Where do the outsourcing challenge come from ?

Scoping of Expectations:Doctor – Doctor vs. Doctor – Patient Model

Often we have no idea, what role the outsourced company should play in our project and how they should be integrated in our company structure. The integration can range from pure body-lending where their employees fill distinct roles in our existing organization with leadership oversight and a well-oiled A.I. project-framework or there is no integration in our company and they “just” deliver finished products or services.

Both sides of the spectrum and every step in between will demand however different ways for us to handle the collaboration with the remote workforce and it holds completely different levels of responsibilities and skills for our and their team.

While body-lending has a much lower price point and can be found more frequently in the market, it demands a more matured A.I. structure in your company. However outsourcing the whole project has a much higher price point, is harder to find but offers better solutions for companies which do not have an A.I. structure in place at the moment. But – it always demands the later question: “Who is taking care of the project once it is done?”

Not knowing where you stand on this issue of your expectational scope can immediately cause problems in the short and long run, because you might expect skills from an outsourced partner which he does not even offer. Many people wishfully think of outsourcing companies as magicians or doctors.

They go to the doctor with a vague pain, the doctor runs his magic diagnostics, then gives you his magic treatment and you are healed. Most outsourcing AI companies naturally are not offering these services, but instead expect you to know where your pain is, where it is coming from and just help you develop a better treatment.

On the one side you wish to be seen as a patient going to the doctor and on the other side you are mostly expected to be the doctor yourself who is just consulting a specialized colleague. As you see, two completely different scenarios.

Let’s become a bit more specific and let’s leave the world of analogies.

Imagine, you have a specific and common problem: a too long case resolution in your service desk. Customers complain all the time that the time between calling your service desk and resolving the issue is minimum three days where it should be three hours.

You are proud to have collected a lot of data and are ready to inject some A.I. into the process to push your resolution time from three days to hopefully three hours. The process between customers calling and problem being solved is however highly complex and includes multiple departments. And if you are honest to yourself, you have no real idea if the data is actually accurately representing the process. Furthermore the process has grown over the years into something peculiar and is far, far from perfect and could use a proper overhaul itself. Also the process has never been documented or written down in any form.

If you would be now choosing an outsourcing company with just cutting edge data scientists who are working in the agile SCRUM framework, you would be working towards failure. Why? Because you would have to be able to deliver not just the project management but also knowledge in process management and would need a project owner who is knowledgable in agile frameworks as well as in waterfall frameworks to navigate between both worlds and is ready to present your case properly to the other company.

The whole business side on your part will be expected to be ready to roll. No outsourcing partner who “just” focuses on machine learning or artificial intelligence would have the staff or knowledge to dive deep into your organization, help you map out your processes, work with you on improving your processes and make sure that the data they get is actually accurate. And what about legal issues? Are you even allowed to do this according to DSGVO? Does it touch governance issues? Who calculates if your project has actually an ROI? Who challenges this during the project while it might change scope? Who implements the solution with your team and supervises organizational changes?

If you are choosing the cheaper doctor-doctor model but secretly expect the patient-doctor model, you will be running the risk that the outsourcing company is doing an amazing job while at the same time your overall project was good for nothing.

In the following section we will look into the first part of the solutions, how we can solve these problems and in part four we will look into the second part of the solutions.

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