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Unified Communications & Contact Center Options – Making the Transition

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Imagine a customer calling for detailed, technical information about your products and services. These calls can be cumbersome for customer service employees who don’t possess the technical knowledge about a specific product or service. Now imagine those same customer service employees having a comprehensive menu on their computer screens describing the exact technical knowledge about that specific product or service, as well as other detailed information the inquiring customer can use to make an informed decision right away.

In the world of UC (Unified Communications), technical customer service calls are handled and processed much differently than they were just a decade ago.

Transitioning to a UC platform improves communications both internally and externally by arming employees with better technology tools that add value to the overall communication process. This article contains helpful knowledge and insights to assist you in the transition to a unified communications platform. 

UC is essentially a unified platform for communications in all its forms. Potentially, this can include land-lines and cellular phones, e-mail, instant messaging (IM), VoIP, IP-PBX, fax, voice mail, conference calls, video conferencing, whiteboard and unified messaging. Your employees will have presence within your business communications – whether they are physically in the office or not.  

The concept of presence is easy to understand within instant messaging where a “buddy status” is available at a glance. UC takes this a step further by grouping these “buddies” together by specialized skills and attaching them to specific knowledge areas. All of this would be available at a glance.  

UC allows for real-time delivery of all these forms of communication within a single environment that users can access within a simple interface. For example, customer service staff could have a list of employees knowledgeable about a product, along with the best method for immediately contacting that person who has the correct answers about the details of the product.  

By clicking on a contact icon, a call can be made, or even a page or a whiteboard session accessed to bridge key information on the product, customer and employee contacts simultaneously.   If your business doesn’t already have it, Unified Messaging (UM) can offer communications integration, albeit on a smaller scale than UC.

Unified Messaging is capable of grouping together communications from different sources, such as e-mail, faxes and voice mail, but does not allow (in all instances) real-time delivery. Unified   Messaging systems store these multi-platform communications for the user to access information at his or her discretion.

Still, nowadays, UM does provide improved communication synchronization to an extent that was not available just a decade ago.   It is important to understand that while UM does offer efficiencies by grouping communications together; it is not the same thing as UC. Oftentimes, these terms are interchanged and interpreted to have the same meaning.

Again, they are not the same. Tying communications together in a UC platform can have a tremendous positive impact on productivity at your business. Businesses with offices across the globe have an excellent opportunity to synchronize communications as they occur around the clock in real time. Additional functionality allows calls to be routed according to preset rules.  

For example, if an employee is working at a remote location outside the office, the UC system can route a call to their cell phone and then a voice message into their voice mail.   At the heart of UC is the Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology that allows analog phone conversations to be transmitted over the Internet. UC basically expands that functionality by allowing other communications through the same protocol.   Transitioning to UC does not have to be an overwhelming process.

First, consider what usable technology your business already has and how those assets could be integrated into the new platform. Consider what communications are already transmitted utilizing the Internet Protocol (IP). It could be that your business is only a few steps away from integrating these into a truly unified format that dramatically increases productivity. 

Another benefit of introducing UC to your business is enhanced security within your company’s communications that was never present before. Without UC, communications occur over multiple data formats using multiple protocols, and you may not have control over certain information. Integrating these data formats using UC gives your company the ability to better manage the overall communications process. 

The necessary equipment for creating a UC infrastructure includes various software applications and hardware equipment. The Microsoft version of the UC solution is built around the Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and the Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 for the interface. Microsoft, of course, is geared toward the software UC solution. Its server software is designed to be deployed on a dedicated communications server.  

Cisco, the IT hardware equipment manufacturer most widely known for its routers and switches and its reputation as the “backbone of the Internet,” also offers software UC solutions, along with the necessary hardware equipment. Cisco is more widely known as a hardware company; so naturally, the company’s UC solution is more hardware-based.  

The two big players in the world of IT have developed UC solutions. Which one is best for you is really a function of your specific requirements and your company’s monetary resources to support and maintain the technology. Keep in mind that there are tailored solutions available from both Microsoft and Cisco customized for the size of your business. 

Microsoft’s Office Communications Server 2007 comes in two editions: Standard and Enterprise. The Standard Edition is intended for SMBs that have one server platform on one machine. Along with the accompanying Standard Client Access License (CAL) it allows for messaging, peer-to-peer video and voice, and file transfers all to occur within an integrated and familiar Microsoft Office environment.   

An advantage Microsoft has in the small-business world is the familiarity of its products. As with any Microsoft application, upon installing Office Communications Server 2007 and starting up the application, you become instantly familiar with the interface and notice that it is very intuitive based on your familiarity with Microsoft products.

