Outsourcing vs Offshoring: Which is better?

“Outsourcing” and “offshoring” are buzzwords in business, but how they differ remains unclear to many. An Asian talent boom and an increasing need for IT and competent software engineers in the Western world are driving the use of these terms.

Although both models share similar characteristics, they are still very different. So, when comparing outsourcing vs offshoring, which is better? In this piece, we compare the advantages and disadvantages of each model.

Outsourcing vs offshoring: A brief history
Outsourcing

In the 1990s, companies began outsourcing support functions to third parties so that they could focus on their core business. Companies without internal competencies would often opt for this approach. It could be argued, however, that this approach was more helpful for companies looking to grow quickly and increase their profits rather than for those attempting to increase efficiency and boost innovation.

Offshoring

Offshoring emerged at the turn of the 20th century, soon after outsourcing’s popularity faded. As expectations began to rise, organisations wanted greater control over their operations.

As a result, organisations began looking for a business model with cost-efficiency, scalability, and complete control. This novel approach allowed companies to build dedicated teams from a scalable talent pool, in a different geographical location, under the same management.

The key benefits of both models
Sales and manufacturing have slowed because of a talent shortage in the West. This has further popularised these models. When comparing outsourcing vs offshoring, we see both have their advantages. Let’s look at a few.

Outsourcing

Flexibility
Cost-effectiveness
Resources
With outsourcing organisations can focus on core competencies by delegating other functions to a third party. Flexibility is also one of the key advantages of outsourcing. You can manage an offshore finance team for a few hours or days. And outsourcing is usually a cost-effective business model because infrastructure and administration costs are almost eliminated

Offshoring

Ownership
Talent
Cost-effectiveness
Scalability
Offshore businesses have access to a large talent pool. In an offshore business model, the company controls its core business. Software developers and producers face enormous pressure in developed countries to find and recruit individuals with the proper skill set.

Offshoring is undoubtedly driven by more than cost-savings. It gives organisations the chance to access this talent without incurring high costs at home due to the lower cost of living.

Building offshore teams allow companies to establish remote centres around the world. The result is that they can scale their business, providing support wherever and whenever clients need it.

The disadvantages of both models
This is all well and good, but when examining outsourcing vs offshoring closely, what are the apparent disadvantages of both models?

Outsourcing

Loss of control
Hidden costs
Lack of customer focus
When a company outsources, it loses some control over the quality. Poor communication and visibility could result. Companies must also be prepared for any hidden costs vendors might charge them later when outsourcing.They often end up paying more than their initial agreement because the work is outside the scope of the initial contract.

Offshoring

Geographic distance
Working with a team in a different time zone can be challenging. Implementing tools and procedures poorly can also lead to delivery delays. An offshore partner can ensure the collaboration method is implemented correctly by working with their partner closely.

Outsourcing vs offshoring: who wins?
Offshoring and outsourcing both have advantages and disadvantages. Outsourcing is usually the most practical option for short-term projects that only last up to a few weeks.

However, offshoring may be the right option if you want to start from scratch. It may be challenging, but you can work with a team you trust that can provide invaluable guidance.