to mean them developing the same feature or product — allow yourself to go creative with innovation sources.

A well-worth value for money

Budget control is not something that can be overlooked when you are integrating innovation into your strategic investments. Containing costs & tweaking their distribution could be managed in accordance with the visibility provided by your technology partner. On top of the obvious flexibility benefits in terms of both scalability and spending, you are sure to save yourself the prospect of wasting talent on the bench.

Now that you have an outline of the pros of outsourcing innovation, it is up to you to decide to what extent your organization is prepared to engage in it. The cautiousness of exposing results as subject to the launch of a disruptive initiative is still haunting some conventional businesses. In any case, not innovating at all poses more dangers to the future of your organization. If you have put innovation high on your agenda, you are already on the right track to becoming a leader in your segment. Outsourcing the technology aspect of it means you won’t have to take the high road to the top on your own. 

Yana is a Marketing Manager at Accedia, helping build relationships that bring out the value of technology solutions. She is also a travel addict and baking enthusiast. If you'd like to learn more, get in touch via LinkedIn.
1 comment | Leave a comment
  1. James | Oct 16, 2018
    It is interesting to read your blog post and I am going to share it with my friends.

    Leave a comment