Author Archives: Admin

About Admin

Ryan has joined the Manila Bulletin as business correspondent for two years before pursuing freelance writing works and blogging the next couple of years. After holding a short tech and gadgets writing position with an Australian TV program, he is now a full-time writer and content specialist with 7th Media Design Studio. Check him on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Google+.
  1. How to Achieve Scalability and Capture Cost Savings Opportunity with Big Outsource Solutions

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    Done right, outsourcing can help a business achieve its strategic objectives. However, some fail to see nor make the most out of their outsourcing investments. One reason: lack of understanding on how outsourcing can help grow their business.

    Sometimes, however, the fault lies in the outsourcing partner for not being transparent with their clients. Some overpromise the fruits clients will reap out of signing up an outsourcing contract, for instance.

    Can outsourcing really help companies achieve scalability and cost savings?

    What is Outsourcing

    So. Let’s be clear what outsourcing is and why.

    Outsourcing is when you let a third party (outside) company do the work instead of doing it in-house, for a fraction of the cost to pay a local worker.

    Some examples include: creating webpages or social media posts, taking inbound and outbound calls, hiring a digital marketing agency to handle your SEO, transcription and blog writing needs albeit the staff is doing the tasks remotely.

    When you are in Australia and you’re outsourcing some of your noncore business functions to a Filipino remote worker, the cost of getting the job done on time and quality at a minimal cost trumps other disadvantages one can think of against this solution.

    And whether you’re a startup founder or the CEO of an established company, you can get a lot of advantages out of outsourcing your business processes.

    Enter Big Outsource

    Like many outsourcing companies offering various services to companies in the U.S., Europe, and Australia, Big Outsource has been in the business for nearly a decade. WIth its expertise, technology and processes, it has been helping companies achieve growth through remote staff leasing, project-based outsourcing, and more that Big Outsource offers.

    Through outsourcing, companies achieve cost savings, which can be helpful for companies in improving capacity. Big Outsource ensures that even without a large number of new staff physically present beside you, its call center operators can conduct sales and other customer care services to reach your potential clients.

    Achieving scalability through outsourcing also means having an increased number of your fixed overhead without investing in development costs for noncore functions of your business nor leasing a large commercial space.

    Achieving Scalability through Outsourced Solution

    The outsourcing solutions Big Outsource offers to companies – whether startup or established ones – are designed to help their clients leverage outsourcing to scale.

    Take Dedicated Staffing, for instance. This solution suits small or medium companies with limited inhouse staff or team of experts for various aspects of the company. This is a cost-effective way to gain instant scale in areas like social media management, websiite management, call center support, or administrative processes where it would be costly or difficult to expand quickly.

    Project-based outsourcing is another solution offered by Big Outsource. To help our cilents scall faster, we encourage them to tap into the expertise of your outsourced staff that your own business lacks. We tell clients that Big Outsource hire applicants with hundreds of hours-experience and with the expertise, and that our clients can gain access to these expertise fast. it is too costly to get your inhouse team trained to be experts on a particular area but through outsourcing, you have a ready source of these expertise.

    At Big Outsource, we help our clients discover productivity issues that may be slowing down scalability internally. But since we respect that our clients want to create long-term value in their business and to satisfy their clients, we honestly tell them the importance of outsourcing their non-core business processes. Outsourcing the core business is risky and disruptions can bring companies down. So many real life business stories come to mind, such as Dell’s outsourcing story. The tech giant outsourced its core production in Asia but this came at a huge, huge price – unknowingly for this company, it was investing for the debut of new batch of competition.

    By outsourcing, you skipped some of the messy phases in development, such as trial-and-error learning that your service provider had already underwent to build the products you’re renting or buying from them. Outsourcing then lets you smartly skip th edevelopment costs and tap directly into systems in business that are already proven.

    Another way Big Outsource help our clients achieve scalability is through benefits derived from the investments we made out of enrolling our staff to trainings to keep them experts in their area of expertise.

    Lastly, the business of Big Outsource has been around for nearly a decade. This only proves we are still around over the last years of existence, which proves our reliability to continue to grow and mature over time.

    Finally, don’t just outsource without understanding the real cost of outsourcing, its advantages and requirements to succeed. If outsourcing will not lower your real cost, drop immediately any plan you have.

    For more ideas on outsourcing your business with us, inquire here.

  2. Should You Outsource from an Overseas BPO Company or Hire A Remote Worker?

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    We guess by now, other than costs, you’re quite familiar with a few pros and cons of outsourcing to a remote staff or overseas BPO company.

