The Co-Sourcing Advantage
It’s no secret that changes over the last year – both sudden and gradual – have created a tumultuous business landscape for many industries. From rapidly evolving consumer profiles, to a shrinking workforce to the race to AI enablement, organizations have faced pressure from all directions to evolve. But in an ongoing workforce crisis (one that seems it could be here to stay), how can leaders navigate emerging trends and stay competitive?
Thriving in this environment takes more than acquiring fresh talent or reskilling existing teams – it takes a strategic approach to multiplying the value of your new and existing resources.
And that’s where breaking away from traditional, inflexible, and short-sighted sourcing models becomes imperative. Investing in a Managed Services partner opens the door to readily available, in-demand expertise that is designed to help you overcome current obstacles while maximizing the return on your existing investments.
It’s a solution that delivers future-focused quality – rather than the quick-fix you may find with other sourcing options. Where the latter options often drive dependency and fail to build capability, co-sourcing will help you find lasting success.
In this blog, we’ll explore the ways that our Managed Services (or Teams-as-a-Service) solution can act as a transformative value multiplier for your business. Specifically, we’ll look at how this co-sourcing solution can help you streamline your operations, boost your workforce productivity, foster continuity, and grow your bottom-line – regardless of market conditions.
We’ll highlight five ways this model helps you multiply the value of your workforce when compared to traditional sourcing methods:
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Plus, we’ll provide the answers to two critical questions you’re likely asking:
First, “How does investing in this solution help me save money over time?” And second, “How will I continue to benefit from co-sourcing once the project has ended?”
Let’s get started.
#1: Building Lasting Capabilities
Whether it’s pressure for digital transformation or the push to become carbon neutral, today’s organizations may feel that making quick, hurried changes is the best strategy for keeping up with emerging trends. And even though there may be initial success, quick fixes will fall short in the long-term. What businesses really need if they wish to make meaningful progress, is to initiate change in a sustainable way. This is especially true in a turbulent business environment, where most leaders are combatting widespread workforce shortages.
That’s why our Managed Services place a strong emphasis on building lasting capabilities, so that businesses can not only make the changes they want to see, but also sustain and compound those improvements over time.
Identifying Capabilities & Building Understanding: A co-sourcing partner works with you to thoroughly assess and understand your existing internal capabilities so it’s easier to identify where you want to go, and what you'll need to get there. But to achieve sustainable change, you have to build capabilities that last. This requires a level of understanding around the “what” and the “why.” By working with Teams-as-a-Service, you’ll gain the resources you need to fully understand the capabilities being developed. Plus, your teams will receive coaching on why that capability matters to overall success, so that the work continues when our experts are gone. This coaching becomes especially impactful as co-sourced talent integrates with your existing teams, creating an immersive environment for on-the-job capability exposure and development.
Engaging Leadership: While it may not always be leaders who need capability enhancement, their engagement is critical to success. Co-sourcing experts can work with your senior leaders to help them understand objectives, support them while putting teams into place, and assist with vision setting and repeating processes. Plus, engaging a third-party partner will help create neutral ground for adoption. This neutrality allows for a more accurate and unbiased view of your current state, as well as the ability to push the work forward without a personal agenda.
Transformation Management: With a co-sourcing partner – specifically one experienced in transformation management, like North Highland – your teams will experience the power of a continuous improvement mindset. Having a partner that’s guided by change and transformation also ensures the assembly of teams that know how to initiate transformation and deliver change long-term. More importantly, through this partnership your teams will adopt a similar change-focused mindset, ensuring a lasting environment of continuous improvement.
Creating Space for Growth: One of the reasons the above tactics are so impactful is that co-sourcing helps create the space to learn. This model prevents you from having to pause or delay certain initiatives or processes as you wait for your teams to learn and adopt necessary skills and capabilities. Rather, a co-sourcing partner will allow you to allocate appropriate time to learning while still executing the tasks that keep your business competitive. This also means that your employees can work at the top of their license and operate strategically while building capabilities for the future.
In short, partnering with a Managed Services or Teams-as-a-Service provider is the best strategy for achieving continuous and lasting improvement. You’ll receive the tools, coaching, and other resources you need to continue building and measuring progress, even after the project has ended.
CLIENT EXAMPLE: By focusing on building lasting capabilities, our teams helped a major British multinational retailer enact a project to product transformation. By deploying people with experience in a product way of working and the appropriate skills and mindset, we were able to accelerate this capability within our client’s organization.
