Global Outsourcing, A Growing Phenomenon

11 January 2010 | Industry Update, Provider Advice | admin

Global outsourcing experts expect growth of 8% for 2009 outsourcing operations as Service Buyers continue to favour smaller service contracts. Analyst house Gartner forecasts the ITO and BPO industries to return to a healthy level of growth during the 2010 fiscal year.The smaller project size often results in splitting service contracts between Service Providers in several countries. The shift from large high-value deals is the primary cause of the 50% drop in the value of BPO and ITO contracts in 2008.

Offshore expenditures in the United States is 3X higher than Western Europe, however the gap is closing. Indian providers continue to capture a larger portion of the market share and encompassing 40% and 60% BPO and ITO for US & Europe markets respectively. Service Buyer BPO maintains a priority for increasing ROI. In most situations, firms outsource the processes that are redundant or fall outside core business operations. HR (human resources) outsourcing is an area that has grown significantly in popularity; according to a study, SMEs lose 25% of operational efficiency as a result of in-house HR operations.

By outsourcing HR, firms can capitalize and allocate in-house staff time towards high ROI functions and developing core competencies (ROI-emphasis). The savings achieved with outsourcing include cost savings in office space, tax remittances, salaries payments, staff benefits, holiday pay, and staff training.

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Service Buyers and Providers at uFathom – Advantage All

11 January 2010 | About uFathom, uFathom Information | admin

Service Buyers

The Service Buyer is defined as the party that outsources operations and places an RFP (request for proposal) for 3rd party BPO services. The primary motivation includes a desire to cut costs, mitigate business liabilities, increase market share and increase service variety offered to clients.

Service Providers

The Service Provider is defined as the party that submits a proposal on a client project. The Service Buyers is expected to submit a bid against five other competing Specialists.

Service Buyers can obtain a high ROI with the following BPO service activities:

–         Administrative Assistants

–         Affiliate Marketers

–         Copywriters , Technical Writers and Translators

–         Telemarketers

–         Transcribers

–         Web Designers and Software Programmers

–         Virtual Assistants

Conversely, a Service Provider can use uF to find projects that match skills, and find part-time, full-time, single contract or commission based projects. uF will assist with finding the ideal job category that suits User preference. Freelance Service Providers can submit proposals and work on client projects leaving the comfort of home.

In summary, uF will provide the perfect platform for both Service Providers as well as Service Buyers that seek all offshore and highly specialized areas of expertise.

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Offshoring and Outsourcing Advantages – Buyers Perspective

07 January 2010 | Buyer Advice, Industry Update | admin

The use of BPO services business model is not a decision a Service Buyer makes solely on location or geographic proximity. Strategic decisions for location sourcing will be based on end requirements, including complexity, quality requirements, available budget and financial resource allocation. Generally, a Service Buyer engaged in the offshoring process will assess the quality of domestic education, and technological infrastructure prior to sourcing a business requirement to a particular region.

Home-shore (national) and near-shore (continental) offshoring solutions can offer the advantages of cultural compatibility, linguistic similarity and similar time-zones. Service Providers located offshore (global offshoring) operate during various time-zones, varied quality of service, frequently deliver a higher level of service and can allow 24/7 working advantage for Service Providers (project turnover is completed at night and ready for the following day).

Home-shoring and continental outsourcing solutions also offers Service Buyers benefits of efficient knowledge transfer, similar cultural features, understanding of client requirements and processes and can rely on established technological infrastructure. Continental outsourcing is an effective stepping stone for deploying a full scale, multi-sourcing business operation.  Global outsourcing leverages a blend of in-house, near-shoring and offshoring solutions for a strategic business model with “follow-the-sun” flexibility.

Outsourcing to a different geographic region can be an effective risk management solution with the use of disaster recovery centers. The back-up will allow businesses to smoothly continue operations, despite a major disturbance at a primary information location. Furthermore, global outsourcing allows consolidation of services and operational efficiencies across borders. A single global delivery center can take care of the order management system for an entire global enterprise, where traditional business models would require over 30 centers.