    But this article is not meant to convince you on what is the right or wrong way to outsource because there’s no ‘standard’ really to outsourcing.

    We’re here to help you decide on which option is the best for your company based on the advantages and disadvantages that we’ll tackle here.

    So sit back and relax, as we give you some of the common differences between hiring a remote staff and outsourcing from an established overseas staffing company.

    Advantages of Outsourcing from an Offshore BPO Company

    Cost. When you might get from an offshore outsourcing company the same work done locally for a quarter of the cost, or less, this is something of a game changer, isn’t it?

    Nevertheless, the burden of paying health insurance, week-long vacation leaves, and other remuneration will no longer bother you. Then, you could invest the cost savings for other operational expenses.

    There are, however, some opinions that suggest on the extra time outsourcing entails, such as the cost of managing and preparing an offshore project before you turn it over to the outsourced company.

    So you need to account these factors before signing an outsourcing agreement with an offshore firm.

    Commitment. Outsourcing offshore can free you up from signing up an employee for far longer period of time even when he or she has already accomplished the project or task. You’re eased off of paying the associated costs when you hire on a per project basis.

    Corporate Processes. In most cases, offshore companies which have been existing for a decade or two have already established a strong corporate culture, efficient work processes and the resources to scout, hire and train talent. When you hire from these companies, skills matching to your business needs will not be too difficult to achieve.

    Disadvantages of Outsourcing from an Offshore BPO Company

    Quality. Although hiring an offshore company would be a promising deal, quality-wise, there’s no 100% assurance that quality will be delivered, however. There are some factors why this is comes off as an often-complained of issue, such as language barrier, internet-based miscommunication, and how invested the employees are to your success.

    But in many established and experienced offshoring firm, the issue on quality has been addressed through the adoption of a couple of strategies to mitigate this risk. Some would even hire and send someone local to visit the offshore company and spend some time there as consultant and trainer of offshore staff.

    Language Barriers. Although Filipino workers are educated well in basic English – which has been mandatory in primary schools up to tertiary level education – there remains a few challenges. Relaying instructions for certain projects or tasks prove to be a hurdle when English is not the first language of the staff.

    Some industry-specific jargon or American slang may come lost in translation in some cases, but this is light considering how Filipinos embrace American culture like it is their own.

    Attrition Rate. The issue of workers leaving their work for bigger pay has been one of the persistent issues in the BPO industry, recent data, however, shows some positive developments.

    Many established outsourcing companies have learned this the hard way and now matured enough to address the issue with strategies geared to retain employees, such as giving employees more perks, bonuses, health and social benefits, and more.

    Advantages of Hiring a Remote Worker

    Cost. There’s no denying that there’s hefty cost savings from hiring a remote or home-based workers individually than singing up an agreement with an offshore virtual staffing company. There’s a clear cost advantages from no longer minding the legal cost of hiring a full-time staff from your area, such as expenses out of employee benefits and taxes.

    Access to Diverse Talent Pool. This is one of the big advantage from hiring a remote workers that are not from your area. Sometimes local employment pool may be limited only to what is your area’s focus industry, whereas you can find the right individual for your needs from anywhere across the world.

    In the Philippines, for instance, you can hire remote workers who are not only adept at producing impeccable graphic designs, motion graphics and superb outbound call center service. For a quarter of cost you pay a local employee from your area, you can find someone from Manila, Cebu or Southern Luzon a virtual staff who can manage social media presence or blog for your business.

    Efficiency and Productivity Advantage. Entrepreneurs operating a 24-hour business, the idea of having an international worker provide customer support by the time the locals in your area are having their breakfast in the morning sounds appealing. Managing your remote staff efficiently albeit time zone differences can prove to be helpful in impressing to your customers your care and consideration for their needs.

    Disadvantages of Hiring a Remote Worker

    No Meet-up in Person. There’s a pretty big chance you held your interview with your remote worker via Skype. You let your prospective independent contractor tell you about his previous works, asked about the software he or she uses and strategy behind SEO, but that will never get you as far as knowing other crucial things about the employee.

    There are instances that you will need/want your staff, in a physical sense. Not just for anything fancy or what. But come to think about the times when you need to have your staff during company meetings or grand scale corporate events.

    For some companies, they try as much as possible to book a flight to visit their VA or remote contractor for quite sometimes. Others, with bigger budget get to the point of bringing their VA over their home countries.