One of the ultimate benefits of co-sourcing? Flexibility.
Current limitations on talent and other resources make it challenging for businesses to get their hands on additional support. What they need is a workforce that knows how to pivot. With an adaptive workforce solution, you can enable existing talent to nimbly shift gears to overcome new and existing obstacles.
Our co-sourcing model makes this possible by flexing to meet needs that are specific to your business, your teams, and your timeline. In short, it’s responsive to your reality. So, what does it mean to be “responsive to your reality?”
It means that this co-sourcing model is responsive to any constraints or forces in and outside of your business. This can include budget, policy changes, demand, shifts in consumer behavior, macro-economic or geo-political factors, and much more. This is made possible by analyzing how each of these forces connect specifically to your operations, so we can develop a solid partnership built on understanding. But more importantly, our Teams-as-a-Service remains responsive and flexible throughout the lifecycle of your partnership, so that this model can work to multiply value even as new challenges emerge.
But what exactly can this responsiveness do for your enterprise? Let’s put it in action:
Cost-saving: This may sound contradictory, but hear us out. Even though a co-sourcing model is an investment in itself, it brings short- and long-term benefits for your overall bottom line. And these benefits will appreciate over time. But responsiveness specifically boosts ROI in three ways:
- Teams-as-a-Service can flex with your resource model, bringing people in and getting them up to speed more quickly, which reduces the total outlay you’ll have on your people.
- Dependencies can inevitably change and fluctuate over the course of a project – the intuitive reflexiveness of our model means we can pivot swiftly and prevent wasting time and money.
- An adaptive approach enables you to assess and reassess at a quicker rate, expediting the problem-solving process and reducing the time it takes to implement a solution.
- This model has the capability to quickly adapt and evolve to be the best fit for existing teams and leadership. A more cohesive partnership leads to stronger workforce engagement, which in turn generates higher productivity levels and a boosted ROI.
Future-readiness: Have you ever designed an in-depth plan for a project, only to realize things look entirely different once inside the situation? You know best that it’s not uncommon for unforeseen challenges to arise for your business, whether it’s in enterprise-wide initiatives or day-to-day operations. Teams-as-a-Service gives you the ability to reassess and adapt to these surprises. And as an added benefit, the flexibility to swap out necessary skills and resources via your co-sourcing partner will prevent talent displacement, cutbacks, and other permanent changes within your staff. But more importantly, it’s a lasting capability we’ll develop alongside your teams. With the knowledge transfer outlined in the previous section on lasting capabilities, your permanent teams will become experts in responsiveness.
Risk mitigation: As part of the initiative to remain flexible and responsive, Teams-as-a-Service offers a pilot model option for clients. And in today’s unpredictable business environments, this is critical in mitigating future risk – especially where finances are concerned. The proactive demand planning of Teams-as-a-Service helps to ensure that you pay for the right people at the right time. This demand planning also lends support to greater continuity and lack of institutional knowledge, meaning you face less risk of future operational disruption or gaps in capabilities.
The responsiveness of our co-sourcing model is predominantly fueled by a flexibility-focused approach. But it’s important to note that it is further empowered by deep and wide-ranging industry expertise, from transportation to healthcare and beyond. Being well-versed in cross-industry capability development, solution design, and process improvement helps us quickly deploy teams that can flex and adapt to your specific needs.
CLIENT EXAMPLE: Our responsive model supports clients in moments of high and low demand and is best captured by two key examples. In one instance, as a retail client’s objectives shifted, we were able to ramp down the level of support being provided to better align with their needs. But on the other hand, as a client (also in the retail industry) had a stronger than anticipated start to the year, we quickly ramped up our support to help them capitalize on momentum.
Sometimes, it’s hard to understand the cost of poor quality until you experience a high-quality solution. Teams-as-a-Service can prevent your business from paying the cost of poor quality, and instead, help you reap the benefits of an adaptive solution. Here’s how:
Cost-savings: Engaging with a partner that delivers higher caliber talent, resources, and capabilities is vital to growing your bottom line and even saving money down the line. This comes down to three ways of thinking:
First, you get what you pay for. Premier co-sourcing partners will keep you from the cyclical trap of paying less for lower quality solutions, only to have you spend more money on recurring issues in the future. While they may not charge a premium, low-quality solutions are ill-equipped to help your organization overcome current and future challenges, develop lasting capabilities, or enact lasting transformation. Instead, what happens is that these ‘lower cost’ solutions ultimately end up siphoning your time and money because they create a cycle of dependency on their work. The opposite is true when working with a strategic managed service provider.
