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A Brief Overview of Today’s Outsourcing Buzz Words

January 20, 2010

Originally uploaded by Wonderlane

by Daryl James

Offshoring, Homeshoring… in this global outsourcing economy, you can add -shoring to anything and make it a freelance buzz word. But what do all of these outsourcing terms mean? Here’s a brief overview of some remote freelance work vocabulary:

Outsourcing – Assigning a freelance expert(s) outside of your company to complete a specific business task in a more efficient and cost-effective manner than possible with your in-house operations resources.   Companies engage in a wide variety of outsourcing tasks, from software development to network administration to graphic design (though outsourcing isn’t limited to business tasks).

Is outsourcing right for you and your company? Perhaps you’re thinking about redesigning your website. Could a freelance professional with more technical expertise do it better?

Offshoring — Assigning an outside foreign freelance expert(s) to complete a specific business task in a more efficient and cost-effective manner than possible with your in-house homeland operations resources.  The question with offshoring vs outsourcing comes down to the following:  if a foreign freelance professional can get quality work done better and faster, does it matter whether they’re located in Minnesota or Moldova?

Is offshoring the right outsourcing solution for you? Establishing a clear outsourcing communications strategy is the best way to ensure your offshored projects will be successful. You’ll have to consider the freelance provider’s time zone, language, and cultural differences.

Nearshoring — Assigning an outside foreign freelance expert(s) from a nearby country (with a similar culture, time zone and language) to complete a specific business task in a more efficient and cost-effective manner than possible with your in-house homeland operations resources. Some companies prefer outsourcing to freelance providers who have a similar culture, share a similar language and/or are in the same time zone.

Is nearshoring a more feasible alternative for your outsourcing needs? It depends. If working with someone in the same time zone is essential, nearshoring may be just the thing for you.

Homeshoring — Homeshoring is simply outsourcing assignments to a freelance professional within your own country. People prefer working from home for a variety of reasons. Some want to avoid commuting, others have children they’re taking care of at home. Companies such as Jet Blue have become well-known for their homeshoring strategies, but you don’t have to be a big corporation to take advantage of skilled freelance professionals who prefer to work from home.

Is homeshoring right for your business? Do you need a freelance provider in your timezone? Country? Can your outsourcing organization offer a flexible schedule?

Crowdsourcing — Crowdsourcing asks the question, why use one freelance mind when you can use many? Essentially, crowdsourcing refers to having a crowd of freelance professionals working together to produce an outsourcing product. Wikipedia is a good example.

Is crowdsourcing a useful innovation for you to implement?  It was for Netflix. They posted a $1M prize for anyone who could improve their DVD rental system. One serious downside to this option is the inability to  have everyone sign a contract or a non-disclosure agreement.

Farmshoring – Farmshoring involves relocating outsourcing jobs from urban centers to rural communities.

Is Farmshoring right for you? If your company philosophy is one that believes it doesn’t matter where a freelance professional works, but whether they have (a) the skills to do it (b) the tools to do it and (c) the motivation to do it, this alternative might be the outsourcing answer.

follow me on Twitter: @SmlBizSmlWorld

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