Global outsourcing adds flexibility for corporate decision-making and operations. Businesses are not constrained with outdated business models; rather businesses can evolve and meet new challenges. Simultaneously, firms will benefit from the consistency and quality of services provided.

Strategic business objectives frequently include gain-sharing arrangements, defined by SLAs (service level agreements). In otherwords, the Service Provider income from a potential project will be dependent on the key metrics of Service Buyer profit margin. The SLA allows Service Buyers and Service Providers mutually benefit from achieving project objectives.

Transformational outsourcing is another process that can result with corporate gains from optimizing and simplifying complex business processes and creating value-added benefits.

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BPO and Outsourcing Trends

07 January 2010 | About uFathom, Industry Update, uFathom Information | admin

uF targets primary market of firms that buy or provide offshore business services. The offshore market perceived as the highest growth area of SME outsourcing growth is the market niche for uF.

In 2009, Gartner expects competition for outsourcing deals, particularly for standardised ITO services, to be fierce. Service Buyers will be lured by low prices from Service Providers trying to achieve quarterly revenue goals or strengthen market share.

Gartner’s Outsourcing Contract Database has suggested 76% of the contracts announced in 2008 were new contracts; the remaining percentage was a combination of contract extensions, expansions or renewals.

Out of the $35-37USD billion offshore BPO market in 2008, India remained the leading offshore destination with a 35% market share.

The Philippines barely has 1/10, but represented a healthy 15% share of the BPO market. The country has emerged as a key destination for English-based work especially for the North American market.  Growing at 46% annually since 2004, the $6.8USD billion Philippines’ offshore market employs over 450,000 people; mostly for voice-based services.

Tholons Advisory, Investments and Consulting have observed the following trends for 2009 will shape ITO, BPO and KPO (knowledge process outsourcing) business services during 2009:

1. The market downturn had a substantial impact on BPO providers during the first 3 quarters of 2009.
2. Global economic downturn will lead to increased outsourcing with healthcare, education, retail, telecom and legal process outsourcing (LPO).
3. Foreign governments have made special initiatives each respective country as an appealing offshore business destination.
4. Service Buyers continued to increase the number of outsourcing locations utilized depending on strengths of the educated populace.
5. Downward pressure has resulted in reduced rates, however has also increased the cost savings due to higher productivity.
6. Consolidation occurred for small players as focus shifts away from large deals.
7. Outsourcing revival by 2009 end – driven by small to mid-sized (SME) clients.
8. Strong focus on innovation, R&D and technology adoption will be the key differentiators for providers.
9. Outsourcing contracts are increasing in size again and reaching a new medium.

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Cultural Barriers in Outsourcing Industry

05 January 2010 | Buyer Advice, Industry Update | admin

Culture is one of the major barriers of successful offshore outsourcing. The cultural barriers should be dealt with in an understanding to succeed in offshore outsourcing. A brief look at the cultural and business practice shows that western countries like USA and UK adopt individualistic approach while Latin America and Asia follow collective culture. It also highlights that western countries work with short term orientation while Asian countries work with long term orientation. Even the perception differs as westerners perceive objects in isolation with a sharp focus and narrow lens while Easterners cognize it holistically with wide angle lens. The cultures in the East follow compare and contrast style and easterners are sensitive to criticism and very often lack the capability to negate. Westerners adopt directness of criticism and communicate deviously with implied meaning and though the differences can be dissolved through communication and understanding, it does play an important role to creating a successful freelancing business.

The differences in culture have an effect on interactions between parties and how they communicate and the interpretation of their communications. It also has an impact on the understanding of the project and commitment to work. To work with people of other geographical region, initiative is needed to gain more understanding with willingness to adjust and convert it into action.

Providers and buyers have to make a conscious effort and display patience to achieve cultural awareness in behavior.  Human beings have two systems in their mind, one is intuitive part and the other is reflective part.  The factors of native culture is registered in system one. When another new culture is learned it is registered in system two. The intuitive part that is system one naturally predominates the self. To effectively overcome the cultural barrier, one has to make a conscious effort to practice the new culture of the other persons he is interacting. Changes needed to adapt to the other culture has to be learnt and practiced.