The Standard Edition is intended for organizations that do not require server clustering and does not utilize the virtual server environment. 

The Enterprise Edition is intended for larger businesses running more than one server. With this edition, your organization gains the features offered by the Standard Edition, with the purchase of a Standard license, along with additional enterprise features. These include the sharing of applications, VoIP backed by a software solution, Web conferencing and comprehensive telephony management.  

The Enterprise Edition requires that Standard Edition licensing be purchased. Once the correct licenses are purchased, full access to the entire range of features offered by the Enterprise version and the Standard version of the Microsoft Unified Communications platform becomes available. 

Communicator is the client application for the Microsoft UC platform. Accessing the application allows the user an integrated communications environment, including instant messaging, voice and video communications. Of course, all communications are easily integrated into Microsoft software such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and the newer ones such as SharePoint, Groove, and OneNote.  

Deploying the solution within a pre-existing Microsoft environment allows for easy integration of address books and other directories established at the corporate level. Calendars are also integrated within the UC platform, even out-of-office messages previously established within Outlook. 

With UC in place, users find they can easily change modes of communication. A conversation could begin with a simple IM, for example, and then with a quick click on a button, users can switch to a video conference should the need arise. Or, users could transfer files back and forth from the Communicator interface. However communications occurred previously, by using various Microsoft applications, these are all integrated into one interface within Communicator. 

Cisco’s approach to a UC solution is quite different from Microsoft’s. Cisco offers a set of managed services at the SMB and mid-market level, and a different set of managed services customized for the enterprise-sized business.

Cisco approaches the UC platform with both hardware and software solutions.   At the SMB level, Cisco’s UC platform solution is the Cisco Unified Communications 500 Series for Small Business. This system supports varied common communications needs within a small business including voice, video, secure wireless access and productivity enhancements for external users.

Deploying the solution enhances network security at your small business with tried-and-true Cisco technology. This edition is designed for businesses with 50 or fewer users of the system.   Depending on the size of your SMB, the Cisco UC solution is available at increased levels of accessibility.

The Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express is designed for up to 240 users, the Business Edition for up to 500 users and the full version of Cisco Unified Communications Manager is extensible from 150 to an unlimited number of users. 

Advanced features are available with the Cisco system even at the SMB level. Features such as music on hold and basic call-center capability are built into the UC platform.  

At the enterprise level, Cisco’s UC solution includes routing, switching and security hardware along with the software applications used to manage the entire network. Security on the enterprise is enhanced with the Cisco hardware and software approach, including wireless communications, which are notoriously susceptible to a security breach.

The enterprise solution is tailor-made for your business, taking into consideration the lifecycle of your network, and includes the option to outsource management of network resources to Cisco and the installation of third-party communications software.  

The hardware bundled with the Cisco UC platform includes the VoIP-enabled phones and various other hardware options, depending on the size of your business. SMBs get software that monitors and manages the VoIP phones on a single server, while enterprise-level organizations also get routers and switches, as needed. Enterprises that already have Cisco routers and switches find the UC platform an added feature that only needs to be enabled to use. 

Cisco’s most advanced phones, the Unified IP Phones 7900 Series, are capable of integrating voice data and video straight through the phone. Voice mail can be accessed using a computer, and applications can be run on the phone itself, including clock-in functions for payroll services, on-screen display of information customized for your business needs and support for wireless communications standards.  

Cisco hardware provides an extra level of security for your network. For example, the Catalyst 6500 Series switch, Cisco’s flagship model, virtually guarantees confidential communications between client and customer with the ability to instantly detect threats and contain them. Network administrators have control over whom and what can attach to the network and can define specific security policies. 

Cisco routers are where communications integration occurs. Security is also standard here through firewalls, data encryption and built-in protection from would-be hackers. These routers are modular in nature, so as your business expands, more devices can be easily added, as needed.   Basically, switches are used to connect various IP-enabled devices within your network, and routers are used to tie the networks together. Switches can be managed or unmanaged in that a managed switch is programmable, while an unmanaged switch comes fully ready upon shipment. Routers become the first line of defense to your network against outside Internet threats.  

Whichever solution is best for your business, it’s important to keep in mind that a UC solution will provide enhanced security within your network. Inherent within Unified Communications is the ability to integrate the various forms of communications that occur at your business.

The transparency involved also provides an enhanced level of management including the ability to back up all the communications including voice mail.  At first, it may seem unnecessary to back up all the communications at your company, but if your organization needs to comply to Sarbanes-Oxley requirements, as all U.S. publicly traded companies are, then you have a need to create these backups.

Additionally, if you work in a health-care-related environment, your company may have to be compliant to certain HIPPA mandates.   Consider a situation where you have a need for disaster recovery. Hurricane Katrina, in 2005, forced many executives in the New Orleans area to act on the urgent need for disaster recovery.   

