Data from Gartner indicates that roughly 75% of failed outsourcing relationships can be attributed to cultural issues. Here are a few best practices to help keep your relationship with offshore providers working smoothly:
- Make sure you have a comprehensive legal agreement from the outset.
- Define a clear process for tracking and managing your project.
- Choose a service provider that has not only the processes and competencies required for your project, but also experience in working with multicultural clients. Do your research and check references to ensure the provider has a record of success with companies like yours.
- Find out if the company you’re considering is accustomed to focusing on one-off projects or is more geared toward long term relationships.
- Build your own team when possible, rather than using a team that is pre-staffed by the provider. Schedule an evaluation within the first couple of weeks.
- Have in place trusted managers with good multicultural communication skills.
- Establish a good foundation with cultural awareness programs for all personnel involved. Make sure the training is relevant to the framework of your business.
- Make use of technology such as HighFive video conferencing, Skype, and Google hangouts for presentations and to maintain good communications.
- Avoid using colloquialisms and slang when speaking to offshore providers.
Keep in mind that cultural differences are not necessarily a negative factor; working with offshore providers can give you new ways to look at things. Careful observation with an open mind can provide insights into alternative approaches that may actually enhance productivity.