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Offshore Knowledge Engagements: Best Practices for Success – Part 1

Published on August 19, 2015 by Suraj Atreya

Over the past 12 years, global financial and corporate sector firms have trusted us as a preferred partner in their strategic offshore knowledge service programs.

Along the journey of creating tangible value for clients, we have gained significant experience and built expertise in transitioning complex knowledge services work streams from clients’ in-house teams, incumbent suppliers, and clients’ captive set up across financial services domains and markets.

To enable chief executives, chief operating officers, chief investment officers, heads of research, asset managers, and vendor managers at front-office functions of what it takes to succeed in an offshore knowledge engagement, we have put together the following best practices for success:

Mandate:

A top down mandate, with buy-in and sponsorship from senior management, is a must for offshoring to deliver strategic outcomes.

Building a strategic knowledge platform offshore involves the participation of a diverse set of senior stakeholders in the organization. Senior executive sponsorship is critical to building top down momentum. Based on our experience, an ideal executive sponsor is someone responsible for the profit and loss of the business and, in many cases, part of the firm’s executive management. A program such as this also involves a change in the status quo in their core areas for the first time for several front-office functions. Therefore, it is important that individual business heads are aligned to the program’s goals and objectives.

Solutioning:

Understanding requirements and brainstorming to find optimal solutions are paramount. It is ideal to have a detailed whiteboarding session at the beginning of an engagement to ensure the offshore solution proposed meets onshore requirements.

An offshore knowledge platform ought to achieve the desired financial / strategic objectives in a way that minimizes disruption and ensures onshore adoption. The offshore platform also needs to be able to adapt to changing market conditions. While this may seem obvious, very few firms actually take solution design seriously. Many outsourced support initiatives fail when the approach to solution design is simplified to just having junior analysts in a low-cost location and expecting it to rapidly mimic the original onshore process. The right offshore partner not only anticipates these challenges, but also develops a comprehensive roll-out plan that mitigates them.

Accurate scoping of the work prior to kick-off ensures the vendor and the customer know the roles they need to play for a specific engagement. Scoping of work is also important since many of the staffing and commercial aspects are related to the responsibilities the offshore services provider has to undertake. This also gives onshore users an opportunity to investigate the ideal way to leverage the offshore team. In many cases, there might be an opportunity to leverage the offshore team in a manner that is different from the original idea so that onshore staff can focus on areas that add maximum value.

In part 2 of this blog, we will elaborate on the remaining best practices to achieve success with offshore knowledge engagements.

If you would like to get in touch, please email us at contact@acuitykp.com


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About the Author

Assistant Director, Marketing & Communications

I run solutions marketing for banking, research and lending business lines. I enable the marketing of technology and automation driven initiatives to supplement the services based model.

My work provides me an opportunity to be at the forefront of innovation and disruption impacting the financial services industry. I am excited about the application of emerging technology areas such as AI, ML, robotics and automation programs to fundamentally transform business models and inspire innovation across the ecosystem.

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