Posted by James MacMillan,
Vice President, Business Development, HGS Canada
My children attend a great school just down the street from our house. One of the best things about this school is the administration. The principal and vice principal are always available to discuss concerns or thoughts my wife and I have regarding the most important things in our life — our kids. I believe the rest of the school is influenced by the culture perpetuated by the school leadership. The board that oversees my school’s administration also resides right here in my city.
Now imagine if this leadership resided in a different country all together.
Perhaps they wouldn’t understand my children’s culture and may implement a curriculum that does not prepare them for the future. What if I needed to escalate an issue? Would the culture at each school be different? This may sound ludicrous, but in the world of business and outsourcing there are many examples of limited or no regional accountability. Now, if your service provider is interacting with your customer — the most important part of your business — this can become a very big problem.
Having spent 20 years working with global service providers with varying leadership models, I’ve experienced many times how important regional accountability is, most often when it wasn’t there.
To be competitive, leading outsourcing companies must have a global footprint that can leverage all the skill sets and diversity the world has to offer. The labour arbitrage that comes from locating processes offshore, when it makes sense to do so, can be an important component of ensuring your outsourcing program yields the cost savings you expect. However, before you select a global outsourcing partner, ensure that the company has a single point of accountability in the regions where they have customer relationships. A single point of accountability means, for example, that the corporate entity in each country is a wholly owned subsidiary with its own CEO and Board of Directors. When a locally accountable leadership team also has access to shared services and support from other regional subsidiaries around the world, these companies can truly provide a partnership that gives you the best of both worlds — locally available and accountable leadership combined with global human, financial and technological resources.
What this will mean to you, like the school administration means to me, is that you can connect with the executive leadership when needed. Most importantly, you can connect with an executive who understands you, your business and your customers. You’ll be partnering with a company that promotes a culture that is more aligned with your objectives and with your customers. It means the relationship will be stronger and more sustainable. It may mean a difference between a good or poor experience for your customer and ultimately the perception of your brand.
This is far too important to overlook.