    Reliability. Some remote staff are not home runs and can simply disappear without you being informed of their plans or whereabouts. This can be undeniably frustrating when you’re about to launch a client website or have to have someone fix a grammatical lapse on your Facebook brand page.

    There is no assurance of complete availability from a work-at-home worker. This does not mean that your staff have to be present or available for 24 hours to be there for your needs. It just means that your staff may be juggling multiple works similar with yours and they may not be focused to you – and you alone.

    Another challenge to consider when you have an independent contract worker employed come in logistical terms – when you need your staff at a time when they wouldn’t be in their best shape to work – middle of the night.

    Communication Barriers. Poor communication habits or low English-language proficiency can hamper the success rate of your project for yourself or your client. Always remember that when your remote staff only uses English as a second language, be prepared to encounter a few debacles translating some instructions about a particular task.

    Being proficient in English is not enough to understand some subtleties and complexities associated with Australian’s or American slang, and without discounting from the equation some industry-specific business jargon.

    Then there is also the challenge of the local knowledge that an overseas worker will not have as when you have a staff in your own room or building. Since your remote staff have never been ‘there’ with you in your community or country, some tasks that you will assign may come off too late, if not slower.

    The Deciding Factor

    As an entrepreneur you want the absolute best of your business. To seize every advantage there is to outsourcing, it is best to base your decision on the current stage you are in with your organization.

    If you’re just starting a new company, it can be helpful to have a remote staff doing some virtual assisting you in your daily operations. This can also be particularly helpful for tasks that demand hours and hours of repetitions, even if you’re already grown. Some of these tasks do not require extremely skilled employees to complete.

    So the rule of thumb though is to have a list of what job you will outsource to your overseas staff or outsourced BPO company. Ask yourself whether the job you will outsource is something that you deemed best done in your office or building or not.

    There’s simply no right or wrong thing way to hiring overseas workers for your startup or your business.

    What you deem is the best for you should be your criteria when choosing to outsource. Whatever your reason, think a hundred or thousand times over if it is cost savings you are after or quantity, quality or long-term sustainability.

    Some overseas companies like Big Outsource, which has been around in this business for years, offers some flexible, affordable and reliable solutions for companies seeking a quality BPO company.

    We hope that you’ll let us know your own experience so we can tell you ours to help you make up your mind about what outsourcing option is the right way to go for your business.

  3. Philippine BPO Revenues Seen Growing Amid Trump Policies

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    There’s no stopping the Philippine business process outsourcing sector from growing steadily amid threats that the United States is about to enter a protectionist regime under US President Donald J. Trump.

    It is estimated that 70 percent of the Philippine BPO sector is comprised of US accounts. And ING Bank Asia chief economist Tim Condon said 33 percent of the Philippines’ foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow came from the US since 2005. FDI reached a high of 61 percent in 2014 to a low of 17 percent in 2006.

    The economist from the Dutch financial giant issued that while the Philippines is “the most exposed country, excluding Japan, to a Trump shock to US outsourcing”, growth in the BPO sector will still grow to mid-single digits in the coming years.

    “We expect the growth of outsourcing exports to settle in the mid-single digits in the medium term,” he said.

    Trump Policies

    Following the inauguration of US President Trump in January, he reportedly would like to impose a “very major” border tax on companies that would move operations offshore.

    President Trump, who met with business leaders in the US for help, wanted to revive the glory days of US manufacturing sector. Condon said ING believes Trump wants the US manufacturing industry during his regime to reach a renaissance, which in effect could boost the strength of the US dollar.

    President Trump also signed a memorandum pulling the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

    While removing the US from the TPP can affect bigger economies who are part of the deal, the Philippines stands to benefit from this move.

    Capitol Economics, a London-based economic research firm, noted that the Philippines and other Asian countries that will affected by the failure of TPP are the beneficiaries for the success of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) instead.

    These countries – the Philippines, Thailand and South Korea – would have seen their growth prospects falter if the TPP triggered the formation of regional supply chains which excluded them, according to the Capitol Economics report titled, “How Big a Blow is the Demise of the TPP to Asia?” published in January 24. shows that RCEP will group ASEAN and six other countries in the region with which it has existing regional FTAs. These include Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. There is an ongoing negotiation to form RCEP.

    The head of the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s economic team already expressed interest to seek membership in the planned Asean and China-led free trade agreement (FTA) while abandoning inclusion in the TPP.

    BPO Growth in the Coming Years

    In 2015, the country’s BPO sector’s revenues – including income from information technology an other outsourcing revenues – generated an estimated $22 billion. The figure through September reflected a 10.9-percent growth from the previous year, Condon said.