Remember, UC allows for real-time delivery of communications in its varied forms within a single environment that a user can access using a simple client interface. This interface is standardized across the business environment. UC also enhances employee collaboration regardless of where employees are physically located. 

For example, employees brainstorming about a new project could establish a live whiteboard session and work interactively in real time even if the office sites are thousands of miles apart.  

It is important to consider what communications platforms you already possess at your business and how integrating these would enhance productivity in your operations.

Do you utilize instant messaging? How about voice mail or whiteboard sessions? Are any of these communications transmitted over IP already? By further tying your communications together on a true Unified Communications platform, your customers and employees are able to communicate in multiple data formats.  

In retrospect, the concept of UC began with the development of VoIP (Voice-over Internet Protocol), which allowed analog phone conversations to be transmitted in a digital format over the Internet. With core-business processes becoming more and more digitized, UC basically expands that concept by allowing other forms of communication to be transmitted digitally. 

Another important consideration when you decide to transition to a UC platform is the enhanced level of security that will be introduced to your business communications. Without UC, the varied forms of communication are transmitted over a diversity of media minimally controlled by your company. Bringing these together under a UC platform gives your company the ability to manage and monitor these transmissions just as it would with basic e-mail. 

ransitioning to a UC platform can help your business accelerate past the competition and streamlines your business operations. 

Below are some important considerations when making the transition to a unified platform. Answering these questions will help you understand how transitioning to a Unified Communications platform can significantly improve both internal employees and external communications with customers:  

1. Does your business really need to transition to a UM platform at this time or can it wait until later?  

2. What current technologies and assets do you currently own that can be integrated into a UC platform?  

3. What resources (including all equipment, software, technical skills, training and maintenance) will it take to make this transition over to a Unified Communications platform?  

4. How will the transition to a UC platform affect communication internally within your business and externally to your customers?  

5. By what means and methods will your company communicate the rollout of a Unified Communications system?  

For many companies, introducing Unified Communications to your business will enhance productivity and give your employees access to more useful information in real time.  It’s critical that management objectively calculate the total cost of owning and managing its own internal UC platform versus having certain of the components outsourced through a hosted solution.

Many companies find it more cost effective to own some components and outsource others. Companies that at least consider the options available to them by adopting a fully integrated UC platform position themselves to differentiate their company from the competition with high-impact, time-sensitive communications across the enterprise.  

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Top 10 Tips For Beginners And Veterans – Escape From Tarkov

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Top 10 Tips For Beginners And Veterans - Escape From Tarkov

New at the legendary Escape from Tarkov? Or have you been playing it for quite a while now? In either case, a little help never hurts.

You might be unfamiliar with specific tactics that could enhance your game and make you better. But what are those? To know more about these ways to ace your game, visit Battlelog. Escape from Tarkov hack from their team is the best way to master the game. Plus, we also have these 10 tips and tricks for EFT below that you can check out!

1.  Master Maps One-by-One

Being a trader of all crafts and master of none never benefited anyone. And if you do that with Escape from Tarkov, you’ll never improve your skill. As a beginner, try not to divert your attention to various maps unless you’ve mastered one or two.

When you start playing EFT, begin by trying maps like Customs and Interchange. These maps aren’t too tricky and familiarize you well with the game. Once you’ve mastered them, move on to improving your fighting skills. But remember, learning maps one by one is the best way to become an expert.

2.  Pro-tip: Practice Offline

You’re an EFT pro, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need practicing occasionally. In fact, the more you practice, the better you’ll become. But practicing in the online mode isn’t a wise option. Because you will keep losing health and spend your money unnecessarily.

So to practice, switch to offline mode. It’s the best way to learn how to fight Scavs well, how the maps work, and where extraction points are located. Keep polishing up your skills in the offline mode.

3.  Insurance Works in EFT too

Insurance isn’t just for your car and home anymore. In EFT, you can insure your weapons and belongings. This doesn’t mean that if the enemy loots you, you’ll get compensation for them. But it’s still advantageous because it often lets you have your weapons even after you die.

If you’re an experienced player, insuring your weapons is even better. If the enemy who loots it from you later dies, you can claim your weapons back. This way, you don’t lose those precious guns and rifles after a challenging game.

4.  Be Careful After Killing

You might be tempted to loot an enemy as soon as he dies. Even experienced players often do it. But this isn’t always a wise move.

When you kill someone, there might be some other enemy lurking around. And in your fit to loot the dead, you might not even pay attention to the enemy who’s hiding nearby. So after you kill, wait for a little to see if anyone surfaces or makes a sound. If you feel like the territory is safe, proceed to loot and move on.

