In-house, outsourced, onshore, nearshore, and offshore — outsourcing offers countless possibilities. How can outsourcing help? Companies have resorted to outsourcing for both foreign and domestic contracts for decades. We’ve seen this practice extensively in quality assurance and programming functions.
Technical writing outsourcing comes with a lot of risks and benefits. Many technical writers think that once their company outsources, they must lay-off existing writers, which results in reduced morale of their respective teams. Outsourcing often catches the blame as a cause of disruption, dysfunction, and organizational failure. In many cases, these negative outcomes actually result from poor management, including poor planning and managing of outsourcing.
Outsourcing, if done properly, can help your business improve both in processes and content quality. A multicultural team can give you an advantage. If managed well, it increases global responsiveness, provides quicker response times, and increase your team’s cultural understanding of your customers. Technical Writing Outsourcing can expand capacity at a lower cost, give you a larger team, and produce higher output.
Barry Saiff, founder and CEO of Saiff Solutions, created a roadmap to outsourcing success in his book Outsourcing Technical Writing: A Primer. In this roadmap, one of the sequences involves Choosing an outsourcing partner. You want a vendor who is capable of meeting your needs, with a broad commitment to excellence. So, how will you choose a trusted partner for your documentation?
Here are some of the factors to consider:
- Be careful about the country you choose – Consider factors such as language, infrastructure, economic growth, stability, and cultural fit.
- Get to know your vendor – Are they knowledgeable, competent, and honest? What types of quality control practices or systems do they have in place?
- Learn about your vendor’s approach to management – Instead of sharing your own management philosophy (which amounts to asking leading questions), ask probing questions about their attitudes.
- Take IT and data security very seriously – For example, ensure that their employee and consultant contracts include confidentiality clauses.
- Understand the vendor’s ownership and organizational structure.
- Ask for references or find them on your own, and be very careful about contracts.
- Before embarking on a large, risky project, try out the vendor in a smaller, lower risk pilot project.
Do you want to know more about the Roadmap to Outsourcing Success? Learn more about technical writing outsourcing to give your team an extra boost!