Bob was a popular software developer at an unnamed US Infrastructure company and regularly named as best software developer in the building. It therefore came as a bit of a surprise to many, that following an IT security audit in 2012, Bob was promptly fired for what many might describe as ‘inspired brilliance’.
So what was Bob’s crime? What had Bob done that was so heinous that he was to be dismissed on the spot? Some may say that he jeopardised the company’s IT security, others may say that Bob wasn’t doing the job he was being paid to do, but I think the answer is more of a political one – Bob had severely embarrassed his managers. Bob was gone, Bob was no more, Bob had ceased to be, Bob was an ex-programmer.
Clearly a creative thinker, Bob was destined for a career in management that his apparent skills did not demonstrate. At some point, Bob, having a good understanding of global markets came to the conclusion that there were people out there who could do his job for a fraction of the six figure salary he was being paid. One can only suspect that rather than disclosing this nugget to his manager and having his own position put at risk, Bob decided to capitalise on this knowledge and create his own enterprise.
Conscious of programmer salaries in the Far East, Bob decided to outsource his entire workload to a Chinese Software company and pay them less than a fifth of his own salary to get the job done. Genius! Bob was treating his job as a mini-enterprise within an enterprise.
Now Bob could have used this new found ubiquity of free time to actually do additional productive work for his boss. He could have displayed a super-human level of productivity for his employer, shaming all other developers, or alternatively, plied his time elsewhere and developed multiple sources of income. Alas, Bob chose this new found freedom to simply waste time on the Internet, reading news, watching videos and having discussions. Ah, the temptations of the Internet…
It didn’t take long to get to the bottom of what was going on when it was discovered that VPN connections were being made into the corporate network from China in order to carry out said work. Bob was promptly fired. His resourcefulness had unfortunately had the unwanted side-effect of practically demonstrating that he was surplus to requirements. For the money Bob was being paid, the employer would be able to secure up to five times the results for the same cost. This multi-fold increase in productivity is simply too high for the competent line manager to ignore.
Bob was a misguided individual, who was prioritising his own needs and goals above that of the business he was being paid to work for, but Bob’s story has shown how a company can improve it’s productivity without necessarily increasing its administrative costs. We’re not talking about firing your best staff, but we are talking about increasing your capacity to take on work and have it carried out, without the headache of sourcing, employing and retaining highly skilled staff for what may be nothing more than a brief and short-lived uptick in demand for your services.
We talk to many Engineering organisations, and in a country where there is an accepted shortfall in skilled Engineers, we hear the same stories over and over again:
- We’re not taking on new clients at the moment
- We can do the work, but won’t be able to start for 6 weeks
- I’m sorry your job is overdue, we’ve had a lot of sickness in the office
- We’ve had to put our prices up, the shortage of skilled Engineers has increased salaries ahead of market rate
- We’d love to do more work, but we’re stacked
- I’d take on more Engineers, but we typically don’t have these sorts of work volumes to keep them busy – I’m scared of the additional overheads.
- We don’t have enough space to accommodate more staff. We can’t afford the time to move to larger offices when we are so busy
All of these problems can be addressed by adopting a simple policy:
Be like Bob
By choosing to outsource either some of your existing work, or by outsourcing new jobs that you don’t have the resources to complete in-house, you have the ability to increase the output of your organisation considerably without a comparable increase in operating costs. We do hear of worries about quality when it comes to outsourcing, and many of these concerns are misplaced. At a time when salaries are rising and good staff are hard to come by, outsourcing through a comprehensive platform such as EngLancer will keep your clients happy, your balance sheet strong and your headaches to a minimum.
Talk to us about how your business can improve its performance through embracing outsourcing and start tapping global skillsets straight away.
Finger image supplied under a creative commons license from a2gemma.
Angry cat image supplied under a creative commons license from Graham Richardson.