Monthly Archives: January 2012

Hybrid binational companies – the way of the future?

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Hybrid bi-national companies — the way of the future?
Many American IT companies have a partner company, or an office in India, Vietnam, or some Asian country.  It only makes sense. It is hard to find IT workers here, and they are expensive, and often uncooperative.  It is not worth a managers time to always be trying to overcome insubordination, when you can find able and willing workers in India or elsewhere. One big problem is that many American software companies are tricky, and don’t inform their clients that they use overseas labor.  But, putting honesty aside, many outsourcing companies that are able to grow and succeed, use what I call the hybrid model.
Hybrid bi-national businesses
India has great labor resources for medical billing, programming and all types of back office BPO type tasks. I feel that it is foolish not to take advantage of this willing and able workforce.  Setting up an office in India requires a lot of travel and time spent, but in the long run, it seems worth it.  It makes it easy and flexible to get lots of work done as it is needed.  I know many people who work at bi-national companies with one office in America and the other in India.  Or a front end office in Singapore, and a back office in Hyderabad, etc.  
Problems with bi-national work relationships.
There are always difficulties in any type of business set up.  In America, the crushing costs of rent, labor, accounting, and taxes put many out of business or drain their cash away, especially if you are located on a coast where everything is sky high!  Try renting an office in California.  You might be paying $2000 for a modest sized room in a high rise that can fit three people.  The problems in a hybrid company are dealing with communication issues between America and India.  Communication styles are different in different countries.  People are in different time zones, and some people answer questions faster than others.  Some people communicate faster than others, and others have a different sense of how long things should take.    But, if you have people in America who enjoy working at night, a relationship with India becomes perfect, and easier than a relationship with an American partner who leaves work at 5pm right when you are warming up!
Marketing and management in America?
It is more effective to have your management and marketing in America.  We have more of a command of middle management than India does.  For some reason, I have seen hardly any middle level in Indian companies. You are either the boss or the worker, but customer service reps are only for large companies in my limited experience.  If you have your intermediaries in the states, who are a go-between for the workers and the clients, you might do very well in business if you hire the right people.  In India, it would be much harder to find such people, and they wouldn’t be that cheap either if they were any good!  It seems that different countries have their niches and specialties.  Argentina is good at art and dance.  India is great at programming.  While America and the Philippines are good at interaction — or at least we think we are!!!

(1) Many American IT companies have a partner company, or an office in India, or some Asian country
(2) If you’re a night owl, working w/India is better than a US partner who leaves just when you are warming up.
(3) Binational companies capitalize on American expertise & an Asian labor pool. The best of both world(s).
(4) Having a binational company has its advantages. Office space in Bangladesh is a lot cheaper!
(5) A happy marriage of American management & Indian labor leads to optimal efficiency

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What is the best BPO work environment?

Categories: BPO | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

What is the best BPO work environment?
If you are running a BPO, Call Center, Data Entry outsourcing company, or other outsourcing firm, you need to be refined in how to manage your work environment.  I had an interesting chat with a buddy of mine who runs a small web development company. He says that at many of the more successful American IT and marketing companies, everyone works in one large room, where the cubicles have low walls, so you can see everyone at a glance.  This was an interesting opinion. 
So, what is better, private cubicles, a room filled with desks and no dividers, or completely separate rooms?  If it is up to me, I like a separate room, but if I am managing others, I like to be able to hear them faintly in the distance, so if they are telling a client the wrong thing, I can run in and intervene — but I get relative peace and quiet simultaneously.  In the real world, my perfect environment is not so easy.
Are there studies that discuss the advantages of office set ups?  I am reading on Wikipedia that having a bunch of people working together in the same large room is called an “Open Plan”, and contributes to higher noise, higher turnover, and stress.  I can relate to that.
I’m reading another blog called The Good Work Circle that claims  that many larger companies are getting rid of cubicles and adopting an open workspace office set up.  The open workspace model was better for communiation and a sense of community. 
I like the idea of a hybrid system for BPO companies, where you get your private space and quiet part of the day, but can have togetherness during other parts of the day. 
Another factor is how cool the building is that you are working in.  A really pleasant work environment for BPO companies might have high ceilings, art work, a pool table, a pleasant break room, and places to interact with others. If rooms are too small or efficient, then it might not be so pleasant to be in them.  A good balance between space efficiency and coolness might win the game in the long run.  It is good to not overlook the fact that many people just don’t care about how cool the building is while others who are more tuned it will really notice and just not want to hang around if the work environment is not up to their standards for coolness!
Since every group of employees is different, rather that reading a book written by an “expert”, why not listen to YOUR employees and see what they say about what they think a good layout would be!  That way you please the people who you are stuck with, and can make the best out of it.  And remember, BPO companies in India have a high turnover rate, so if you can make your employees lives better, the will stay around longer!

Is it easier for bigger companies to do outsourcing?

Categories: Of Interest, Semi-Popular | Tagged | Leave a comment

Is it easier for a big company to outsource or a smaller company?
I run a tiny company, and I find it easy to outsource. I am old fashioned and want to meet everybody in person who I work with.  In America, nobody wants to meet you in person anymore which I find to be a deal breaker.  What are they hiding that they don’t want to meet me?  If there is something wrong with someone, it is easier to find out if you are with them regularly.  On the other hand, a person can be very pleasant in person, and then later on you find out that they don’t keep promises.  Putting my personal issues aside, it is easy to get on a plane to India and interview a dozen companies for a particular task to outsource.
But, what about larger companies?  My company has two full time people and a few others who do outsourced work like social media, programming, etc.   But, what about a company with 12 employees, or a hundred.  Is it easier for them to outsource?    If you are a manager who has 12 employees, you will have a problem leaving them alone for ten days while you fly to India.  Or perhaps you could hire one of them to fly to India themselves and set up a deal if they are smart and reliable enough.  The question is, would you outsource to another company, or set up your own office in India?  This is a difficult question to answer. If you want to be able to control who works for you, then hire your own staff.  If you want someone else to deal with hiring and firing, and always having people ready to work, then outsourcing to an existing company is perfect.  Or, you could outsource, but ask the boss if they can hire special people according to your specifications. There are many possibilities.   One key factor is that Indians want to work, and are eager to please foreign clients, while American companies are often extremely rigid, and often will not even return your calls or emails!
Huge companies seem to have refined outsourcing to a set routine.  They have a standardized method of sending the right people to India to have huge offices built that are  dedicated exclusively to their corporation.  They know how to do market research and find out how to attract the best employees.  Everything is refined to a science for the big guys.
My blog is more oriented towards small and medium companies, so my suggestion is to poke your head around and see if you can find the right people to work with overseas.  Be prepared to visit them once or twice a year, or perhaps more!  Whether you are a small or medium sized company, it is time consuming and tiring to fly to India.  Jet lag is terrible, and stomach disorders that you get in India really take their toll.  I feel that it is worth it in the end, but not without it’s price.  If you have a larger company, then your trip to India might get more accomplished in one trip making it more efficient.  But, the bigger issue to me, is learning to refine your travel and business plans so you get the most out of any investment in travel.

(1) It is easier for big companies to outsource because they can create their own office overseas
(2) Bigger companies get more favorable treatment from outsourcing companies purely based on their size!

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