The necessary change of individual thinking has to be made to understand the principles of culture. Every culture has unique perspective to help in eliminating the problems. Instead of being judgmental, it is better to be open without prejudice and accept it to bring in better results

The purpose to understand and to overcome cultural barriers is to produce an congenial environment to extract the best in a cost and time effective manner. The highlight in working across cultural barriers is to establish a comfortable communication channel and allow and encourage freedom of thoughts and expressions. In popular outsourcing destinations such as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, organizational hierarchy is in force and management people make decisions and the team follows it. This practice prevents providers from initiating healthy discussions with superiors and problems do not get voiced and so are stretches in deadlines. Buyers from western countries should be aware of the fact that if the eastern provider agrees passively he or she may not have voiced important issues. It is the responsibility of the buyer to create an environment to establish open communication. It is important to give freedom and delegate autonomy for a success in outsourcing industry be it as a provider or a buyer.

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uFathom BPO Live November 15, 2009

04 January 2010 | News | admin

uFathom BPO provides an online platform for the service buyers and providers to meet under a secure moderated environment.

On November 15, 2009 launches its portal for job providers and service providers to get serious with global outsourcing market. It is a space for buyers and providers across the globe to service their requirements through a well designed portal covering every aspect of virtual service environment.

The World Wide Web has made job providers and service providers meet and exchange projects and receive money fast and easily across the globe. Harvard business school scholars pointed out that the successful business trend of twenty first century would be by individuals with computers and internet rather than huge companies. uFathom aims to ride on this fact through Transparent communications, data interchange and transfer of money to make outsourcing job simple, comfortable.

uFathom understands the virtual services market and caters to niche services in addition to in-demand services. Few of  the services are technical areas such as software programming, website design & programming, mobile phone application, social networking application, data base development, enterprise systems, technical support, help desk, 2D graphics, 3D graphics, architecture, engineering. Buyers expanding their business can benefit from sales &advertisement, product catalogs, book keeping, financial reporting, tax returns, budget & forecasts, tax consulting, research, transcription, office management, translation, travel planning, event planning, survey tabulation, copyright infringement, legal consulting, audio and video recording, answering service just to name a few. The highlight of uFathom is not only the categories  but the availability of service providers to render their services at competitive rates.

UFathom provides the meeting point through web for buyers to locate providers on a long term or short term basis. It provides an opportunity for the buyers to choose as  service providers across the globe bid. Time sensitive projects can be split into  small modules and allocated to several providers to complete the jobs on time. uFathom can be termed as a B2B, B2C and C2C platform as it opens up innumerable opportunities and ways to acquire and execute services for the buyers and providers.

View the uFathom corporate blog for additional details.

Contact person: MacKenzie Brown
900, 926 – 5th Avenue S.W.
Calgary, Alberta T2P 0N7

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Upcoming Outsourcing Industry Events

29 December 2009 | Industry Events, Industry Update | admin

Outsourcing industry

Outsourcing is a major global industry which is growing everyday with internet connectivity. Management of business processes, execution of various administrative, clerical, creative, legal, computer programs and media functions are completed with the help of external service providers. The platform or portal is provided by various organizations for the job providers and freelancers to meet. The buyers and freelancers interact with one another, freelancers complete the job and buyer pays the amount agreed upon. The payment is paid via escrow of the portals for safety of both the buyers and freelancers. Events, Conferences and seminars are conducted across the globe as an effort to educate, discuss and standardize the outsourcing industry and bring in more recognition to the contribution of freelance marketplaces such as uFathom to ensure a safe and easy to use platform for businesses to buy services according to the requirements. Here is a roundup of few of the upcoming events –

Maintenance Outsourcing Management, January 14 to25, 2010, Dubai

This program provides the best practices in Maintenance Outsourcing of Industrial and Commercial Facilities.

