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Outsourcing Fundamentals

Independent guide to Outsourcing: BPO strategy, Service Provider selection, contracting and implementation projects. Assessing and improving your current service.

Strategy > Project Definition

Planning your Strategy Project

While every strategy project will be different, there are elements in common and starting with a plan that has been executed before will cut the time and risk in developing your own. The plan below, with variations, has been used in large companies.

thumbnail of plan for strategy project click for timeline in new tab
1. Mobilise and start 
1.1 Project framework, Goals & scoping 
1.2 Project Timing Resources & contactsPlanning the work; ensuring sufficient full time members as well as access to others needed
1.3 Clarify Business Objectives & prioritiesSee “Strategy > Business Objectives”
2. Review Current Situation 
2.1 Data GatheringIncludes defining information needed, data collection exercise, collation and validation.
2.2 Stakeholder InterviewsGain a holistic picture of the processes, current performance and expectations.
2.3 Assessment and analysis 
3. Investigate Options 
3.1 Service AlternativesSee “Strategy > Alternatives”
3.2 Scope definitionSee “Strategy > Scope Selection”
3.2 Service Delivery OptionsSee “Strategy > Delivery Model”
3.2 Market UnderstandingDevelop understanding of market availability, through an advisor where required
4. Develop Strategy 
4.1 Sourcing StrategyMake and document decisions on the approach being proposed.
4.2 Service Delivery Choices 
4.3 Organisation designIncludes assessing impact on current organisation and developing the organisation post transformation, with roles to manage the service.
4.4 Change planning and Risk ManagementPrimarily for the business proposal, but also thinking through change and risk management will improve the viability of the implementation plan.
4.5 Develop Business Case 
5. Plan and Approvals 
5.1 Develop Implementation planThe implementation plan can extend to go live at a high level, with more detail for the stage to developing the full solution.
5.2 Obtain budget and approvals 
5.3 Document agreement & trigger next stepsIf proceeding to the next stage, put in place next step actions. If there is to be a delay, capture as much value from project as possible


although I have found it prefereable to keep the team small for the strategy phase, having access as much expertise as possible will save time and money. Primarily, you will need thorough knowledge of the business and expertise in outsourcing.

An overview of the key roles required for outsourcing is given here:

BPO Roles

Planning Considerations

Elapsed time: The elapsed time for a strategy project usually depends most on:

  • The availability of information on the activities in scope including costs, effort per activity area; volumes, quality measurements. If this is spread across the company and will need to be made consistent, then allow additional time.
  • The number and availability of stakeholders to be interviewed.
  • The degree to which key stakeholders need understanding of the outsourcing market and the extent to which the strategy project will be used to allow stakeholders to adapt to new ideas.
  • The efficiency of the company's decision making process

Sensitivity and confidentiality: Any organisation transformation project needs to be undertaken with awareness that people do not welcome uncertainty. Outsourcing in particular can be emotive and the project should decide how to deal with confidentiality.

Involvement: of HR, Finance, Procurement, Legal, Tax etc.

  • HR will usually provide staffing costs and advice on making organisation and staffing changes in different countries.
  • Finance provides access to all other costs and usually manages business case policy.
  • Procurement, legal and tax, primarily required in the next phase, will advise on their roles in the process and on timelines.

Now or later: some work, not essential to your strategy, is more efficiently included rather than being carried out later - assuming reasonable confidence in the outcome of the strategy. Review the information required for the Solution stage and decide to what extent it can be collected in the Strategy project.

Achieving success: Finally, in planning the project, remember that this sort of transformation needs to take account of the company's culture and political structures as well as passing the business / financial hurdles. Do build in time to work through unexpected questions and issues.