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5 Things to Know Before You Hire an Offshore Team

There comes a time when every company is faced with a choice: Should they hire an offshore team through outsourcing, or hire in-house? 

Working with an offshore team can be a daunting prospect if you don’t have any experience with doing so. Hiring full-time staff, on the other hand, is a whole another challenge that can make or break the success of your IT team.

If you’re considering outsourcing to an offshore team over hiring in-house, there are a few things you need to know first. We’ve listed the top 5 considerations below.

1. How Much Information and Access Are You Comfortable Sharing With an Offshore Team?

If your company is working with an offshore team, there are several things you need to be aware of when it comes to security. 

As part of daily operations, it may be necessary to lean on your offshore team who can be located anywhere on the globe. For the company, this poses increased risks of unauthorized access or even security breaches that may affect sensitive data. 

Therefore, the importance of pre-vetting your outsourcing partners cannot be overstated.

Proper data security will require businesses to implement a variety of procedures and safety policies. 

Implementing these in offshore teams is critical, but challenging. The majority of cybersecurity attacks exploit vulnerabilities that are caused by human error. 

When selecting an offshore team, you’ll need to ask yourself how much information and access are you comfortable sharing with them. Are they reliable? Have you checked their credentials and references?

Regardless of your decision, it is essential to protect your intellectual property and passwords and to make sure all offshore contractors and in-house staff both are following security protocols. 

2. Are There Any Potential Communication Barriers or Cultural Differences?

You’ll also have to consider how you’ll communicate with your offshore team. Outsourcing tasks to other countries means that your business may be dealing with cultural differences or contractors whose native language is not English.

While relatively easy to resolve with some patience, communication barriers and cultural differences can still take up some valuable time and potentially lead to misunderstandings if you’re not careful. If your offshore team is in a vastly different time zone from the rest of your in-house team, there may be delays that might lead to some friction between those teams.

When pre-vetting and hiring an offshore team, you’ll want to pay careful attention to their suggestions on how these issues could be resolved. Do they have any team members that are more fluent in English that can help resolve urgent issues when necessary? 

Cultural differences are best handled with thorough preparation ahead of time, including agreeing ahead of time on when the offshore team can take time off for the holidays. There might be some culturally significant holidays that don’t coincide with our own, and not being aware of them may impact service delivery.

3. Are Your Expectations Realistic? 

The most important question to ask yourself is: What are you hoping to gain from working with an offshore team? 

While there are many benefits to outsourcing, it’s not a cure-all for every situation. Before hiring an offshore team, take some time to consider your budget, timeline, and project requirements. There are many moving parts that will need to come together between you and your offshore team in order to get them to provide the output you expect. 

  • Are these requirements and timelines realistic? 
  • Are there offshore teams available that can deliver on time and on budget? 
  • Are you willing to spend time actively managing them?
  • Do you need an offshore team that has specialized industry experience? 

Per the last question, to determine whether your requirements can be realistically met by your offshore team, you will want to check whether they have any specific industry experience. This can affect the budget needed for the project — the more specialized experience they have, the higher they will cost. Be sure to speak to the offshore team directly to get a better sense of what they can do, how long it will take them, and how much they will charge.

4. Will Outsourcing Help or Hinder Your Company’s Agility And Morale?

If you’re blending an offshore team with a group of in-house employees, there is a chance that it can affect your company agility and morale. Company dynamics often shift as a result of working with an offshore team. If you’re outsourcing roles previously held by in-house workers, you can almost guarantee that it will have a negative impact on employee morale.

Employees that feel their jobs are valued by management will see little to no effect on morale. If you approach outsourcing while avoiding layoffs and other staff turnover issues, there may not be much impact on morale — or you may even see a positive effect. In this case, the majority of employees can continue with the same roles without being affected.

Ultimately, you can outsource without hurting existing employees, as long as they know they are important to the company and are treated as such. 

5. What Is the Time Difference Between You and the Offshore Team?

We’ve already mentioned above that working with teams that span different time zones can be challenging. If you’re lucky, your offshore team is located in a time zone adjacent to your own and there will be relatively little to worry about.

However, you could be working with teams in time zones that have very little overlap. While this has its disadvantages, this provides an opportunity for you to create a “follow-the-sun” setup for your IT operations if near 100% uptime is the ultimate goal. 

Follow-the-sun is a methodology used by businesses around the world to deliver continuous support to clients. To do this, it would mean redirecting business inquiries around the clock to whomever is working in the right time zones. These inquiries would be dealt with in a quick and timely manner no matter the hour, and this can be leveraged to improve service delivery and customer satisfaction. 

Key Takeaways Before You Hire an Offshore Team

Working with an offshore team is not without challenges, but implemented correctly, this strategy can be highly beneficial for businesses. 

Ultimately, it’s all about taking the time to pre-vet them and having realistic expectations. Taking your existing team and their morale into consideration will also prove to be important.

Opsumo is a tried and tested offshore outsourcing partner who provides fast, reliable, and cost-effective IT, cloud computing, and DevOps services with native English support. To learn how we can help you, contact us for a free quote.

January 5, 2021

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