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Reply To: Minimum Number of Agents to Outsource

Saeed Qadri

HI Janica,

You are right the eventual yardstick to measure break even in this scenario is only a complete cost benefit analysis. The two minimum inputs that will be required at this point in time to make an approximation will be 1) Your cost of operations ideally broken down on per hour basis and 2) the all inclusive quote that you can receive from a set of vendors. Here are some numbers to work with

>>> Typical Yearly Salary for a IT Programmer USA $70,000 Pakistan $8,500
>>> Typical Hourly cost to operate a Call Center USA $ 12.47 Pakistan $4.88

So you can see that the cost differential is so high that the question of how much to out source is mostly transformed into “How much should I outsource to begin with—and then how much with in 90 days and so on”. In my different assignments with my own company Voxel Communications and previously with Halliburton business units; I have seen that the outsourcing managers tend to opt for a low risk strategy of first trying out a pilot program of 10-20 FTE’s (Full Time Equivalents) in case of call center or other transaction oriented work and in case of IT/SW development the start is with even smaller numbers.

The problem with pilots are usually related to over exaggerated commitments and then failing expectations. However, they are still a great tool to fine tune SLAs and budgets etc. In a pilot program I would watch for:

1. Cost Savings in a total cost of ownership (TCO) scenario
2. One Vendor, One Location versus multiple locations and multiple vendors
3. Backed up for disaster recovery in-house during pilot and even beyond
4. Watch for Availability and Retention patterns of customer support agents proficient in English or whatever language
5. Measurement of effort on training
6. Airtight Confidentiality Arrangements
7. Robust Technological Infrastructure for 24/7/365
8. Continuous improvement in process and quality control

Outsourcing is fastest, easiest, and most economical way to maximize your IT Development, Call Center, Data Center, and E-Commerce programs. It provides you with the highest quality, experienced IT Software engineers, Pool of call center staff, no iteration issues, at a cost that is generally 50-60% lower than a conventional US based program.

I would recommend you putting together a RFI/RFP for a few vendors and send it to them for there detailed responses; shortlist them to two/three vendors; have conference calls with them and decide on a pilot phase and then decide the quotient of outsourcing for your organization.

Regards and Happy outsourcing

Saeed Qadri