How to Ensure Proper Knowledge Transfer in Offshore Outsourcing

Businesses have to pass the transition period before the outsourcing contract is implemented. Knowledge transfer gets the lion’s share of this period. They need to provide all the necessary information to the service provider. This process is much more complex than it sounds, as it may go beyond software information. Here are the guidelines for a successful knowledge transfer.

Focus on knowledge transfer.

Outsourcing to an offshore service provider presents new challenges in the transition period. Cultural gaps and language barrier can get in the way. SMEs need to ensure that they provide all key information to the service provider. They should be as detailed as possible on assigned tasks and service requirements.

During this time, it's also important for SMEs to communicate their offshore outsourcing strategy to in-house staff. Employees may form their own interpretations and resist change if they aren't informed properly.

Invest in skills training.

SMEs need to step up when it comes to skills training of offshore employees. Typically, the methodology is to train the trainer at the service provider's facility. But firsthand knowledge is better, especially if the offshore employee has to provide support or deal with customers. They stand the chance to gain more knowledge from different possible scenarios, not just common ones cited in modules.

Prepare an independent plan.

SMEs that are engaged in a sizable outsourcing deal can prepare an independent knowledge transfer plan. They can use it to assess the service provider's plan and identify discrepancies or missing components.

Retain key in-house staff.

SMEs should identify key positions which have expertise that are valuable in the knowledge transfer process. They can also assign these employees to oversee the training process by the offshore service provider.

Watch out for high attrition rates.

Unless the business is ramping up, SMEs need to watch over attrition rates. New hires need new training, which entails time. This can also result to a slowdown in productivity. SMEs should find out what the service provider's policy is in replacing offshore staff. They can also ask if the service provider uses “shadowing”, wherein experienced offshore staff helps new hires. This can help in the training process and update the new hire of any developments.

Implement a knowledge management program.

One of the problems with offshore outsourcing is that SMEs set and forget. They need to keep offshore employees updated. An updated document that can be accessed by both the outsourcing client and service provider must be in place. This makes it easier for the service provider to keep track of changes.

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