Outsourcing or offshoring is definitely a solution to a lot of creative production challenges. But, the process of sending work to an offshore production partner can be very complex and challenging. Different ways of working, communication challenges, language barriers, and cultural differences add to the complexity of the whole practice.
Some of the common pitfalls that both onshore and offshore creative teams experience during outsourcing endeavors are:
- Unclear project scope: When project scope is not articulated between both the parties, evaluation of success or failure is eventually dependent on subjective interpretation.
- Expectation alignment dysfunction: Unclear SLAs and creativity levels can create creative havoc. Also, unaligned expectations lead to an incapability to reach the expected goal.
- Culture shock: It’s easy to work with people living in the same country, but when it’s about offshoring, a basic level of understanding of culture need to be met so that every person involved in the project is on the same page.
- Mismanaged communication-The timing and level of communication must be planned to the utmost detail – what to report ( job, type, level ) to whom ( stakeholder) and when (defined timeline).
However, meticulously executed creative outsourcing can be a vital strategy for brands, agencies and publishers to stay competitive and fortify their position in the ever-evolving advertising market. To begin with, a risk-proof transition process can result in laying the fundamentals for an alliance between an offshore partner and the customer that can last for several years to come.
Following are some of the transition tips that businesses can follow for not ending up as a creative offshoring failure story:
1. Plan to frame the best transition framework
Offshoring plan should be process-centric and location agnostic. The transition phase has to be well-planned primarily and agreed upon with clearly defined deliverables and creativity targets before starting with the outsourcing process. Following are a number of key activities that should be implemented before venturing into an offshoring agreement.
- Secure commitment and support from stakeholders
- Outline a strategy consisting of goals and objectives
- Outline areas that determine the scope and limitations for offshoring – Core & Non-Core
- KPI’s should be charted both for transition and operational state
2. Familiarization of cultures
Cultural risk can be the major culprit leading to miscommunication and mistrust which in turn can cause disconnected info flow that might result in poor creative project performance.
Cultural sensitization and training is the best way to facilitate both the parties in serving the common business interest. To achieve this, it’s essential to create an environment where it is fine to ask questions to get clarity on any ambiguity.
Basic training on common industry terminology before the commencement of the project should be done to avoid miscommunication during production. With fewer possibilities of disputes and team dysfunction, time and money are eventually saved.
3. Transition governance
A transition can be described as the streamlined transfer of services from one creative team to another according to the contractual requirements. Powerful transition governance requires participation of both the parties to plan, execute and achieve unified goals.
The transition governance should include:
- Define objectives, map roles, and responsibilities
- Setting clear expectations on deliverables and define SLAs
- Strong communication system to empower collaboration and knowledge transfer
- Setting up a streamlined workflow and document processes
- Deployment of the risk management and business continuity plan to identify issues before they crop up and make sure recovery measures are put in place
- Monitor & measure performance; optimize wherever needed
4. A pilot project always helps!
A pilot project always helps to understand the underlying problems that will only get noticed once the live work starts. The project transition is not just about signing off the services and giving handover, but it is more about learning from the mistakes, mapping requirements and streamlining the delivery model to maximize ROI.
Ready. Set. Go
In today’s pressured, fast-paced and complex advertising market, businesses are actively opting for selective outsourcing, wherein they keep some parts of creative operation cycle in-house ( mostly, strategy development) and outsource the rest ( (creative production) to the outsourcing partner, also considering the technical and industry expertise.
For more than a decade, Express KCS has been supporting brands, agencies, and publishers with outsourced creative production services. Our home brewed Ready-Set-Go transition methodology has proven to be very effective during creative offshoring.
The entire approach allows stakeholders from both the customer’s end and Express KCS onshore/offshore teams to collaborate at multiple levels and work together to deliver consistent results. Furthermore, it also provides flexibility to adapt, modify and evolve processes based on ever-changing client requirements.
If you would like to know more about our transition approach or need help in creative production, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.