FeRD-Konferenz in Berlin

“It can’t be that hard! We could do that easily ourselves … “. Are you familiar with such sentiments from yourself or your colleagues? When it comes to the issue of outsourcing, many companies tend to prefer to do it themselves, rather than to outsource tasks. Why spend money, when it can be done without an additional investment? In principle, this attitude sounds reasonable, but many decision makers with such a ‘can do’ attitude tend to overestimate the capacity of their own organization. The consequence: unnecessarily high costs, which, in hindsight, could have been easily avoided by outsourcing at a certain point in time. In this article, we want to illustrate the point at which you should choose to accept outside help.

Outsourcing as a way to the future

The ‘make or buy’ decision is one that concerns managers from all sectors, across the entire value chain of products and services. Whether it is a small business or a large corporation: Every company has been confronted with the question of whether using a specific outside resource through outsourcing might be an advantage. However, what is the basis for such a decision?

In principle, outsourcing is especially relevant when it is clear that there is a lack of either capacity, expertise or capital intensive investments such as an appropriate infrastructure. In a time when market requirements are constantly changing and customer expectations become higher and higher, companies cannot afford any more to handle processes in only a semi-professional way.

In particular, the rapid development of new technologies and innovations, along with a dramatic increase in data volumes and the advent of Big Data, has overwhelmed many companies that cannot implement an infrastructural adjustment overnight. On the one hand, they often lack the monetary and human resources, and on the other hand, the lack of expertise of those involved quickly becomes an insurmountable obstacle. There is a reason why it takes an intensive multi-year education or years of experience to acquire knowledge of the specialist disciplines of computer science. Where this expertise is lacking, there is the danger of being at an enormous competitive disadvantage by using outdated technologies or costly processes.

However, what does this mean for the businesses concerned? Resign oneself to the digital age and surrender by closing down? At this point, good entrepreneurs and decision-makers will seek solutions and consider alternative options.

The digital revolution – an opportunity, or an obstacle to growth?

In particular, it is well-established companies that have operated for decades without any problems, who have often too late recognized the need to follow the digital transformation and spend money on staying up to date. This is not surprising, since only a few years ago hardly anyone would have expected a digital revolution, which has quickly turned our (working) lives upside down.

On the other hand, there are also many other companies whose only reason for existence comes from the widespread nature of the Internet, and whose founding motivation originates from digitization. These initially small businesses have been following digital changes, and their flexibility has enabled them to grow through continuous innovations. In this way, they were able to do pioneering work, train specialists over a relatively short period and develop comprehensive expertise.

With professional knowledge for the future

So, why not benefit from the knowledge of these pioneers of the digital age, and turn a seemingly hopeless situation into a win-win situation? Win-win, because the company concerned is freed from a problem through outsourcing. Win-win too, because the service-provider gets another customer. One saves costs, the other makes money, and everyone is doing what they do best: namely, pursuing their core business.

Another advantage of outsourcing can be seen by looking into the future. It is likely that technological progress will continue at the same rate as in previous years. Think of topics such as 3D printing, fully automated production through the use of robots, the revolution of transport infrastructure by self-propelled cars or virtual reality – these are just a few examples that show how much potential there is to exploit, and how rapidly technical development will advance.

If you yourself cannot provide this speed and flexibility, you will soon be faced once again by completely changed market conditions, and be working with an infrastructure that is still very modern today, but in a few years will already be outdated. The consequences for you as an entrepreneur are clear. Privacy issues, delayed processes and loss of confidence provide immense competitive disadvantages.

However, you can carry on developing your business without worry, if you consult the right partner from the outset; one that always follows the latest technologies, and monitors all associated changes, such as compliance with legal requirements.

Thus, the advice is to avoid unnecessary risks, particularly in the digital domain, by seeking timely recourse to experts, and by consulting specialists who can work with you to make technological change work for you.

EDI in the Cloud: A secure and easy exchange of data is not a dream

Many decision-makers shy away from investments that inevitably involve fundamental changes or adjustments. However, is this attitude really logical? Every forward-looking company knows that the fear of investing can take its revenge, because the resulting competitive disadvantages are often significantly costlier than if the investment had been made in good time. The good news: sums that are spent in the outsourcing of IT services are, in many areas, not at all as high as is often feared. By providing reliably calculable service costs, they are even often cheaper than comparable in-house solutions.

Take the example of cloud services. Dropbox, Google Drive, Apple iCloud and Microsoft OneDrive have become all the rage, and are used quite naturally in the private sphere. It is the younger generation especially that relies on these services, and expects to find similar opportunities in the professional environment. Many companies have learnt to appreciate the benefits of this type of networking, which would have been completely unimaginable up to a few years ago. Critical processes are simplified and accelerated, new communication channels are created and limitations are overcome.

Perhaps you already know that there are cloud solutions in the B2B area, which operate on the same principle, and turn the transfer of data between companies into a safe and trouble-free exercise. New business partners are easily integrated, the management of data flow is maintained by a reliable full-service provider, and a modern infrastructure provides data traffic with the highest level of security. For future-oriented companies, this not only means that they can act more flexibly with full transparency, but also that they can be sure the current legal requirements are being observed at all times.

If you as a business leader want to have a better understanding of this issue, and take practical decisions without going into IT too deeply, then you will like our EDI advice booklet. Request one now, and we will immediately send you a free copy via e-mail. Digital, quick and uncomplicated.