Outsourcing, Off-Shoring, Freelancers & Recruiters
When outsourcing a project or looking for C2C resources, there are a lot of uncertainties. Over the past few years, our company’s business model has evolved based on what the market has asked from us. Within a few years, outsourcing and our C2C models have taken over a good portion of our revenue, and being a professional services group, this was quite an interesting evolution. Often times we are asked by our customers for some advice on whether or not to offshore a project, outsource it locally, or simply find freelancers and manage them internally. Here are some of the topics we usually end up discussing with them:
• Recruiters, personally, I have a love and hate relationship with recruiting firms. We have worked with several over the past years and have found that as long as we are clear on roles, and we help them close new projects, we can also help by providing resources. Unfortunately, several recruiters are closed to the idea of doing C2C agreements with consulting firms. Mostly because they like to portray their services as if they were actually doing the consulting work, however, we have to be super upfront here… you get access to a very large pool of talent working with a recruitment agency, however, you really have no control over the resources. Recruiters, as good and efficient as they are, really have no technical knowledge to correctly filter and select a highly technical resource, and since they are subcontracting the resource, there is no real accountability, there are no architects interviewing the candidate so regardless of procedures, you are still taking a gamble.
• Let’s find our own resource, awesome! As long as you have the time and connections to find the right resource at the right price and place. Don’t get me wrong, I have a huge amount of respect for freelancers, but to be quite honest, they are unreliable. By numbers alone, if your freelancer gets the flu tomorrow, your entire project is dead in the water. If they get another huge account, more than likely yours will get put on the back burner, so personally I try to stay away from freelancers as much as I can. • Jacked up prices. Pricing is a huge problem when it comes to outsourcing or C2C. You get freelancers in the US asking for way too much money by the hour and you also get freelancers asking for too little. On the other hand, you have consulting firms asking for outrageous rates ($200+ USD for an ERP consultant? Really?), and then of course you have the biggest challenge of all, which is offshore companies offering “technical experts” for $15 bucks. So how do you make the right decisions? do you do it based on price? service? proximity? It is really an impossible decision.
• Remote or not remote? This is a matter of preference, but with the right procedures and protocols, you can definitely make a remote resource work. However, it takes time, this doesn’t happen overnight and usually it is easier for a consulting firm to assign a remote resource that will work without issues than for you to find a freelancer and have them work remotely. This is simply because with a consulting firm you always have somebody who is held accountable. When you think about the amount of money saved by having a remote resource, it is really a no-brainer.
• Off-shoring is sensitive topic, but the current COVID-19 situation makes my case. I have tried to explain this to our customers for years, when you offshore your project, you save a little money, but you lose all control. You are not only in a different time zone, but in some cases, you need to manage a 12 hours difference, and interact with an entirely different culture. Additionally, there is usually a huge communication barrier. There are plenty of local outsourcing companies that I am pretty sure are more than willing to work with you on price and be more flexible in order to get your business. If you really are on a tight budget, consider onshoring, you still get significant savings, but you get the resources at a short flight or distance. I agree, subcontracting a project, either outsourcing or C2C, to get additional resources is extremely difficult, especially while offshoring. You are not only dealing with the remote aspect of the project, but you need to add the time zone difference and of course the cultural and language barriers. Ultimately when you are outsourcing a project you need to make sure your external resources work as smoothly as possible with your internal ones. When we started offering outsourcing and C2C resources to our customers, we had one very clear idea in mind - “let’s have everything on-shore and as close to our customers as possible”. Our technical consultants are spread across Central US (Texas), North Mexico (Monterrey) and Canada (Halifax), which allows us to deploy resources faster and of course with practically no cultural barrier. However, being onshore is not as simple as opening an office locally. Finding the right talent is quite a challenge, so we decided to use internal resources, meaning let’s not subcontract projects. We figured that in doing so, we would grow slower, but we could keep a high level of control on our projects and the quality of our work and consequently, a higher level of customer satisfaction.
Regardless of your budget, I am sure there are local technology companies willing to work with you on price and delivery methods in order to earn your business, try it out! Give local and small firms a chance. I am convinced you will find an incredible amount of commitment to customer service and an overall pleasant experience.