5.  Be a SCAV friend when playing as a SCAV

Escape from Tarkov often lets you play as a SCAV. When you do, you don’t have weapons of your own. But you also don’t carry any liabilities. So even if you die in the game, you won’t lose essential weapons.

But here’s something every pro player knows that a beginner should too. As a SCAV, you shouldn’t attack other SCAVs. But why? Isn’t that foolish? Well, not really. In fact, doing that will attract negative attention to you and make the game difficult.

6.  Complete Quests – Lots of Them

Completing quests in a shooting game might sound lame to you. But it is an excellent way to gain experience and some other perks.

In Escape from Tarkov, you can complete various quests to get rewards and gear. Of course, some quests don’t reward you as much, and the items they grant aren’t helpful. But you can always trade them or sell them to stock up on weapons. Use the Flea Market for trading such goods.

7.  Go to Dorms

This tip isn’t really for beginners. But for experienced players, it makes the game thrilling and more rewarding.

Dorms are a dangerous location because they often contain the best loot in EFT. They are also home to the SCAV boss, and many players frequent this place looking for loots. But when you’re feeling up to it, raid a dorm to get the best loot possible.

8.  Switch between passive and aggressive style

This rule works for any combat game, but for EFT, it does wonders. As a player, you should have enough instincts to know when to play passively and go aggressive.

As a rule of thumb, be as passive as possible unless you’re faced with an opponent. Move around sneakily and make as little sound as possible. But once you’re in a fight, don’t shy away from landing a few hard blows of your own.

9.  Have a CMS Kit

In Escape from Tarkov, it will be too difficult to win if your limbs are dead or wounded. You have to reach an extraction point without your feet working properly. But recently, the makers added a surgical kit called the CMS to the game.

With the CMS kit, you can get your limbs healed quickly. It is a significant investment, and whenever you plan to go for combat, keep this one handy.

10.Know Your Sounds

EFT has an excellent sound mechanism. You can hear your enemies, and they can listen to you. In fact, everything from aiming a gun to moving makes a sound. So you have to be highly conscious.

While trying to ambush or kill someone, aim at them from as far as possible. This way, there’s little chance of them hearing you. Similarly, move stealthily to make fewer sounds. And no matter what, pay attention to enemy sounds too.

Conclusion

Whether you’re an expert veteran or a newbie at the game, you will benefit aplenty from these 10 EFT tips. Comment down below which one helped you the most in your game.

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Work Breakdown Structure and Outsourcing

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Every outsourcing project should create and make a WBS available to all its outsourcing staff. What is a WBS and how can it help you manage your outsourcing project? All projects consist of small tasks and quality control procedures. A Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) breaks down all the tasks that must be performed on the project and estimates timing and resources for each task as well as the order the tasks should be done in. It pays to have a clear and effective WBS in all your outsourcing projects.

An effective Work Breakdown Structure starts with high level activities (these may be your milestones) and breaks these activities down into lower and lower levels until you’ve covered every conceivable step in the process. Before you ever begin work on a project, also confirm with your outsource staff that they understand the overview and the individual components of your WBS and give them the opportunity to ask questions. It is never helpful to assume that they have it all under control. It is preferable that if any questions or problems arise they do so before the project has even started.

An example of a WBS is if one of your milestones is submission of the first draft of chapter one of a book someone is ghostwriting for you. You would then break that down into its smaller steps, like research, outlining, and writing. These steps would then, in turn, be broken down into even smaller steps, like types of research, verification of facts, and so on.

For each low-level task, estimate time needed for completion, start and end dates, human resources required, and in what order each task should be completed. Obviously, facts can’t be verified until the research is done but you get the gist.

If you have the knowledge and background to begin a WBS during the planning stages for your project, please do so. Regardless of whether or not you’ve already started the WBS, work with your provider to nail down the details and finalize the breakdown.

A well thought out Work Breakdown Structure is of immense help to any project, small or large. It enables your freelance staff to work with confidence and it enables you to know that your outsourcers can carry out the work competently. A good Work breakdown Structure will also minimize hiccups, saving time, money and energy.

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Potential Cost Savings Associated With Legal Outsourcing

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“How much can I save?” “What is the cost of legal work done offshore?” “Please give me a quote for 100 hours per month for legal work done in India.” “What is your hourly rate?” “How much do you charge for ______?” These are the questions and requests directed my way at the beginning of conversation when someone contacts me about sending certain legal tasks offshore for completion.

