11 Oct Should You Outsource Your Records Center?
Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) can enhance every part of your records lifecycle, all the way from creation to disposition. However, it’s still a difficult decision for organizations to make since it shifts a key part of your business (your records center) to a third party.
While some organizations may be hesitant to incorporate a BPO team, many are already reaping the benefits of outsourcing. To help you decide what’s right for you, here are some key benefits and considerations of outsourcing your records center operations:
It Relieves the Burden Off of Your Team Members
If your team members are becoming increasingly swamped with their day-to-day tasks and a number of additional projects, you’ll see significant benefits from onboarding a BPO firm. Maybe some essential tasks (like training and communications) are falling out of scope because your current staff is stretched too thin. A firm can fill those tasks that would otherwise be overlooked, allowing your team members to focus on conquering their own to-do lists.
You Gain Access to Knowledge
When you outsource your records center to a BPO firm, you’re onboarding a team of people who are proven experts in that particular area – whether that’s lifecycle management, scanning operations, storage and retrieval, etc. They know from experience what works and what doesn’t. And if there’s an issue to run into, it’s likely they already know the solution or workaround. Even if they don’t know how to solve the issue right off the bat, they have a whole network of experts from their firm to turn to.
You Outsource Some Risk
When you partner with a BPO firm, you’re not just outsourcing those processes – you’re also outsourcing some of the risks involved. As your partner, keeping your organization out of trouble (with regulators, audits, legal violations, etc.) is now in their best interest too. However, as a third party, they’re in a better position to identify organizational blind spots or risk areas. They will assist in mitigating or remediating any issues that occur and will share the blame if things go wrong.
It’s Easier to Manage Staff Retention
When a records center employee leaves, it can take weeks (and even months) to recruit, interview, hire, and onboard a replacement. This process becomes much easier when you’re outsourcing to a BPO firm.
When someone leaves, the firm can benefit you in two ways:
- They will have resources (backups) on-hand to fill the vacant position ASAP.
- Or, if they don’t have anyone that meets the position’s specific criteria and qualifications, they will take over the recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding process. And you can be assured the vetting is being done by a team who really knows what’s needed.
Also, if you find that someone is not the right fit for your team, a firm can easily swap that person out for someone who meets all your qualifications and fits your company culture.
It’s Easier to Scale Up or Down
Similar to the last benefit, BPO firms make it easier to add or downsize personnel as your records center needs change. If your records volume has increased and you need more people to effectively manage it, the firm can bring in its own resources to fill your needs. If you’re relying more heavily on automated processes and want to reduce staff, the firm can reassign their people to other clients.
Choose a Good Partner
If you choose to outsource your records center, the next “make it or break it” decision is to choose a good partner. The firm you pick should not only be an expert in records management but should also have experience in your industry since each is faced with its own laws, rules, and regulations regarding how records should be managed. You’ll also want to ensure the firm has a positive brand reputation, culture, and employee satisfaction. If a firm has a history of unhappy clients and/or employees, they’re probably not a firm you want to work with.
Pick a Firm with Active Leadership
When you’re vetting BPO firms, make sure you choose one with an involved leadership team. Even though you will constantly be in touch with the onsite team, you’ll also want a good working relationship with at least one person at the higher level who takes an active role in your success. This can be accomplished in several ways – maybe it’s an executive who participates in your quarterly reporting or an account manager who calls every so often to ensure operations are running smoothly. This way, if there’s ever an issue, you have a reliable person to reach out to before the situation escalates.
Don’t Give Up Control
Any time you onboard an external team, it’s easy to completely give up control, which you don’t want to do. You want to maintain ownership of your processes. If you don’t know how they’re executed, you become completely dependent on the BPO firm, and they have all the power to increase their rates – or if the contract ends unexpectedly, you’re lost. Even with the best BPO partners, it’s important to make sure people on your team fully understand the processes and can step in if needed.
You Get What You Pay For
The reality of BPO is that the best firms are not always the cheapest. While many offer great rates for a high level of expertise, it may seem cheaper to do it yourself. However, that’s not always the case. As with any business decision, it’s important to carefully weigh the cost against the benefits. You can accomplish this through a Records & Information Management (RIM) Assessment, which will help you determine:
- If you have the right staff and resources needed to support the critical aspects of your records center operations.
- If there are any gaps, risks, pitfalls, or blind spots in your current records management practices.
- What kind of expertise and external help would be the most important to remedy any issues found.