eLearning Outsourcing: Key Drivers

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For ages, cost savings has molded most eLearning outsourcing decisions. However, with the change in the eLearning outsourcing landscape cost is just one aspect when it comes to eLearning outsourcing now. For most organizations, eLearning outsourcing is a strategic activity and hence other factors like ‘expertise in the ever-changing tools & technologies landscape’, ‘faster times to market’, ‘scalability of teams’, etc. have become equally important. However, this might vary depending on various aspects. In general, there are some benefits that eLearning outsourcing offers:

Cost Saving: Undoubtedly, this has always been the primary reason for considering outsourcing. Outsourcing arrangements enable reducing the fixed costs and leverage the scalability of the service providers. A study by Bersin Associates titled-‘Offshore eLearning: What Works‘, estimated that outsourcing to India could result in a saving of 20-40%. This could be even more in some cases. Whether you are a corporate or a training company, you could gain from outsourcing (parts or full) projects to India. Of course, you would need to choose a good vendor!

Scalability Outsourcing gives the scope of scalability, without the usual hassles of recruitment training, etc., and that too on demand. Depending on the requirement, you could engage a team of 5 or 50 or 500, provided the vendor has the capability to do so. The vendor manages everything from training to providing replacement resources. It also speeds up the process of project initiation, ramping up the team much faster, and even putting the project on hold without any additional costs if need compels.

Quality and Innovation An eLearning vendor is/should surely be better placed to deliver better quality (it is their core function after all) and depending on whether you have selected a good vendor to start with. This is a natural outcome of the continuous improvement that happens as your vendor’s team handles more projects of different kinds for diverse clients. That experience helps them anticipate problems in advance, troubleshoot better when needed, and propose value-added inputs based on their previous experiences. Chances are you can rely on your vendor to be ready with innovative solutions as it essentially is a part of their constant drive to stay ahead, for which we can safely assume that they would invest in innovation.

Reduced project risk When outsourcing, you need to define your project very well to get RFPs ready. That reduces the risk to a large extent as everything you need is in one document – most probably has the agreement of key stakeholders as well. The development process is better managed by the vendor including proper documentation (specification sheets, test plans, project plans, IDD, storyboards – with proper versioning, etc.) and pre-defined delivery/sign-off process (prototypes, Alpha & Beta deliveries) ensuring success of the project. You could even consider risk diversification by distributing work between multiple vendors i.e. if you have significant volumes of work to justify having multiple vendors.

Reliability on Project Completion Often the company that you outsource to does only eLearning development as its core business. Consequently, all its processes and systems are specifically defined and well geared up to deliver eLearning solutions/projects. There is almost no chance of those resources being diverted to some other ‘more important’ tasks. That is common when working with internal project teams. This reliability could mean a lot for certain critical training programs.

Enhanced Focus on Core/Strategic Functions This from an organizational point of view is by far the most important benefit you would get from outsourcing. Outsourcing helps bring greater focus to the core or strategic tasks of your training function – without sacrificing quality or service. You can spend your energies on planning for the future, understanding how the organization and its business is changing, what skills are required now (& in the future), and how best to make those skills available; evaluating the success of training programs mapping them against business results, improving the whole training and development function to align it with business needs; and implementing organization cultural change plans to get it ready for the coming decade. Basically, anything and everything to improve your core functions, tasks which only you can perform.

For more insights on outsourcing learning, download this Brandon Hall Report.

With being a consistent winner of multiple industry awards and acknowledgments Upside Learning is one of the leading eLearning solutions providers. Established in 2004, we have been around and seen it all. We have been helping our clients worldwide since then with solutions that have evolved with the market and with the changing needs of our clients. Our investments in innovation have meant that we are ready with new solutions before our clients start requesting them. Since we work mainly with overseas clients the whole organization is set up – process and thinking – to service clients in different time zones and from different countries. Most importantly we focus on building relationships and pride in several clients who have been consistently outsourcing their eLearning development for more than 5 years. Being their vendor of choice constantly year after year is probably our best award. Nevertheless, over the years, we have been recognized as a leading eLearning outsourcing company by various renowned awarding bodies too.

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