This program provides the best practices of Industry Outsourcing around the world. Best business models, methodology and planning of outsourcing. Technology, contracts and managements necessary for the new outsourcing projects

Program Content includes

  • Prequalification activities, Management systems, Motivation facilitation
  • Performance enhancement, Relationship system, HRD, Security & Risk Management
  • Knowledge Management, Customer Interaction, Team Working Enablers
  • Technical infrastructure, Customer feedback, Monitoring of service quality
  • A step by step action plan for Implementing Outsourcing in the Organization

Performance-based outsourcing: Maximizing the Value of 3PL-Customer Relationships, Feb 9 to 11, 2010, Orlando, Florida, USA

Manufacturers and retailers outsource the logistics operations to third party logistics. After sometime both parties are left with no benefits to be reaped and get stuck without make progress towards sustained value. To overcome the obstacle and progress upward performance based outsourcing have to be followed.

The seminar will cover

  • Performance-based outsourcing
  • The difference between Performance Based Outsourcing and gain sharing and other types of contract
  • Steps for creating a successful PBO relationship
  • Who is practicing PBO today and the benefits have they achieved
  • The main obstacles for implementing PBO for both customers and 3PLs. Ways to overcome these obstacles

The Outsourcing World Summit, Feb 15 to 17, 2010, Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Convention Center in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA

Using Outsourcing to Emerge as a Leader in the New Global Economy

The economic recession is relenting now and businesses want to find a way to position them for the growth. With the solutions found, the outsourcing industry will face new challenges and opportunities. New services and business models have to be found to adapt to new trends. Buyers would expect greater value for a cheap price and freelancers would want to leverage from their strong areas in to future solutions.

The Topics covered in the summit are

  • State of the Outsourcing Industry
  • Reimagining the Global Business Paradigm through Outsourcing
  • Microsoft’s Global Sourcing Journey
  • Leading Through Turbulent Times
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Freelance Service Provider Tips

28 December 2009 | News | admin

Tips for New Freelancers

With the advent of internet, services are provided from everywhere in the world. Many Portals provide platform for the job providers to locate providers of services. The job providers should post the requirements of the job to allow service providers to bid for the job.  Service providers qualified to bid for the job post the expertise and the bid amount and compete with other providers to win the job.

New service providers with no feedback record can bid for projects with TRIAL icon next to the listing. The TRIAL projects can be bid exclusively by new service providers. When selecting a suitable project posted, the employer’s profile and feedback has to be analyzed. Seasoned job providers write detailed profile information to make the service providers understand about the job provider. In case the profile of the job provider does not have enough information, either the job provider may be new or he does not want to reveal his identity.

If the job provider has a positive feedback, it is a clear indication that he has handled the service provider well. Because the profile is written by the job provider which is not a sure pointer as to how good the job provider is whereas feedback from service providers can be relied upon.  It is better to know the maximum about the job provider before entering into any contract with a job provider.

As freelancers across globe compete for jobs hundreds of bids are viewed by the job provider. To stay ahead of the competition,  the bid has be unique and concise to get attracted by the buyer. The details of the projects have to be read carefully before bidding. This enables the freelancer to understand the project fully to decide about the time required to complete the job and to bid the appropriate amount for the job. Some buyers include a sentence or phrase in the description and ask the bidders to mention it in the bids. This is to make sure that the project description is read completely. Mention the statement request of the job providers without fail to communicate to the job provider you understand his requirements and can adhere to instructions.

When a freelancer has doubts about a project he or she has to clarify with the buyer using Project Clarification Board to understanding the project better. A job can be completed well only if it is understood well without assumptions.

The bid is provided precisely in clear terms and specific to the point based upon the project details. The bid has to mention exactly what will be provided by the freelancer, how much time is needed for the job and the money required. Unnecessary and long descriptions should not be used as it can create a negative impact and irritate the buyer who reads hundreds of bids.  It is better to check whether all the necessary details are provided in the bid. If more clarifications are needed at this stage, the buyer can be asked questions through Project Clarification Board.