    However, in the 2022 Roadmap of the IT-Business Processing Association of the Philippines (iBPAP), the country’s outsourcing sector is seen generating $40 billion in revenues. The iBPAP also predicts direct and indirect jobs reaching 7.6 million, 500,00 jobs outside of the National Capital Region, and cover 15 percent of the total global outsourcing market by the end of 2022.

    Other threats include rising office rentals and rising cost of internet and electricity services, according to property consulting firm Colliers Philippines in a separate report.

    According to the research from Colliers, advancement in automation will not be sufficient to replace human resource. Hence, automation and IT-BPM could grow together in bettering their services to companies which outsource.

    ING Bank forecasts the Philippines gross domestic product (GDP) will grow to 6.6 percent at the end of the current year, whereby first quarter growth will likely hit 6.2 percent and second quarter growth at 6.1 percent.

    Condon remarked that the GDP growth will be driven mainly by domestic consumption, overseas Filipino workers (OFW) remittances, and the BPO sector. A major factor to this growth, according to ING, is the accelerated infrastructure projects of the Duterte administration.

    BPO Revenues to Outpace OFW Remittances by 2018 – ING Bank
    PH Outsourcing Revenue Growth Seen Slowing
    PH to Benefit if TPP Falters Says Economic Research Firm

  4. Staff Retention in Philippine BPO Industry is Improving – Survey

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    Less employees working in the business processes outsourcing (BPO) sector in the Philippines are reportedly quitting their job due to improved conditions.

    It has been reported that from 70 percent attrition rate in the IT-BPM sector, the figure is now down to 50%, the Manila Bulletin reported in August 2016.

    Among companies seeking to outsource in the Philippine BPO sector, high staff turnover rate is a big letdown.

    But this improvement is seen as a continuation of previous surveys on the attrition rate in the outsourcing sector.

    A case in point is the 2015 survey by global professional services firm Towers Watson, which revealed that the 20 percent drop in the attrition rate in the Philippine BPO sector reflected the lowest ever since 2007.

    In 2011, the BPO sector registered 33 percent attrition rate while this reached 24 percent the following year.

    Sourcing Outside NCR

    Many experts claimed that the Philippine BPO industry are adopting strategies to keep their employees.

    According to Towers Watson (Philippines) global services practice head Vangie Daquilanea, companies are learning new strategies in talent acquisition.

    Daquilanea added BPO companies are expanding their local operations outside the National Capital Region (NCR).

    Today, it is not impossible to see BPO companies sourcing high-value talents from the provinces like Cebu, Davao, and Southern Luzon. In effect, this movement has affected the attrition activity in the Metropolitan Manila.

    Higher Salaries, Other Factors

    Another possible reason why outsourcing employees are staying with their companies – apart from training, government support and continuous education – is the increased salaries.

    According to Towers Watson, many BPO companies reward high performing employees while non-performers are given zero to less increases. For these companies, using Performance Matrix emphasize compensation principle of paying for performance.

    Unlike employees from other sectors, employees working in the BPO sector enjoy compensation mix which promises high guaranteed compensation.

    There are other Philippine BPO employees who receive a minimal annual performance bonus, which is equivalent to 1 to 1.5 months’ pay.

    BPO companies also allot budgets for the health and wellness of their employees. The Towers Watson survey revealed how employees in this industry are well-taken cared of by their employers.

    Employees in the outsourcing sector are usually offered as perks stress/risk assessment programs, health screening, counselling, fitness competitions, and smoking cessation programs.

    Another interesting observation has been how young people are exploring new career paths in the same sector.

    Beefing Up BPO Employees of the Future

    Benedict Hernandez, chairman and president of the Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP), stressed the importance of continuous education to help upgrade skills and build capabilities of BPO employees.

    In the past, the business processes outsourcing (BPO) sector is only known for the following services it provide foreign companies: data entry, directory assistance, and call center outsourcing.

    A lot has changed in the country’s outsourcing sector over the years, especially on how services are offered to offshore companies.

    Today, Philippine outsourcing firms can confidently offer middle to higher-value services, including data analytics, infrastructure technology, social media marketing and more.

    Other developments include the expansion of what the voice segment of BPO entails in the late 1990s. Today, voice segment include email, chat, social media, multi-channel and omni-channel support.

    More recently, there has also been a bigger emphasis on giving improved lead generation, customer loyalty and retention, and increasing sales revenues through data analytics, and the likes.

