May 28, 2020

You don’t have to choose between DIY or outsourcing for your next digital project. Here’s why.

Posted by Tom Remans

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You don’t have to choose between DIY or outsourcing for your next digital project. Here’s why.

Making choices is usually difficult, making the right choice is always hard. And that is especially true for projects with strategic value for your brand or organization.

Let’s imagine that your company needs a new digital platform, that should be integrated with your current CRM-tool and that should allow your marketing team to optimize its use of customer data in order to (re)act as quickly as possible on your customers’ actions.

And let’s say that after a lengthy process of gathering your requirements, market research and all kinds of demo’s and RFP’s you have finally decided that Solution X from Vendor Y is the best fit for your project.

Now, you still have an important decision to make: outsourcing or insourcing? In other words: do we want to build and run this solution ourselves or do we find somebody to do it for us? As with most things in life, there’s no one size that fits all. Every choice depends on your current situation, your goals, expectations and capabilities. And depending on what is important for you, there are different options you can consider.

Do it yourself

If your company has the right resources, skills and knowledge, taking full ownership has some clear benefits. After all, nobody knows your organization and its need better than you, right? Doing the implementation would also allow you to be on top of planning, scope and budget and would make sure that you control the overall quality of the end product.

But to be fair, not many companies find themselves in this position. You might be missing some core competencies, or would need to introduce a new methodology leading to an additional learning curve, how can you best handle change management etc? Or it might just simply put too big a burden on the rest of your operations to dedicate part of your staff exclusively to the project. The hidden cost of this approach usually remains… well, hidden.

At this point, it might seem a viable option to just temporarily bring in new people. Today’s market is filled with many good consultants you might hire as freelance experts or through an IT-staffing agency. They will be able to help you complete your challenge, but even with their assistance, running the project internally is not a walk in the park. You will spend a considerable amount of time and money on finding the right people, convincing them that your project is their next big challenge and getting them up and running. And sure, they will bring in the specific knowledge and expertise you need for a certain time, but you are also very likely to lose both once the solution has been built and they move on to the next. Of course, it is possible to keep them on the job longer, but that will become very expensive in the long run.

Outsource the project

So if full or partial ownership of the project is not your preferred option, you might decide to look for an experienced external supplier who you could outsource the entire project too. The benefits are obvious; it will certainly lessen the strain put on your organisation and will bring in the specific experience and expertise you might have been lacking. You will also be able to get the reassurance of a fixed budget and mutually agreed-upon deliverables, but you will have far less control of who will actually be working on the project. And even if the project has been delivered successfully, there will usually be little to no real or lasting knowledge transfer between the supplier and your own collaborators.

What if there was a third way?

At Design is Dead, we know the difficulties you face when you have to decide on your method of choice. We understand the advantages and difficulties that come with any of the possible solutions. That is why we believe that there is a third way, which allows you to combine the benefits of full ownership and outsourcing of your project. We call it Collaborative Teaming and over the years, it has become our trademark approach. It is entirely based on our Manifesto (https://designisdead.com/about-us), which states that we believe in People, Long Term, Impact and Building.

Basically, we integrate with your company from whichever point you like and for however long you want us to. We can become part of your organization before, during and/or after the implementation. We blend in and provide you with the necessary expertise and constantly share our knowledge, increasing the maturity of your staff to make them become self-sufficient to operate and maintain the solution whenever you want them to. We share the responsibility for the outcome of the project with you, we provide advice and guidance when you need us to and we take the same pride as you in meeting and exceeding the expectations.

So in the end, you can actually combine the advantages of the different models and don’t need to be bothered by their risks.

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