Regularly I advise potential clients that the first question to be asked, either of a lawyer or someone potentially assisting in the outsourcing of a legal project, is not “how much?” Instead, at the outset, determination should be made whether those who would work on the project have the skills, training and experience to complete the assignment(s) in a quality fashion. This necessarily involves a clear delineation of the proposed undertaking and the expectations of the outsourcer. Further, what are the assurances of confidentiality? Can the time deadline for completion be met? What about conflicts of interest? These questions should be asked of every U.S. lawyer whose services might be retained. Likewise, they should be asked of every person or entity involved in outsourcing legal assignments. It should be noted that offshore lawyers are not licensed in the U.S. and do not provide “legal services” or advice. Foreign attorneys, working offshore, complete assignments under the supervision and review of qualified U.S. attorneys in generally the same manner as paralegals, summer law clerks or junior associates in the U.S. Indeed, the Code of Professional Conduct requires such supervision.

Cost savings achievable from outsourcing, however, seems to be the burning issue of the day. Large law firms, in particular, are looking for ways of cutting costs to maintain profitability or to even survive in challenging economic times. Dan DiPietro, client head of Law Firm Group of the Citi Private Bank, offered Storm Warnings (American Lawyer, Dec 2007) in observing “for the first time since 2001, expense growth actually outpaced that of revenue from January through June, depressing profit margins.” Sounding an ominous note, DiPietro observed that the biggest expense increases were in associate salaries and in occupancy and technology costs. His warning proved prophetic, as a number of old-line law firms closed their doors in 2008 including Heller Ehrman, Thelen LLP, and Thacher, Proffitt & Wood. Other large law firms are reducing staff and lawyers, including de-equitizing partners. Corporate clients are cutting the number of outside firms they engage, while pushing them to become more efficient. It is becoming increasingly apparent that difficult decisions are on the horizon for many law firms and their clients. Law firms want to retain their rainmakers, secure the best legal talent available and keep their profits per partner high. Clients want their overall costs for outside counsel reduced. How will these issues be addressed, particularly in a difficult economic climate? Outsourcing is one way of potentially confronting the challenges. Thus, the question, how much can I save?

Assuming the proper initial inquires have been made and adequately addressed, what are the cost savings reasonably attainable by an outsourcing U.S. law firm and its clients? Answering that question necessarily involves a comparative analysis of revenue and expenses. Suppose a large U.S. law firm wishes to consider outsourcing work that might otherwise be performed by one U.S. associate working exclusively for one of the law firm’s corporate clients. The junior associate bills 2000 hours annually at the lawyer’s hourly billable rate of $200.00, for a total annual cost to the corporate client (and income to the law firm) of $400,000. The law firm’s expenses chargeable against the income produced by its associate include the lawyer’s base salary ($160,000) and bonus (say $20,000) plus the associate’s share of overhead expenses for occupancy, support staff, benefits, marketing, recruitment, technology and other expenses. In its 2006 survey, Altman Weil, the well-regarded legal consulting firm, estimated average annual law firm expense per lawyer at $161,893. (Doubtless those expenses have increased since 2006, but, for the purposes of conservatism, we will use Altman’s 2006 number in our example.) Altman’s breakdown included promotion ($7,136), reference ($4,655), equipment ($9,299), occupancy ($25,879), staff ($55,147), paralegal ($17,911) and “other”($41,866). In the Altman survey, “other” includes malpractice insurance premiums and settlements, payments to former partners, recruiting costs, and other expenses not shown separately. Adding the associate’s share of expenses ($161,893) to the associate’s total earnings ($180,000) it is apparent that it costs the law firm a total of $341,893 to produce $400,000 in associate income. Let’s call it a $60,000 law firm profit attributable to the associate’s efforts. Put in other terms, it costs the law firm $171 per billable hour of the associate’s time to produce $60,000 of profit.

Now, assume the same 2000 hours were produced offshore at a cost of, say, $75 per hour instead of $171 per hour. (Higher end outsourced work such as legal research or writing might cost in the range of $75.00 per hour, while other kinds of work such as document review would likely be less. For purposes of our analysis, we estimate the overall offshore costs toward the higher end.) The actual cost to the law firm for 2000 offshore hours at $75 per hour would be $150,000 instead of $341,892. Further, the law firm’s client could be billed, say $240,000, for this work instead of $400,000. (Recent bar association ethics advisory opinions allow for a reasonable supervisory fee by the law firm, providing the client is advised of the off shoring and the Code of Professional Conduct, particularly Rule 1.5, is followed). The client would happily achieve a savings of 40%, while the law firm’s profit would also likely increase. Moreover, the law firm would require fewer associates at the ever-escalating salary structure (now starting at $160,000 base) for lawyers from top tier law schools. Because of overall lower costs and a fewer number of new associate hires, the firm would be able to more effectively compete for a reduced number of premier U.S. attorneys it decides to hire. Over time, partner equity and distributions would be shared with a fewer number of individuals. Thus, an outsourcing program for selected legal assignments, carefully implemented and supervised, can potentially result in greater client satisfaction and retention as well as enhanced law firm profitability.

