What are the disadvantages of outsourcing?
From risking the loss of intellectual property to throwing quality control out the window, here are 8 answers to the question, “What’s the biggest disadvantage of outsourcing?”
- Outsourcing Can Lead to Job Losses
- Lack of Passion
- Most Significant Disadvantage is the Outsourcing Itself
- Lack of Direct Oversight
- Risks of Loss of Intellectual Property
- Quality Control Goes Out the Window
- Security and Confidentiality Are at Risk
- Not Knowing
Outsourcing Can Lead to Job Losses
One of the biggest disadvantages of outsourcing is that it can lead to job losses in the domestic economy. As businesses move their operations overseas, they often cut back on domestic labor, resulting in layoffs and job insecurity for local workers. Additionally, outsourcing can also result in a loss of control over quality assurance and customer service standards for companies. This can lead to an increase in complaints and customer dissatisfaction, which can hurt a company’s reputation.
Lack of Passion
The biggest disadvantage of outsourcing is that suppliers aren’t as passionate about your business as you are. If you are a business owner, the stakes are high for you to be successful; your livelihood depends on it. When outsourcing parts of your business, you lose some control over the outcome, and as a result, the output can be disappointing. The first time we outsourced a part of our business, it was for SEO.
We knew a little bit about SEO and were looking for professionals to help us get to the next level. The first few months were great; we noticed a positive difference in our search rankings. As time went on, we found it wasn’t working as well, and almost every deadline was being missed. When communicating our needs, we were always assured it would be taken care of, and it never was; we just weren’t a priority, and ultimately, we terminated the contract. It can be emotionally and financially devastating for a small business to invest in services that don’t live up to their expectations.
Most Significant Disadvantage is the Outsourcing Itself
The most significant disadvantage of outsourcing is the outsourcing itself. If business owners had an option not to outsource, they wouldn’t. But the reality of modern business makes them search for ways of optimization worldwide. Despite all the opportunities, savings, and growth outsourcing can bring, it can only partially replace the beauty of working with an in-house team. It’s odd to hear from a staff augmentation company representative, but we know startups would rather not deal with us.
They cherish the magic of having everyone share ideas and sharing a common authentic culture in the same room. Outsourcing is always a risk of knowledge and experience leaks. Also, the level of interest and dedication will differ from that of in-house teams.
Even if you call them “dedicated remote teams,” the situation doesn’t change drastically. However, modern businesses can’t afford the luxury of not outsourcing. And we help them to do that painlessly.
Olena Fabrykant, Marketing Manager, StartupSoft
Lack of Direct Oversight
One of the biggest disadvantages of outsourcing is a lack of direct oversight of the project, which can result in delays, misunderstandings, and technical issues. In some cases, communication between the two parties can become more difficult due to language barriers or cultural differences that prevent effective collaboration. Some stakeholders may also not be involved in the process as closely as they would be if the development were taking place internally.
To tackle that, make sure you know beforehand how and when important updates will be communicated. You should ask about the project management and communication tools that will be used and whether you will have access to easily monitor and track progress. When evaluating outsourcing partners, ask about their communication style, how they handle problems, and choose a team who is fluent in English and shares your values.
Risks of Loss of Intellectual Property
When you decide to outsource IT or any other work, you put yourself in a position where you may be required to share important company data, trade secrets, and, in most cases, the fundamental intellectual property of your organization. This exposes you to the possible risks that this IP can be stolen and used to make knockoff products or services. Now, there are ways, of course, to protect yourself legally from this; however, this does not always mean that you are safe.
Furthermore, the procedures of enforcing IP breaches can be very costly and typically take so much time.
Additionally, sometimes it may not be possible to effectively outsource without revealing crucial technology or IP to a third party. There is no knowing how secure these third-party firms are from outside interference.
Quality Control Goes Out the Window
If life is like a box of chocolates, outsourcing is like the mystery flavor. You never know what you’re gonna get, a delicious truffle or a stale wafer. But the problem here is, it’s your business’s reputation that’s on the line. You don’t have any control over the delivery or the quality of the work.
Sometimes a team of experts will knock it out of the park while charging you a surprisingly low amount. Other times, they will make a mess so bad that you may have to redo everything. Communication can be another major issue. They can disappear in the middle of the project and then you have to chase after them for an update.
They will say anything to bag the project and then start showing their actual capability afterward. Verifying their quality can be tricky as well. Some marketplaces have reviews and feedback to go through, but those are not always reliable either. A great way to avoid this issue would be to choose someone who is recommended by someone you know.
Security and Confidentiality Are at Risk
The information that powers any company is at its core. I believe there is a chance that confidentiality may be jeopardized if the outsourcing company receives your salary, medical records, or any other sensitive information. Consideration must be given if the outsourced role entails exchanging confidential company information (product designs, formulas, etc.). To ensure that the data is secure and that the contract includes a penalty provision in the event of an incident, thoroughly assess the outsourcing company.
Outsourcing in itself isn’t a disadvantage, but it is essential that you take everything into account when you are doing it so that you can avoid those disadvantages. For me, one of the most significant disadvantages is that they don’t understand the business in the same way your core team does, whether that’s operationally, or how you present yourself to the public.
All of these things can of course be dealt with, but it’s essential to keep it in mind when you are considering outsourcing, and know how to engage those people in a way that is easy and not overwhelming for them, especially if the outsourcing is temporary.
Submit Your Answer
Would you like to submit an alternate answer to the question, “What’s the biggest disadvantage of outsourcing?”