Along with the private message board communications samples can be attached or website links of sample work can be provided for the buyer. The samples provided have to be appropriate for the job or project. It is better to have copyright or water mark or other mark of identification on the samples for protection.

Price charged should be competitive but it need not be the lowest of prices.  Remember, as you bid for global market, the bid is going to be for a tight competition. If special skills are involved for the project charging higher is justifiable. As a new service provider charging less is fine to enable establish oneself in the freelance market.  Your skill claims can be mentioned as it is to get projects. Hype and over the top claims have to be refrained when bidding for projects. The bid has to be spell checked, and checked for grammar.  The bid has to be checked for all the necessary details; written content and checked whether samples are attached.

When ready to accept a project awarded, go through the details of project once again carefully. If any clarification is needed, communicate it to the employer to resolve issues to commit for the project. Accept a project only after understanding fully what it is, otherwise leave the project.

For large scale projects, the service buyer may agree for milestone payments with portions of payment released as schedules are completed in segments. It is common to receive upfront payment on large scale projects but it cannot be expected by new service providers without feedback. Both job providers and service providers can opt for uFathom Milestone Payment service for protection.

As a new freelance service provider build your reputation from positive feedback from job providers.  The employers whose job had been done well would provide positive feedback to the freelancers. You will get feedback only if you get paid through uFathom.

uFathom always aim to encourage new freelance service providers and provides all the help to build and grow their business successfully in a safe and secure environment.

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How to Find a Reliable Freelancer

24 December 2009 | Buyer Advice | admin

Buyers Tips

With the widespread use of internet, freelancers are sourced from across the globe. Jobs are provided from every country in the world. When a job has to be completed, the freelancers required for the job can be searched from local writers. This can be done by placing advertisements in the local freelancer’s forum or by placing advertisements in the local news papers and magazines viewed by the freelancers.

Now there are lots of portals and websites catering to job providers and freelancers such as uFathom. It is now much easy to find best talents from anywhere in the world. The details of the job, samples and requirements are posted in the site requesting freelancers to bid for the job.

When posting a job, the title has to be descriptive. If a freelance writer is required for writing an e book about birds, it is not enough to give the title as book writer. If the title is provided as Write an E book on birds, the freelancers with appropriate experience would bid for the job. In case the job is not detailed it may not be understood in proper terms by the freelancers. In case the job provider is not sure what to request, it is easy to search the internet and acquire appropriate information and knowledge and then provide the necessary details.

The details of the job should be clearly stated to convey all the job requirements to the freelancers. The details of the post should not leave any doubt in freelancers’ mind and also it should not convey the wrong requirement. The job provider has to think very well to answer all the possible questions of the freelancer to provide the requisite details.

The job post should have details like special software skills required, and the length of the articles. The numbers of words of article should be mentioned. Job platform like Mac, UNIX and Windows etc must be clearly stated. Sometimes the programming language in which the job has to be programmed is missed in the requirement. It  is a crucial element  to land on a qualified bidder for successful completion of job. If the job has to be completed in certain time duration it has to be stated clearly. The language in which the project has to be completed say French, German etc must be specified.

The copy right details have to be mentioned clearly, whether the copy right is full copyright or internet rights as per the job providers requirements. Also the details of payment like advance paid, miles stone payment etc., have to be specifically stated. A sample can be provided to the freelancers for easy understanding of the job. If the time needed to complete the job is specified by the job provider, it has to be reasonable or the job can be split in several parts and several freelancers can be sought to work simultaneously.

The job requirement posts are viewed by the freelancers and bids are offered. It is very important to select the right candidate to complete the job. Profile of freelancers who had bid for the job should be analyzed. If the freelancer is highly experienced and handled similar jobs earlier he or she can be chosen. It is a question of discretion to decide if the requirement needs expertise or beginners can work on the project. Sample job provided by the freelancer and the time needed for completing the job reveal the talent of the person and the final work that can be expected.

To determine whether the bidder reads through the entire job post, a question or a phrase is provided and the bidder is requested to provide the phrase or answer along with the bid. Even though this appears to be a simple method, this one invariably lets the job provider know whether the freelancer has read the entire post or the bid is an autobid.

