IT Sourcing – Why are you tracking your onshore and offshore resources?

How many companies are spending inordinate amounts of time, resources and systems to track the number (by headcount) of onshore and offshore resources? Are you compelled to continually understand how many people are onshore and offshore on a moments notice? Did you complete an assessment to get the initial numbers and then kept on tracking forever? Have you loaded the data into an online database and then required your lines of business to update the headcount and distribution each month? If you are doing any of these items, I’d venture to say that something is wrong and your organization is missing the point of vendor delivered capability.


Instead of tracking the offshore resource headcount and distribution, think about doing the following;


1. Setup a policy and monitor adherence. The truth is, vendors are probably going to be much more productive and cost effective if you let them do their job. This does not mean they have that assigned seat next to you on the floor and they wait until your calendar opens up to determine what to do next. This does not mean that looking out at a pool of resources that you have shipped onsite, with everyone in the room means increased productivity. Take the time to figure out what you really need onsite, set that as the goal and stick to it. Examples include setting onshore: offshore targets using percentages of total or defining the key roles that you will always want onsite, while leaving the remaining roles to by filled by offshore resources. Have the supplier self-monitor adherence to these targets and assign a service level agreement (SLA) metric that the supplier must meet.


2. Ask the supplier. If you are embarking on an initiative or a model for continual support, take the time to ask the supplier what their view is as to how best to operate. They should be upfront in terms of requirements and how best to optimize their delivery model. You should not try to make them a shadow of you or a complete replication of your culture and organization. You are asking supplier resources for help, so reach out and recognize that if they are a good fit to the work that must be completed, you will have many more options and greater flexibility in your delivery.


3. Get rid of the tracking. What do you get for tracking supplier resources? How much is it costing you to track and maintain this data? Why are you doing it instead of asking the supplier to do the tracking? A lot of organizations will put in place elaborate models for tracking where the supplier resources are located, and often track the number of hours, and then implement policies and controls that just add overhead for the supplier. Instead, spend your time focusing on deliverables and execution. You will realize more benefits.


This may seem like harsh advice, but I’ve sat in too many meetings and strategy sessions on this topic with little understanding of the reality that there is little ROI in performing this tracking activity. Once you have the basic supplier resource information, and understand your supplier baseline, set the goal you want to achieve. Then step back and seriously consider what more you really need to make it happen!