    An IT-BPM Roadmap 2022 by Frost & Sullivan confirmed this development, as it predicted how voice tasks will continue to fall by 28 percent while mid-skilled tasks will see a dramatic surge by 7 percent.

    Companies offering complex services that require high-skilled tasks gets to enjoy the surge in demand for these category.

    Frost & Sullivan predicted a 48 percent rise in demand for high-skilled tasks.

    This roadmap showed that a mere 16.6 percent ($166 billion) of the $1-trillion sourceable work across the globe have been outsourced.

    Out of this outsourcing pie, the Philippine outsourcing providers account for $22 billion. Up this date, the Philippines remains the top global destination for outsourced voice services.

    Under the 2012-2016 roadmap, the country’s IT-BPM sector eyed for $25 billion in revenues and 1.3 million jobs. According to the roadmap, the voice sector accounts for 70 percent of the country’s IT-BPM industry.


    Why staff turnover in Philippine BPO industry is falling

  5. How Does Hiring A Virtual Assistant Leads to Maximum Productivity

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    One of the common reasons why entrepreneurs hire virtual assistant is to get more clients. Rarely or it is an often-neglected reason that businessmen outsource to get more works done faster. Thinking more deeply, increased productivity means more clients, and more clients can lead to more profit.

    Here’s why. When entrepreneurs have more time to focus on what’s important for the success of their business, there’s an even greater chance for their businesses to grow. Hence, hiring a virtual employee does increase your productivity. With this guide, we will help you determine the exact kind of tasks you should delegate to your virtual assistant for maximum productivity.

    But before hiring a virtual assistant to help reach your sales target, remember that your business is made up of two major functions: your core and auxiliary. As well as keeping your business going these two functions – operations or tasks – help you overcome the challenges of running a business to survive.

    Core Functions: These are functions that you ought not neglect plus it is where your involvement as the proprietor is badly needed. Most often, entrepreneurs work round the clock attending to these functions and gives the impression that they seem are accomplishing so many things.

    From among many startups, it is common to find them having the following core functions: marketing, product or service creation, product development, and client follow-up. It’s noticeable no functions can simply be neglected or dismissed outright because of their contribution to the prospect of your business surviving the debacles of running a business.

    Auxiliary Functions: Not only these functions drive business success, they’re also the ones that left unattended to could spell disaster to your startup and growing enterprise. In principle, auxiliary functions are inseparable to your core functions.

    Some experts compare auxiliary functions to the body of a car that any businessman shouldn’t simply dismiss or the whole venture will fail miserably in terms of attractiveness.

    For marketing, traditional marketing tactics no longer sticks that much. There must be new channels that marketers should seize to maximize reach and double your sales. Its auxiliary function could be social media management. Being inactive in either Facebook and Twitters is not an option for the busy entrepreneur.

    In the area of product creation, it involves more than implementing the idea that you originally thought of, sketched or jotted down your journal. Research is vital as well as knowing if the market is ready for your product idea. While the auxiliary functions of product development (e.g., research) is related to product creation, there is a difference as this function requires customer feedback (e.g., emails, forums, Facebook page comments, etc.).

    So it really is important to focus on the core functions of your business while getting the help of a virtual assistant to do the rest for you. Now, let’s proceed to the how-to part of delegating your non-core functions which prevent you from concentrating to the core areas of your business.

    1. Start Work on Your Next Product/Service. As you may already know and have realized, creating products is not child’s play. As much as it’s exciting to bring out a product that solves problems, you should be careful about releasing something that has not been backed by solid research.

    Take into account the market research data obtained by your virtual assistant from social networks and forums. To ensure that you and your virtual assistant are in the same page, create and share a real-time spreadsheet like Google Sheet with your VA and let her update it with information he or she obtained so it becomes easy for you to access data and collaborate.

    2. Create A Product/Service That Will Wow Clients. Competition is tough and surviving the market forces entails that you have a product or service that your clients would find irresistible because of the quality and uniqueness. To avoid running out of clients, strive to bring new ways to improve your service or the quality of your product. One way to do so is by considering the feedback given by clients regarding what you have to offer to your market.

    To make this possible, let your virtual assistant gain access to your spreadsheet via Google Drive. Through this, you can then give your virtual assistant the task of sorting the feedback and recommendations from your clients, in turn helping you hasten the process of pooling suggestions, feedbacks to improve your next product or service.

