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By Dan Heath and Chip Heath
Walk into an urban high school and look around at the kids. Roughly half of them will drop out of school. If you knew which ones, you might be able to steer them toward a different path. But you can’t solve a problem until you can spot it, and how do you spot a future dropout?
Some Johns Hopkins University researchers, frustrated by the high-school-dropout rate, went looking for early-warning signs among students in Philadelphia. What were the telltale markers of a student who wouldn’t graduate? Their analysis came back with astonishing clarity. Poring over eighth-grade attendance records, they found hundreds of students who had missed more than one out of every five class days. Of those frequent absentees, 78% eventually quit high school. Similarly, of the eighth graders who had failed either English or math, three out of four dropped out. No other factor — gender, race, age, or standardized-test scores — had the predictive power of those two patterns.
The researchers concluded that the school district could identify more than half of the students who would be likely to drop out before they even set foot in high school.
by Amit Mullerpattan
The expanding reach of the Internet and growth of online collaboration tools have all changed small business outsourcing dramatically in the past 3-4 years.
Let us take a look at 10 key trends for using independent contractors for projects and even ongoing staffing needs, and how they shape up in 2009:
1. The “Outsourcing Life” is hip
Popularized by the best seller The 4-Hour Workweek, more people are realizing that they can get their work done by someone else even if they are a solo entrepreneur. According to statistics published by US Small Business Administration, 56% of US small businesses with 100 employees or less, have fewer than 5 employees. If your business is one with no employees or a very small number of employees, you may find yourself over-stretched for time, and in need of outsourcing in both your personal and professional life. Driven by the economy and the need to watch expenses, more businesses will opt for contracting relationships and hold off hiring new employees as long as possible.
Small businesses are also continuing to push the envelope on what can be outsourced. They are discovering elements that can be outsourced even in previously “core” activities. For example, an Australian small business we work with specializes in online marketing, but also uses multiple telemarketing providers to cross sell their product range to customers.
How to benefit from this trend:
- Re-examine what you consider to be activities only you or your employees can do.
- If not the entire activity, can some parts of this at least be outsourced?
- Be prepared to invest some time up front in training your outsourcing partner.
by James Wheeler
Traditionally outsourcing vendors place coordinators on the customer site to facilitate communication with the offshore team. This article discusses a different approach to coordinating offshore outsourcing projects where the client places a coordinator on the outsourcing vendor site to manage the offshore project.
I recently read a good blog post on Pragmatic Outsourcing titled The Myth of the Onsite Coordinator. Often offshore software outsourcing vendors place employees on the client site as part of the offshore engagement. As Nick Krym mentions in his blog post, there are disadvantages to having an onsite offshore coordinator, the main being cost to the client. An alternative approach that can be more effective is for the client to place an employee on the outsourcing supplier site.
Although an offshore coordinator could be employed by the outsourcing vendor or client, for the purpose of this post when I refer to “offshore onsite coordinator”, I mean a client employee or contractor managing the outsourcing initiative offshore. This offshore onsite coordinator is responsible for managing the communication and coordination between the client and the vendor and may also be responsible for managing the vendor.
Over the years I’ve worked with dozens of tier one and tier two outsourcing providers. I recently asked some of them to provide their perspective as to “why their clients and potential clients should hire a sourcing advisor.” One would initially think that a provider would be opposed to having a sourcing advisor involved as it might slow down the process and lessen the advantages that a provider could have over the client without the benefit of independent advice. I found quite the contrary.
Listed below are a dozen “uncut” reasons why providers believe clients should hire a sourcing advisor:
Read the rest of this entry »
Often times, when selecting an outsourcing provider, the list of candidate firms can look almost identical in terms of capability and ability to handle the scope of services clients seek. This can lead to a sub-optimal subjective decision based on the “marketing speak” of the provider versus a more comprehensive and objective analysis that will lead to a successful relationship.
What factors can you use to differentiate among providers beyond the classic request for proposal response and the “marketing and sales speak” typically relied on during the outsource selection process?