Second, high-quality partners understand capacity challenges. With North Highland, what it essentially comes down to is fewer, better people. We seek to build strong partnerships with clients that are centered on a mutual understanding of what drives the business and what they need. Then, we provide talent with advanced, diverse skillsets that can get up to speed quickly and get the work done.
Third, don’t overlook global reach. You need talent that is diverse and accessible. When you have access to a more expansive pool of talent, you receive teams with exactly what you need that drive better results. Not to mention, a larger pool makes it far easier to deploy well-aligned talent that can seamlessly integrate into existing teams. This thinking is backed by North Highland’s multi-industry expertise, which enables our experts to design and deploy teams to your organization that have experience in and can adapt to varying contexts.
When you get the right people with the right standards, you don't have to worry about replacing them if they are not performing. This leads to better outcomes, more consistent experiences, and an overall smoother partnership.
#4: Targeted Teams (The Pod Model)
An effective method within the world of co-sourcing is the design and deployment of ‘pods.’ Managed service pods are a way of organizing talent resources into teams that are calibrated to your specific business need or challenge. These teams are then deployed within your organization, allocating their skills and expertise to where they’re needed most.
Here’s what makes our pod model unique:
Outcomes-focused approach: Using managed service pods is an effective way to achieve desired outcomes. It involves assembling a fully-formed team with diverse skillsets, who have ownership of delivering the desired outcome. These teams also often have experience working together, which lends itself to a more cohesive and collaborative environment. These dynamics are monumental in allowing you to capitalize on momentum as the deployed pods can approach workforce transformation with a hit-the-ground-running mentality, reducing the time it takes to see improvements. This system is also designed to effectively measure progress, helping you build a pathway to improving ROI and realizing business benefits in and outside of workforce strategy.
Ability to re-deploy teams: Another benefit of the pods is that once an outcome is delivered, the high-performing team can be easily redeployed to other areas of your business. They can be modified for different skillsets based on your needs, but retaining team members that have already worked within your organization is another way to ensure a smooth partnership. This is also immensely beneficial to businesses struggling to navigate today’s environment, where priorities are changing at an accelerated rate.
CLIENT EXAMPLE: Our Teams-as-a-Service deployed pods to help a major U.S. airline deliver a much-needed web experience upgrade. This organization was looking for a quicker, more intuitive way to find, publish, and share news about the company and the airline industry. North Highland helped them meet this goal by creating the vision for a digital news site with multi-platform and social capabilities. The success of this partnership was largely fueled by the strategic deployment of pods that carried vital expertise in agile, visual design, content strategy, and behavioral UX.
#5: Seamless Integration
We’re familiar with the skepticism surrounding co-sourcing as an alternative to traditional sourcing methods. There are several reasons why the former outweighs the latter – including those listed above. But one that stands out in particular, is the seamless integration of core talent and capabilities into your existing frameworks.
How can Teams-as-a-Service ensure this? By prioritizing your culture and deploying teams that feel like your own.
When embedding new talent within your organization, it’s a much smoother and more lucrative process when they align with your unique workplace culture and values. It helps to ensure that they can seamlessly integrate into existing structures, minimizing or eliminating potential disruption. While traditionally sourced teams may generate friction or clashing, culture cohesion is an area in which co-sourcing excels. A co-sourcing partner can achieve this through:
Thorough Cultural Assessments: This involves working with both the leadership and those on the ground to understand the ins and outs of your culture. Identifying what makes your organization unique enables our experts to assemble talent that doesn't just align with business needs, but with your mission and values too.
High Quality and The Pod Model: As we described earlier, quality can make or break sourcing success. Only partnering with diverse, quality talent makes it far easier to vet, build, and deploy teams with capabilities and cultural intelligence. And when that approach is combined with The Pod Model, quality talent can be strategically embedded in a way that fosters connectivity and collaboration between the “pods” and your organization.
Reimagine your talent strategy
Today’s business environment has proven to be far from traditional, so why try to navigate it with traditional models? As we’ve outlined here, Managed Services or Teams-as-a-Service emerges as an innovative model that is responsive to your unique business reality. Because remaining resilient in a rapidly evolving environment requires future-focused strategies. By trusting North Highland as your co-sourcing partner, you’ll witness your workforce transform into one that is prepared to overcome obstacles – without missing a step.