    3. Write Blogs Using the Inputs By Your Virtual Assistant. You will write faster and write the right content your readers expect from you if you will tap the help of your virtual assistant. Research-based blogs are what readers feel matters or are important to them, especially if your blog responds or offer feasible solutions.

    To maximize the help you can obtain from your virtual assistant, simply give him or her complete access to your blog so while you create the content, your VA can respond to comments.

    By hiring a virtual assistant, you’d surely get a lot more productive when you focus on your business’ core side. Not only it is less stressful if you have outsourced the tasks to a competent and reliable virtual assistant, you also need not worry about getting your sales target doubled in due time. All you have to do is take action and make your outsourcing investment pay off.

  6. How to Communicate Effectively With A Virtual Assistant

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    Just imagine how working well with your virtual assistant would benefit you: getting more things done, return on outsourcing investing, and more. Doing the contrary, like disregarding all the vital approaches to managing your virtual employees well would definitely spell doom.

    Because when you ignore the tell-tale signs of managing your virtual assistant well, there’s definitely some pricey cost to pay: missed targets and costly outsourcing investing. Believe it or not, you’ll feel like you’re cursed. And of all the important approaches outsourcing sages would advise you, here’s something worth making your priority: constant communication.

    Before we start, let’s discuss what it takes when starting a virtual relationship

    Early steps are often challenging but crucial to an effective relationship. The getting-to-know phase is difficult but all the awkwardness and hesitations must be overcome first to two weeks working together. As is often the case, it is the boss who must step up and make the initial move of easing the air of discomfort.

    Since working with your virtual employees is demanding – from ensuring that your communication lines are open all the time to talking constantly with them – we’d like to offer some guidelines on communicating well with your virtual assistant every waking hours of your life.

    1. Encourage Open Communication.

    The assignments you give to your remote employee could be relationship starter. It is through the tasks you give that regular communication and exchange of views can be performed inevitably.

    Start calling her or him over the phone or through Skype or Google Hangout because of its video capabilities. But you can also send text messages either through Viber or Line. Emails and file sharing can also be used to give instructions as well as encourage free exchange of views and opinions on work-related matters.

    Do this until both you and your virtual staff are comfortable working with each other. The more comfortable you feel, the more that you could readily suggest time-saving work systems or raise potential issues at hand.

    2. Set-up A Regular Meeting Schedule.

    Others might find holding a regular meeting unimportant. But considering how an hour or less setting up a regular meeting with your virtual worker every week could help make things done fast, specify deadlines, expectations, articulate your brand story and vision and the likes.

    Use your regular weekly or monthly meeting to draw out your team’s strategies, plans, assessment and evaluation on things. This meeting is also a good way to motivate and boost your employee’s morale. You can also use such meeting to orient staff about your core competencies, products and attack on things vital to your growth and success.

    Above all, meetings help establish trust between and among your virtual workers and to the leadership. The more that trust is built early on, the more that the staff would deliver their best in the performance of their functions. This could be daily, twice or thrice a week or monthl or depending on your case. An end of the week meeting looks ideal though.

    3. Choose the Mode of Communication Wisely.

    What kind of communication channel or line you choose when working with your virtual assistant is critical in forging a relationship. No communications, instructions or messages must come vague or unclear when relayed to your staff. No meanings or words must be lost in translation.

    Formal or informal? Strike a balance where your approach will thread when communicating with your virtual staff. Being too formal may seem awkward at some point and might be perceived as being too stern or unapproachable. Changing the tone to something more accommodating could prove helpful to allow open communication.

    There is no way your virtual staff should feel his ideas or feedback are not being entertained. Make the first effort to make your employee feel comfortable whether in flagging a critical issue or asking a question.

    4. Create Shared Systems.

    Offline and online tools becoming more and more accessible for personal and enterprise users, make the most out of these shared records when dealing with your virtual staff. Initiate such shared systems once your working relationship starts.

    But one thing that’s very important when sharing your vital information to your staff is ensuring trust. Early on both you and your VA must understand what’s at stake when you let your virtual assistant gain access to your Dropbox folder containing your credit card numbers and passwords to just about anything you manage to keep your business running.

    You will also need to share your projects list – both old, ongoing and upcoming – with your virtual assistant. Sharing the list would be a very convenient way for both of you to store updates and feeback, as well as priorities and deadlines.

    5. Reward Skills.

    Whether it’s a specific expression of praise or doling out a gift to a job well done, experts agree that such tokens of appreciation really improve employee productivity and increases loyalty. Laud your virtual assistant for a carefully-worded Facebook fan page status and you’ll see him or her feeling more motivated. In fact, employees often work better when they feel that their work is appreciated.