In 2007 Mayer Brown, a 1500 lawyer Chicago based law firm, purged 45 equity partners. While denying any sort of crisis, James Holzhauer, chairman of the firm, commented on the move: “It’s necessary to manage a law firm like you manage any kind of big business and make sure you have the right staffing going forward.” Outsourcing, seen by some law firms as the enemy of law firm profits, may in fact be the opposite. Without doubt, even if some law firms are reluctant to change the traditional ways, their clients are not. In August of 2007 Bloomberg.com observed that “clients are pushing firms like Jones Day and Kirkland & Ellis to send basic legal tasks to India.” It is significant that this “push” came well before the global financial collapse of the last quarter of 2008. Regarding law firms, Holzhauer cautioned in March of 2007: “This (law business) is to a certain extent a fragile business. Our greatest asset is our people. If you’re not economically strong so that you can retain your best people and attract other strong people from elsewhere, a fragile business can have problems.”

Corporate clients are on a mission to reduce legal costs. Some of those clients would prefer to supervise the outsourced work in house, while others apparently are content with their chosen outside U.S. counsel overseeing the offshore work. Irrespective, legal outsourcing is on the table for consideration of cost control. “How much can I save?” is a question being asked by those who, a few short years ago, never imagined entertaining the concept of legal assignments being completed offshore.

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ICT Outsourcing Definitions and Types

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ICT outsourcing can be said as one of the current trends for companies around the world to do their business processes. It is estimated that ICT outsourcing starts in the early 1990s where Kodak uses external partner to handle its ICT resources. As Kodak does not have the expertise in ICT, they hire another company to help them handle the ICT resources. This phenomenon occurs because companies would like to concentrate their core business functions among other benefits. After merely 20 years, outsourcing is now needed by a lot of companies mostly at customer support and also back-office processes and this affects Malaysia as well. Currently, Malaysia is known as a main outsourcing hub for the world, where it is currently ranked third globally behind China and India in the outsourcing industry. This shows how significant outsourcing is to developing countries in Asia.

Outsourcing Definition

Outsourcing is defined as a concept of contracting out part of the organization’s business process to a third party that has the specific skills and services. The third party must have the skills needed by the organization so that the outcome of the outsourced job is as expected. Outsourcing can also be explained as the movement of one or many business functions of a company including its assets to an outside service provider who gives a defined service for an agreed duration of time and payment on a written agreement.

From these two definitions, we can see that outsourcing can be defined with the following characteristics:

1. A company transferring one or many business process to a third party.

2. A third party has the skills and services required for the business process.

3. Has an agreement or contract between the two parties on the price and expected outcome.

Types of Outsourcing

Outsourcing can be separated into two types, namely total outsourcing and selective outsourcing.

The first one is total outsourcing, where the IT budget being used to pay the external vendors is approximately 80% or more than the total. For outsourcing activities that only took less than 80% from the total IT budget, it will be called as selective outsourcing. It is named as ‘selective’ because the company will select only one or several IT functions to be outsourced to a third party.

Aside from these two main outsourcing types, there are also other types of outsourcing that are usually the sub-division from these two main types like insourcing and transitional outsourcing.

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Medical Transcription Outsourcing – The Great Advantages

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If you haven’t started outsourcing your medical transcription work, it may be time you start considering this option. This process includes taken information that is dictated and putting it into a text format so the information can be put into records for patients. You’ll actually find that there are many advantages to going with medical transcription outsourcing. Here is a look at a few of these advantages that your medical facility will appreciate.

One of the main advantages to going with medical transcription outsourcing is the time that you will save. There are many types of reports that must be done in clinics and hospitals, such as consultation notes, discharge summaries, physical reports, lab reports, and more. Having to take care of these files on your own can take a lot of time. Instead of doing this in-house, you can simply send files to a transcription company and once they are transcribed they can be sent back via the web. Outsourcing gives medical facilities the ability to focus more on core activities that are important, such as patient care.

High end security is yet another of the benefits of going with medical transcription. When you send these files to the company, they are sent securely on the web. Then they are transcribed into a format like HTML, ASCII forma, MS Word, or other formats. Then the files are going to be returned through a process that is password protected so only those who are authorized are able to access these files.

When you choose a company to take care of this for you, you can be assured that the transcriptionists working on your projects are highly skilled in the profession and they have a good understanding of the rules for producing these records. Transcriptionists that understand the terminology helps to ensure that your reports are done error free.

