India ranks on the top of the outsourcing destinations for Information Technology, according to a study by the consulting firm AT Kearney. Six Indian cities, including Hyderabad, ranked in the top 6 of this list.
Here are some key factors to understand before you decide to outsource. These will help you reduce risks and manage your outsourcing better. Especially, when it comes to outsourcing eLearning design and development which is highly subjective and creative, you need to pay special attention to these factors.
Reasons for Outsourcing E-learning Projects
The main reason for outsourcing eLearning design is that you need to have expertise in instructional design, authoring tools and technology.
- Get Experts to Work and Deliver Great Quality: When we outsource eLearning design and development, we will be assured of a good quality product as experts will be working on it. When you outsource to a vendor who has more than a decade of eLearning experience, you can be assured that you will get the latest in technology and creative designs like gamification and simulation-based learning.
- Highest ROI on Training Curriculum: With the advantage of having experts develop your eLearning course, if you outsource it to vendors in India; you will also have the advantage of cost. You will be able to save up to 40% or more as compared to outsourcing locally.
- Focus on core business activities: As a training manager or a functional manager, you will be able to focus more on your core functions rather than developing training programs all by yourself.
Benefits of Outsourcing E-learning Projects
- Fast turnaround: When you outsource eLearning projects to the experts, you will be able to develop eLearning curriculums fast. They will have a dedicated team working only for your project full-time. One you standardize the design, you will be able to develop series of courses at a time.
- Good Quality Deliverables: Outsourcing companies will have set processes and competent teams who would conduct a learnability check before they finalize the eLearning project, and hence you would be assured of a good quality product.
- Reduced Cost: You will be able to develop a very good product at a very competitive cost. E-learning vendors will have templates and graphics already developed, and these can be reused. Hence, the project cost is reduced considerably.
Concerns Faced while Outsourcing E-learning Projects
Many companies are aware that outsourcing their eLearning projects to India can benefit them in a big way, but are concerned about certain aspects. Let us see what they are and how their concerns can be addressed very effectively.
- Cultural nuances: The biggest concern is the huge difference in culture. If you are thinking of outsourcing to India, you need to be aware of some specific cultural nuances. For example, Indians have a peculiar way of saying “yes” and “no”. “Yes” can mean I hear you, and this does not always mean I understand you.
- Communication: Communication plays a key role in project management, and miscommunication can result in substantial cost and time overruns. Indian project managers are quite proficient in English, but you may have issues with their speed and accent. We Indians talk very fast and this can cause problems.
- Time Difference: Time difference can be a hurdle when working with a vendor in India, if you are in another part of the world.
- If you are Australia, by the time Indians come to work, it is already noon.
- And if you are in the Pacific zone, say California, by the time you come to office, Indians are already home after a long day’s work.
- Europe is at an advantage because when clients come to their offices, it is already noon in India. There is a 4-5 hour working time overlap which helps.
- If you are in the Eastern Time zone in the US, you can make calls in your early hours and Indians will still be at work.
Success Factors to Make Outsourcing Work to Deliver Quality E-learning
- Excellent Processes: The key to successful e-learning project outsourcing is that your outsourcing vendor needs to have excellent processes in place. The responsibilities of the vendor and customer should be clearly defined, and there should be no ambiguity about their accountability. The eLearning development process should be clearly understood by both parties.
- Project Champion: It is very essential that your company has an eLearning manager who acts as a project champion and coordinates all eLearning activities with the vendor. This will ensure that the champion works with the SMEs and stakeholders and communicates the expectations to the eLearning vendor.
- Project Management: The vendor MUST have a capable project management team to ensure the successful completion of your eLearning project. The project management team should:
- Have through knowledge of the eLearning design and development process
- Possess excellent command over the English language and have highly effective communication skills – listening, speaking and writing in that order.
- Be able to plan and coordinate with various teams to execute the project successfully.
So, as you can see, outsourcing can be a boon if handled well. What do you think?