    Remember that communicating constantly with your remote staff enhances your relationship with your virtual assistant. Follow the guidelines above to improve your relationship with your virtual staff and make more things get done.

  7. More Australian Firms Seen Outsourcing IT Works

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    “Outsourcing has officially arrived,” declares Forbes Magazine’s Eric Wagner.

    To believe or not his declaration, Wagner just couldn’t be more authoritative when it is Peter Drucker, the legendary management guru, he is referencing here. Drucker once envisioned a future (“Next Society”) where everything will be outsourced.

    The Next Society could already be happening now or in the coming years ahead. But still what’s certain, we’ll get there when we get there. To the uninitiated, Wagner introduces Drucker as “a man with a seriously keen eye for business” whose insights apply to all entrepreneurs everywhere.

    These Next Society’s corporations may have already arrived, particularly among Australia’s business sector. An ITNewcom survey of 60 executives at top IT spenders in Australia revealed some glowing insights about outsourcing.  There are now 75 per cent of organizations that are already outsourcing some of their software applications, while 85 per cent outsource some of their infrastructure.

    The outsourcing trend shows no sign of abating and will continue to increase in the forthcoming future. A benchmarking and sourcing consultant, ITNewcom further notes that 43 per cent of those interviewed express plans to outsource their software development services and 40 per cent intend to send to offshore vendors more of their infrastructure.

    Arrangements with their existing outsourcing provider are also likely to see massive changes within the next two years. Out of the total, there will only be 22 percent of the public sector organizations and 29 per cent of private organizations who will retain their current outsourcing mix, according to ITNewcom.

    There are 39 per cent of public sector agencies who are reportedly looking at outsourcing some of their application needs, according to ITNewcom.

    At the back of the growing popularity of outsourcing as a viable and logical part of IT operations by many in the industry, it also has received some bad raps and fierce public outcry that jobs are being migrated abroad. The source of much of the public reaction stemmed from the misconceptions and myth-making campaigns by some sectors who are opposed to outsourcing.

    Outsourcing is viewed by Australian business leaders as a path that could provide them many benefits. Among the three cited reasons why outsourcing is an attractive business proposition include the following: 1) access to resources not otherwise locally available, 2) cost reduction, and 3) ability to increase output on demand.

    Observers consider Australia with a mature information and communications technology market, where outsourcing comes as a smart business strategy to take. An analyst at Gartner finds outsourcing a growing trend than insourcing or bringing IT jobs back into the company. Given the general business climate of Australia, there are only very few large-scale moves to bring their IT responsibilities back in-house.

    Going back to insourcing is typically costly and a disruptive step. These alone prompts organizations not to hasten decisions to return back to inshoring as such move is not to be taken lightly. Not certainly an overwhelming strategy, insourcing does not work for some organizations.

    The move to return to insourcing are often the result an overhauling of organizational philosophy away from outsourcing. Some cited leadership change or the bad experience that some organizations have had with their outsourcing contract.

  8. Lessons to Derive from the Outsourcing Rationales of Australian companies

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    Cost reduction is often reported as the main driver in the rise of outsourcing in Australia. Yet the reality gives a more revealing answer why Australian organizations send some of their business functions offshore.

    An Australian BPO Report 2012 by Outsource UK has cited numerous reasons why major Australian organizations outsource.

    There is now a shift from pure cost-cutting to improved efficiency and to strategic transformation  cited as reasons companies decide to outsource. An IBM Growth Markets director said that outsourcing is beginning to take an important part of business strategy.”

    The rapid pace of change and maturity in the way companies do business today contribute to the decision-making process of organizations who outsource. Hence, Australia’s senior business community are looking to get higher-order benefits out of outsourcing.

    According to the report, among the benefits that sending business functions offshore include: improved financial flexibility, strengthened customer satisfaction, increased market penetration, expansion into emerging markets, seize the opportunities offered by a freer global economy.

    We highlight some revealing points of the report. Here are a few:

    • Contact centre and customer service functions, both belonging to the customer service functions, are not among the top three of the most outsourced services. The top three are: Printing/Document Management (18%), Human Resources (15%), and Finance & Accounting (13%).
    • HR outsourcing is expected to grow to 23% in the next 12 to 24 months (report was published in January 2012).
    • There is an expected upturn in outsourcing marketing processes including CRM (or Customer Relationship Management). CRM will jump by 21% among companies who are already outsourcing element of this business function.
    • Outsourcing online marketing services will see massive growth from 6 to 17%, showing that this marketing processes is getting hotter and an opportunity waiting to be seized by organizations offering these kinds of services.
    • Cloud services will continue to emerge as a hot button trend in the coming years. The report shows that 35% (or quite a large number) of organizations are now considering cloud computing when making the decision to outsource.
    • There are around 15% of organizations who have adopted cloud computing at an enterprise level in light of their outsourcing strategy.

