There’s an important, growing trend in the outsourcing industry: A move toward outsourcing locally by partnering with local firms that are specifically looking to support small and expanding businesses in the same community. This tends to make people feel better about outsourcing (since it’s still local in nature and helping two businesses in the same economic pool), while also giving small and mid-sized businesses access to managed services that they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to use. Here’s why that matters.
The Rise of “Boutique Collective.”
Back in 2016 studies began to note that outsourcing was, increasingly, divorced from “offshoring” when before the two words were frequently treated as synonyms. Instead, smaller service companies were growing by focusing on their own cities and marketing to businesses in their backyard. In the UK, this new wave of outsourcing was labeled the boutique collective.
The growth of the boutique collective was due to new demand created from growing availability of sophisticated data services. Startups and small companies were interested in using these data services – and in many cases needed these services to succeed in their competitive industries – but they lacked the knowledge of which services to pick, the contacts to help provide the services, and the pricing packages designed for businesses their size. Local outsource-focused providers rose up as an answer.
Ease of Contact and Communication
Obviously, there are several immediate benefits to hiring a local company for outsourcing, especially compared to offshoring. There’s no need to worry about language differences or different hours of operating when communicating. In-person meetings are much easier to arrange, especially on a more casual basis. Even culturally and economically, problems are easier to explain and understand when both partners are local. These benefits encourage companies to consider managed services when they previously wouldn’t have thought about outsourcing at all.
Allowing Startups to Play to their Strengths
This has always been a traditional benefit to outsourcing – removing a division that business had no efficiencies so that it could concentrate on its core operations and value offering. But it was an advantage startup found difficult to adopt due to the costs of outsourcing and uncertainty about growth. Boutique service firms are solving this issue by offering consultations aimed at small companies and targeting the specific services that new businesses need but rarely specialize in. This comes at a useful time for growing businesses that are beginning to make a major decision and hires for their expanding structures and departments.
Knowledge and Fulfillment of Compliance
In more complex industries, compliance is a serious concern for young companies, especially those that don’t have the best resources to draw on or the resources for a strong audit. Boutique outsourcing offers a deeper knowledge of regulations because of their local presence: This allows them to provide services tailored to meet specific compliance rules in healthcare, government contracts, and much more – not just on a national level, but on a city and state level as well. The market has plenty to offer when it comes to automated compliance services, but many smaller companies need someone to manage or host these services for them.
Tackling the Deeper Issues Behind the Cloud and Security
Companies are well aware of cloud storage and cloud sharing these days: What they are unsure about is exactly how those services will impact their operations, and that’s a smart attitude. Jumping into a cloud service without proper planning or research is a risky movie, especially if there are security concerns. So more startups are starting to ask, “Wait, do we need this particular capability? Is this compatible with our other tools? What sort of results do companies see from using this service?” Boutique service providers are well-placed to answer these questions and offer the right cloud services with data to show their real value.
Finding the Right Budget Early On
Smaller, local managed services can provide clear pricing guidelines and fee information on demand to interested clients. That may not seem like a big deal, but it can be very advantageous to young companies trying to make tricky budget decisions regarding subjects they don’t know much about. There’s a danger here that costs may spiral out of control as companies invest in hardware they won’t need in a couple years, or devote too much of the budget to new technology and not enough to keep that technology secure.
Boutique IT services help in two different ways. First, they allow smaller companies to switch early on (or at inception) to cloud services and outsourced tasks rather than buying expensive hardware with a shorter shelf life. Second, they can help companies form a budget that makes room for the necessary expenses, or at least provide opportunities to shift resources around to meet new targets by choosing what services should be outsourced. Both encourage greater budgetary flexibility.
Convergence of Services
Take a look around and you will notice that few of these local providers focus on only one department or type of service. Instead, they offer a variety of different options in a true “boutique” fashion, allowing clients to pick the services they need to form a customized package. These services include consultations, IT, security, cloud data management, and even specific services for different organizations such as NPOs. It’s a flexible approach that provides small companies with the choices they need without constraining them too much. Now small businesses don’t need to worry about what they are missing, and don’t need to fear to take too big a bite when first outsourcing.
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Local outsourcing can also revolutionize customer support, CRM, inventory management, insurance and much more. To find out how your Augusta area business can benefit, take a look at the services offered by Cross Link Consulting. If you see something that could help your business, you can contact us at (803) 279-1100 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.