How to Handle the 5 Top Concerns When Working with an Offshore Team
“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” – Steve Jobs
In our previous article, we discussed the essential actions you should take when determining who to hire as your ERP Contractor or ERP Consultant. Researching and Interviewing. As you are doing your research, another decision you will come across is whether to work with someone locally or off-shore. You’ve probably heard some rumors. You may have some concerns about working with an offshore team. Let’s lay out those concerns and how to address them.
Unfortunately, some of these concerns can be not only true, but costly. However, if you do your research into the staffing / recruiting company and into the ERP Contractor / Consultant, most of those concerns can be avoided. So let’s get right into the top concerns when working with an offshore team.
Quality of Work will be Poor
This concern is as true and valid as any concern you would have for hiring any new full-time employee. They look great on paper and conducted themselves professionally in the interview. However, you’re afraid the quality of their work won’t be up to the same standards you’d expect from your own staff, or even a local ERP Contractor / Consultant. This is where trusting the recruiting / staffing agency you’re hiring them through is very important.
A reputable agency relies on their Contractors to provide the level of quality that matches the reputation of their own company. With a great Contractor, you will actually run into scenarios where the offshore team is educating your full-time employees, providing solutions for best practices, and perhaps gently pointing out errors staff are making. A quality ERP Contractor is there to do the job and do it right. Contractors want to exceed your expectations so you will consider them for future projects. They have no problem recognizing shortcomings, pointing them out, and fixing them.
How do you know your company’s valuable intellectual property will be secure in the hands of your off-shore Contractor? This is a valid concern, given all the talk about data security these days. The truth is, a reliable offshore Contractors spend a lot of time and money developing a secure environment for handling your company’s data. One of their core functions is to provide data protection from unauthorized access.
Remember, they are looking to be your go-to resource for other projects as well. It is in their best interest to build a trusting, secure relationship with you. It is still your responsibility to ask these kinds of questions during the interview process though, with the agency or the individual. You need to be sure that both parties can be on the same page for expectations.
There are numerous Contractors who are fluent in English or your preferred language of communication. However, this is another reason why interviewing your Contractor before starting the job is incredibly important to the overall success of the engagement. You want to know that not only they understand the scope of the project, but that you understand each other. Verify their communication in writing, over a video call and over the phone.
Similarly to when hiring a new team member, you also need to set clear communication expectations & preferences. You both need to know what constitutes an important update on the project, what needs to be checked before proceeding, and how much explanation is needed on items.
This concern actually has more to do with traditional hierarchy within a different culture than anything else. It doesn’t make a difference if your temporary ERP Consultant is vegetarian or dresses differently. Nor does it matter if they attend religious services on a different day of the week or doesn’t attend religious services at all. What you should be most concerned with is the possibility that your Contractor comes from a culture where they are told not to show any signs of disrespect. Is their predisposition to not say ‘no’ to people in authority. Why should that be a concern? Don’t you want your Contractor to be respectful and accommodating? Of course you do, but you also want them to feel comfortable being open with your team.
If someone on your staff is doing something incorrectly, wouldn’t you want that action corrected? Wouldn’t you want a product suggested to you if there was an add-on that could save your company time and money? If there was a more efficient way for certain processes in your organization, wouldn’t you want to know about it? The potential problem you need to be aware of is working with a Contractor who will not voice any of these issues for fear of offending you or your team.
Time Gap will mean a Lag in Productivity
It makes sense to be concerned about this one. You work in Seattle and the offshore team works in India or the Ukraine. Their daylight hours are the middle of the night for you and vice versa. You’re worried that you’ll never be able to get a hold of them, or talk to them ‘in person’ to ask questions or give feedback. Many off-shore companies either work in shifts so someone is available regardless of the hours you keep at your business. Sometimes the offshore team will keep the same hours you work, meaning they’ll work 8-5 in your time zone. Again, this is something you will want to confirm during your research and interview stages of the process.
Those are the top concerns when working with an off-shore development team. These are common concerns because they’re valid and companies have experienced them in the past. That said, if you know what your needs are, you do your research into the staffing / recruiting firm and interview the ERP Contractor, then your fears about the concerns for working with an off-shore Contractor should be laid to rest. If you need further reassurance, you can read and hear one of the testimonials from Staffing Clients who have worked with some of our off-shore Contractors through DyNexus. While you’re there, go ahead and look at the Acumatica ERP Contractors we have available. We’d love to talk to you about your project needs.