    So what do we gain out of this report? Now that many Philippine outsourcing firms are servicing many Australian organizations in the last two years or so, the challenges remain astounding and plenty.

    Yes, the Philippines has been declared unanimously as the world’s call centre capital. And for the record, most cities in the country are making waves in most surveys about the Philippines’ attractiveness as an outsourcing destination for various industries, such as IT, game application development, back-office and administrative functions, and more.

    For its part, outsourcing companies just have set its sight in capturing some of the more sophisticated, high-level business functions. To really offer these higher-value services, outsourcing companies would need to make some important decisions and investments on the levers of business transformation that we know – people, technology and process.

    The increasing demand to offer services up in the value chain of business need to be filled. That’s one spot that the Philippines can take advantage of. The country has a rich pool of university-educated, highly-skilled workers who can do much more than their Asian peers. Companies who realized the growth spots have also invested in process and technology, which along with people are know as levers of business transformation.



    Martin Conboy. Cost not the driver of Australian outsource rise. May 11, 2012.

  9. Business Process Outsourcing Solutions to Watch by Year 2016

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    Australian companies wishing to control operational costs often resort to an offshore service providers who perform their administrative or non-strategic support functions. The modern business is evolving and business process outsourcing or BPO is quite the latest business practice darling known for giving businesses the strategic support they need to be competitive.

    Trends to watch in BPO

    According to Gartner, a world-leading information technology research and advisory thinktank, up to $9.5-Billion will be spent on business process outsourcing by the year 2016 in the Pacific and Asian regions. Australia was cited as the largest market for BPO in 2011, piling in $4.6-Billion, which technically made this commonwealth nation’s market share even bigger than that of India and China.

    Plunkett, another global market watchdog, issued in a report called Outsourcing and Offshoring Industry Trends and Statistics 2013, that the global outsourcing markets will exceed $480-Billion in the year 2013.

    Cost remains the biggest cited factor for outsourcing but there are also commanding boom in market industries like Information Technology, Banking and Finance, Retail, Travel, and Communications in Australia due to quality factors.

    Factors that Influence the Use of Offshoring BPO

    As a way to approach business, the use of BPO by small and big companies are driven by several key factors. They are:

    • BPO services are often scalable and offer flexible options to businesses
    • Diverse, reputable companies offering wide-scale BPO offerings and service levels
    • Assured quality goods and services due to improved processes and infrastructure
    • Improved productivity over reduced liability and less-pressure of business management
    • Competition and increasing call to expand globally which demands for more workers
    • Talent shortage

    Business Process Outsourcing Service Types to Consider

    What you need right now or in the next couple of years will be dependent on several factors. However, we would like to cite some of the ideal business process outsourcing solutions that you can seek from Australian BPO support providers like Big Outsource. Here are the following that will be highly in demand:

    Bookkeeping and FinancialCertain financial matters can be outsourced to an offshore provider from the preparation of the business payroll to simple to complex tax audits. Outsourcing to a BPO provider this aspect of business can help generate more revenues for your business and give you more edge in dealing with your financial matters.

    Virtual Management – Especially for startups, certain non-strategic business functions can be delegated or sent offshore as you grow your business, especially to meet customer and business demands. Hiring an executive management team member under a business process outsourcing provider contract can remove the pressure off business owners and allow them to focus on the important side of their business.

    Customer Service – As companies see the bigger picture of operating and maintaining their own in-house customer service department – time consuming and costly – outsourcing customer service continue to appeal as a viable option. In fact, it is one of the most popular BPO support side that companies are sending to offshore service providers.

    IT Support – As the search for the best IT professionals who are equipped with up-to-date skillsets and right qualifications become more and more challenging, some companies find success by hiring a virtual worker through a business process outsourcing provider. Programmers, mobile app developers, digital platform development professionals will be highly valuable and in demand and they will push for the growth of offshore BPO in the near future.

    The foreseeable future may be few years from now but the evidence are clear: companies globally searching for quality workforce from business process outsourcing providers will continue to rise. What’s best to do now is to have a regular progressive evaluation of business needs and requirements.