Outsourcing is a word mentioned more and more often, but what does it actually mean? Put simply, we can define outsourcing as the use of external companies and individuals to perform a particular job.
Examples are common in the business world, and not just in the IT industry – hospitals outsource cleaning services, buildings do it with maintenance services… The point of it is simple – get a better service for a lower price.
What is our experience with outsourcing?
HSM informatika has been in business for nearly 30 years. When we started, there were no other quality options around. Around ten years ago we had internal accounting, suppliers, tehnicians, internal developers for the web site…
Today we outsource almost everything that is not core business: accounting, hardware service, delivery services, maintenance of IT systems (computers, servers, webshop), office cleaning, job candidates analysis, designers, translators…
We also use the services of external consultants. In the past couple of years we worked with various experts – experts in organizing company structure, HR process improvement, project management, legal advisors…
Technology-wise we internally maintain only the solutions that we also implement for our clients, such as Salesforce CRM and Google G Suite.
This allowed us to work more efficiently. And most importantly – to focus on what brings us revenue. And in the end, to do better in the areas of our expertise, and to grow faster. For the last few years, our revenue has increased by at least 20%.
When does it make sense to outsource?
There is a simple rule we apply. We ask ourselves: “Do we want to do this?” Perhaps more accurately formulated as “If a client wanted us to do this for him – would we accept?” If the answer is no, then we turn to outsourcing. It’s really that simple.
Some companies outsource their sales department, but most often it is the sales of simple services (for example sales of telephone subscriptions, electricity, etc.). So far I have not heard that a company successfully outsourced the sales of complex solutions – we still do that on our own, and we plan to continue doing it that way.
What does this have to do with CRM?
We have been actively providing CRM implementations since the end of 2016, and we have been Salesforce users since 2015.
When we started to offer Salesforce implementations we were often told by potential customers they found Salesforce interesting as a solution, but that they would rather implement it themselves. We most often received this answer from IT companies and companies with a strong internal IT team.
Today the situation has changed drastically. I am delighted to see that more and more successful companies are thinking similarly to us. Of our last 5 CRM implementations, we have worked with two highly respected IT companies, one of them being one of the leading technological startups in the region. In the beginning it felt counterintuitive, but it is actually pretty clear why that’s the case. They want to focus on what is most important to them, and that’s the product they develop. Only in this way can they be competitive in an increasingly demanding market. They see our implementation services as an easy way to quickly gain value and improve their processes.
Since it is increasingly difficult to find specialized CRM specialists these days, most of our users engage us not only about implementing CRM solutions but also for later maintenance and system renovation. More and more often, this collaboration becomes a complete outsourcing of the CRM system, with our team assuming the role of their internal administrator who realizes their business needs through the CRM system.
What should you keep in mind when outsourcing a delicate system such as a CRM?
You need to have trust towards the company that will maintain your CRM – not only that they will do a good job of implementation and maintenance, but also to trust them to work carefully with sensitive data into which they will have insight (such as personal data of clients, product complaints, etc.).
In HSM informatika trust is of utmost importance and we do not share data nor sensitive information of our customers with anyone. Furthermore, Salesforce itself devotes maximum attention to trust and invests enormous resources into security – Salesforce users around the world are companies that have sensitive data, such as financial institutions and healthcare organizations.
Globally present solutions have been taking the lead in the market over the past few years in relation to local solutions. Global solutions such as Salesforce invest billions of dollars each year into the development of new functionalities and improvements – local solutions often cannot keep that pace. What also needs to be considered is what happens if a local company reduces the resources it invests into their solutions or in the worst case closes their business?
Equally important when talking about outsourcing is the coverage of the network of partners the client can contact for help if they want. Salesforce in Europe alone has hundreds of partner companies that Salesforce users can contact.
It’s not easy to precisely calculate whether in-house development is more worth it compared to outsourcing, but the costs are not as simple as the formula “we know our business, we have the people and they can do it for free.” What about the cost of their salaries, education and the like? How long will the implementation project take than if an expert did it? What will be, most importantly, the quality of the system?
We often encountered Salesforce implementations where the client independently began to implement the system and “got stuck”. Honorable exceptions aside, but systems of this type were most often very difficult to use. Working on dozens of Salesforce implementation projects has brought us great experience that can be applied more easily to new clients, while companies that choose to do the implementations themselves often do not have that luxury of the range of our experience.
And in the end…
It’s simple – outsourcing allows companies to save money and time, eliminating employee training costs and reducing administrative costs. Additionally, it gives companies the freedom to choose exactly who they need for their project, among more potential candidates – depending on whether they want experts with the most experience in the area or experts with the best price, and so on.
But what matters to us the most, the reason we outsource is it allows us to devote our time to what we do the best and what we want to be the cornerstone of our business.