Payment for a job is determined by the importance and complications of the job involved. If the freelancer is experienced, amount needed by him or her is also high. If the freelancer is not experienced, the amount bid is generally low but if the job is of importance the job provider has to think well before awarding the job. If possible a very small portion of the job can be provided and the freelancer’s skill can be tested. If the job provider is satisfied with the job, the other parts of the job can be provided to the freelancer. If many freelancers with good experience had asked for more time, providing more time will ensure quality work.

When a job is completed to the job provider satisfaction, job provider leaves a positive feedback comment. This is one of the important points to consider before awarding a job to a freelancer. This indicates that the freelancer has a track record and credentials. If the freelancer has positive comments from previous jobs done he or she can be awarded the job. For simple jobs and jobs that do not require special skills. Freelancers with no feedback can be chosen for a low cost turnaround for simple and easy jobs such as data entry, copy paste and converting PDF to Word jobs.

There are no hard and fast rules to apply when selecting a freelancer. As each job is unique and the job provider has better idea about the job, he must be able to use common sense as situation demands and decide on selecting a suitable freelancer.

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Secure Your System from Virus for Freelancing Success

09 October 2009 | Buyer Advice, News | admin

Prevention is better than cure. Your PC can be protected using simple precautionary measures to ensure a trouble free computing experience

Install an Always Active Antivirus
Install an antivirus to make sure that your computer is virus free. Antivirus software detects the viruses present in the system and removes them. It also acts as a protective shield against further viral attacks. Anti virus software must have updates enabled. New Virus keeps emerging and the antivirus companies add detection and removal solutions for these new viruses. Antivirus software updates ensures that the antivirus software is current and its database up-to-date to provide maximum protection for the system.

What is a virus and who creates it?
A virus is a computer program written by knowledgeable software developers to satisfy their objectives. The software is called a virus owing to its replicating nature. Viruses are categorized by their severity with effects ranging from controlling the computer to crashing a network. Reasons for introducing a virus can be classified as follows

    To Gain remote control of a computer to access the contents or use it to execute specific work as a proxy

    Revenue generation

    To Monitor and extract important information from the computer

    To Prove the expertise of knowledge in system or more as an act of revenge

    To Crash a computer network

To Gain remote control of a computer to access the contents or use it to execute specific work as a proxy
This type of virus is known as a Trojan and most often found in the attachments downloaded by the user assuming it to be a file sent by a known contact. The infected system becomes the part of the virus creator network called the zombie network. The network grows in size as more computers are infected. These infected computers transmit tiny information to each other simultaneously thus clogging the network and causing overload on the service provider. It may be done as a result of competition or extortion.

Revenue generation
This virus is known as RogueWare. It assumes the role of protection software and fools the user by projecting a huge number of infections in the scan result. Alarmed users are prompted to buy the full version to remove the infections. The payments and the online payment methods are misused to generate revenue for the virus creators.

To Monitor and extract important information
This virus is known as a Sniffer. It tracks the incoming and outgoing data from the system for important sensitive information. It helps the attacker to collect crucial information to act as an imposter.

Prove the expertise of knowledge in system
In 2003, Lovesan virus attacked more than a 10 million computers. It was a demonstration virus to prove that Windows could be easily hacked. The virus developer wanted to exhibit his talent to the world. The attacked system would reboot every 60 seconds with some personal messages.

To Crash a computer network
This type of viruses has almost become obsolete as disabled computers cannot transmit information and do not serve the purpose of modern day virus but virus disabling networks are more common. The networks are overloaded by the virus and the system of denial inbuilt in the networks to respond to overload is activated. As a result, the computers on the network are prevented from network access.

Need a Free Anti virus?
Anti virus in the markets are available at a cost and most of them offer trial versions with limited functionality. The trial versions expire after a set period of time or produce reports of infections but with no functionality to clean or fix them. There are many free anti virus tools available in the market, totally free to use by time and functionality.

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