Of course, the cost is definitely a big advantage that you’ll enjoy when you go with medical transcription outsourcing. There are many companies that provide you with low cost outsourcing, which can save your medical facility a lot of money. Instead of trying to take care of transcription within your facility, hiring the work out can save money and ensure you get your records completed as quickly as possible.

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How to Succeed With Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)?

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As outsourcing becomes an indispensable part of corporate business strategy, especially during economic downturns, BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) has emerged as an important driver of IT Enabled Services. In very recent years, it has progressed from being considered for limited peripheral activities to encompassing very critical business activities that contribute to strategic advantage.

Though traditionally cost reduction has been the key driver for all outsourcing activities, other drivers such as speed of development, flexibility, expert skills and political maneuvering are equally important, if not more.

To succeed with Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), you must first research and determine if outsourcing should be pursued at all – an initial understanding of the expected size and nature of the deal is a must at this stage. This phase is known as the Assess phase as the involved parties try and establish senior stakeholder expectations at this stage. At the end of this phase, stakeholders should have clarity on the expected benefits, costs and risks of the potential engagement.

Next comes the Prepare phase which encompasses the vendor selection process. More often than not, organisations roll out RFPs (Request for Proposal) documents to find the right outsourcing partner. Fundamental elements of all other phases are defined and agreed upon in this Phase.

Evaluate phase is the third stage of the outsourcing lifecycle and it focuses on structured and thorough evaluation of the proposals received from vendors. At the end of this phase, you should be able to negotiate with selected vendors.

This phase paves the way for the Commit phase which is essentially the pre-contract stage. The Commit phase is by far the most resource intensive and commercially crucial phase as the deal design is finalized and the transition plan is developed in this phase.

Next comes phase 5 which is the Transition and Transform phase. In this phase, a robust transition plan is implemented. In addition, a reporting mechanism is also brought in place at this stage of the outsourcing lifecycle.

The Optimise phase, which comes next, focuses on managing the vendor relationship efficiently, tracking the vendor fees against the original proposal and monitoring contractual obligations. In principal, this phase is an ongoing one until the contract is renewed, renegotiated or exited.

When implemented properly, outsourcing contracts are likely to bestow immense benefits on organisations. No wonder that BPO is seen as a disruptive force that has huge impact on the cost-structure of nearly any industry and that is why it is not easy for organisations to ignore it. The hype around BPO may subside soon, but the business advantages that come with it are here to say as it enables many enterprises to succeed.

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Payroll Outsourcing

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Payroll outsourcing is a very common and growing practice these days. Payroll is an important business function that deals with the process of paying employees for services rendered. Payroll outsourcing can be defined as the accomplishment of a payroll task by some external agency. There are many reasons why companies outsource payroll, but the most prominent benefit lies in the fact that it often saves money. Basic payroll outsourcing services include calculating paycheck and tax obligations for each employee, printing and delivering checks, and providing management reports.

Every business owner knows that handling payroll can be a headache. Preparing payroll internally can cost valuable hours of employee time every pay period, and require expensive accounting software and training. Besides, the person handling payroll of an organization internally needs to keep up to date with changes in personnel, deadlines, and tax requirements on an ongoing basis. Payroll outsourcing is an affordable way to take away these burdens, because it is a time-saving and cost-effective alternative to internal payroll processing.

Payroll actually commences with the worker signing up with a company. A typical payroll report contains items such as gross hourly wages and gross salaries, bonus payments including stock given as a bonus, overtime pay, severance pay, per diem and travel allowance, and contributions to deferred compensation by employees.

Today, payroll outsourcing is a vital part of an organization’s payroll and benefits functions. This will improve employee satisfaction and enable the organization to focus its assets on mission-critical areas. The market for payroll outsourcing services is competitive and there are a number of key points, such as speed, accuracy and ease of use, to consider when opting to use a payroll company.

Though payroll outsourcing may prove highly valuable for many organizations, it also has many drawbacks. It is essential that every company precisely assess its requirements to determine if outsourcing is a feasible alternative.

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Why Hire an SEO Content Outsourcing Firm?

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Every small and big company has a website today. A website has all the information about the products and services a specific company has to offer. Websites make the selection process easy for the customers. But what if the customers are not able to access or find the website? This can ruin the company’s business, bringing in losses. Exposure can really help a company sail through.

