Offshore Outsourcing: Signs Your “Long-Distance” Relationship Is In Trouble

On September 27, 2012, in Outsourcing, by Business Development Group
Recognizing these signs early on could very well save what is still salvageable in the outsourcing relationship, or even turn things around and still drive success for the outsourcing program.

Recognizing these signs early on could very well save what is still salvageable in the outsourcing relationship, or even turn things around and still drive success for the outsourcing program.

The outsourcing relationship is very much like a personal relationship. It has its ups and downs, and requires the trust and full commitment of both parties— the client and the outsourcing service provider— in order for the relationship to work. In the article “The “Crying Game” — Ending the Tears in Outsourcing Relationships,” Dianne Smock of Information Services Group (ISG) outlined the “top 5 signs of rocky outsourcing relationships.” Recognizing these signs early on could very well save what is still salvageable in the outsourcing relationship, or even turn things around and still drive success for the outsourcing program.

Green on the Outside, Red on the Inside

The article likened this issue to a “watermelon,” where it’s green on the outside but red on the inside. Outsourcing service providers become confused when, despite providing good performance and quality figures, they still receive complaints from clients. This usually occurs when the client failed to clearly communicate their goals to the provider, or the provider failed to understand what matters most to the client besides the apparent performance figures.

Lack of Trust

Like any other relationship, the outsourcing relationship needs to be based on a foundation of mutual trust to enable both parties to deliver on their side of the agreement and more, trusting the other party to offer the same commitment. However, having both parties constantly refer to the specific terms outlined in the contract is a sure sign of a lack of trust and a failing relationship.

Irreconcilable Issues

Difficult relationships are characterized by constant arguments about issues that never seem to get resolved. In most cases, these are past problems that were not dealt with properly or resolved in a manner that’s acceptable to both parties. As a result, these past problems keep cropping up and interfering with present issues.

Communication Gap

With business strategies and technology constantly evolving, it is crucial to maintain open communication lines throughout the organization in order to communicate changes that might occur in response to new strategies and opportunities. However, with a lack of communication, these changes aren’t passed down to Operations— handled by the external providers— in order to implement the appropriate adjustments to the outputs and delivery of service.

Lack of Encouragement for Innovation

Most clients are concerned that their outsourcing service provider is not innovative enough to their liking. Service providers can indeed become complacent in this area; however, the client also has a responsibility to encourage their service provider to become innovative. Clients must be prepared to “demonstrate a willingness to tolerate a creative process.”

Related Article: The “Crying Game” — Ending the Tears in Outsourcing Relationships

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