There are some major elements which can be added to a website to make it more popular, user-friendly and search engine friendly. These elements include the right animation, pictures, colors and content. Content is one of the most important elements of a website. SEO based content can bring in amazing results. A good SEO content outsourcing firm can help you earn more money. Along with this, it can:

· Help in search engine optimization of your website

The search engine optimization process depends on the website’s content to a great extent. An SEO content outsourcing firm can make your website’s content rich and interesting. Along with this, its experts put a lot of relevant content in the website to make it search engine friendly. SEO content writing also includes producing keyword rich content which helps in the link building campaigns. The usage of latest keywords related to your products and services can help search engines read your website’s content more often. This will make the search engines display your company’s website in the first few search results when a user types in a related keyword.

· Help in link building campaigns

The SEO content writing firms offer an array of services today. These services include SEO content writing as well as article writing. The latter basically helps a website get more exposure. The articles written by the experts of these companies are submitted on various article submission websites. This helps in the process of your website’s link building. Article writing services can help your website receive more traffic which can ultimately help you get more customers.

· Help people to know your company better

A good SEO content outsourcing firm can help people understand your company better. The website content and company related articles can be used to express your mission and vision. You can even use these platforms to share the background of your company. All these things may help the customers connect with your company.

SEO content writing and article writing services can help you earn people’s trust. They can bring in huge traffic, high conversion rate and many other benefits. You can use these services to set up your company’s rapport and to make it even more popular internationally. So, hire an established SEO content outsourcing company and gear up to earn the profits!

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Things to Consider When Outsourcing Support Functions of Your Organization

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Outsourcing is defined as hiring a third party provider to take care of certain non-core areas of business like technical support and customer care support. By outsourcing support functions of a company, one can save on a lot of skilled manpower that can be used to develop core areas like business development while at the same time cutting costs by outsourcing without compromising on the standards of excellence of the company. Technical support and customer care support are the two main areas where large companies or even relatively new startups outsource.

Usually, technical or IT support is outsourced to other countries to cut costs. This can prove beneficial to the company in the perspective of a long term contract. But at the same time, this requires a lot of careful planning and research. Some of the main points to be bare in mind while outsourcing these tasks are outlined briefly below.

In the extremely competitive business environment of today’s world, outsourcing supportt especially customer support is a crucial factor in determining the position of a company among its peers. While outsourcing customer support services to a service provider, one should always research the credentials and client history of the company. This gives a fair idea of the company’s standing and what you can expect from it. Also, one needs to determine whether the company holds regular accent training classes to make its employees familiar with the language they are required to speak in.

Outsourcing support of the technical kind is a very lucrative option for companies since many countries offer highly skilled technical expertise which can be utilized to further the company’s prospects in a global environment. But you should always do a thorough background search on the level of competence in technical areas of a business and the best way to do it is to visit the place personally and get a first hand account of the way things are done. Also, one can ask the service providers to complete a few projects on a trial basis and a fair judgement of the service can be done to analyze their potential.

Before outsourcing support of any business process the first factor to be considered is whether it is a viable option for the company. Sometimes, certain companies spend more on outsourcing than on the core areas of the business like business development. A detailed analysis of the company should be done and after considering the various risk factors and the benefits, a final decision should be taken in the light of the company’s future plans.

Another point to be taken into account is the commitment of the service provider in executing the projects in time. There is a difference in the time between any two countries which could lead to a lot of confusion in the setting of the deadlines. The company should have a strict policy in case of assignments submitted late or projects not done satisfactorily. If all factors are kept in mind, then the company can have a very lucrative future due to outsourcing support.

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TPF Outsourcing – What Does It Mean And Why Are More Businesses Doing It

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When was the last time that your made a major purchase or even a small purchase for that matter? Do you remember what took up most of the businesses actual man hour time when you made the purchase? If you stop to think about for a moment, it was when you were completing the transaction or paying for what you were purchasing that occupied the most amount of time of the person or business that you were dealing with.

TPF – Transaction Processing Facility

TPF stands for “transaction processing facility” and this, in simple terms means anywhere in a business where the actual money and paper work is changing hands. This, in most businesses that you visit on a daily basis would be the main focal point of their operation many times. It is the “front office” or the “check out counter”.

It All Makes perfect Sense

TPF outsourcing is the means by which a business hands the responsibilities of this mundane task to a source that is outside of the main business operation. If you stop to think about it, it makes perfect sense, because once a customer or client has made the decision to patronize an establishment, the job of the business should then shift to finding more customers or clients and also servicing the customers or clients that are active.

TPF Outsourcing for the Travel Industry

The travel industry is one area where TPF outsourcing has began to take hold in a big way for a number of reasons. One of the big reasons this is so, is because unlike other business where the customer or client leaves after they have made a purchase. In the travel industry the client has to be dealt with after the purchase is made. In simple terms TPF outsourcing in the travel industry frees up the businesses to fly the planes instead of manning the ticket counters.

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