The crippling hidden expenses of bringing technology in-house

The crippling hidden expenses of bringing technology in-house
Robert Berkeley is the President of global creative partner, Express KCS. Robert has led Express KCS from the ground up, building into a leading cross-platform creative production powerhouse that it is today. He started his career implementing workflow systems at large publishers and was MD of PrintCafe Europe (now EFI) for eight years. He is founder and chairman of Linkz-IM Inc, a reader-response technology company.

An integral part of any business is technology, but regardless of whether it is owned or outsourced, it is still a significant investment for brands to make. The most important aspects for brands to consider when looking to implement new technology are transparency and control, especially with the impending tightening of new data regulations on the horizon.

This is why brands shouldn’t just look to a vendor, but an end-to-end technology provider that delivers clear costing, controlled processes, full training support and a fully-managed solution, which can be especially hard to budget for when technology is brought in house.

The hidden expenses of bringing technology in house

Whilst insourcing might look less expensive on the outside, it can contain hidden expenses that cripples brands, which weren’t initially considered or accounted for.

The first question to always ask is whether brands really know what technology services they need, and risk purchasing and implementing a technology which might not work in the way they initially thought. Investing capital into this technology, without using it to the best of its ability, can prove a significant burden.

Following on from this, there’s a plethora of unpractical considerations to take into account, when implementing new, in-house technology. This includes brands being directly responsible for the maintenance of the technology; the lack of expertise on-site to solve any issues can prove extremely time-consuming, not to mention having a severe impact on its customers.

Another significant expense to consider when bringing technology in house is staff training and recruitment, where a member of staff would be designated to oversee full-time management of the technology, subsequently detracting from their core role. This would also entail management of data handling. Known as the new oil for the creative industry, it is essential that brands are being completely transparent with the collection and handling of data, especially after the implementation of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force in May 2018.

Should this be an insurmountable challenge, brands would likely need to hire an external consultant to train staff to an acceptable standard, enabling them to manage the technology independently.

In short, brands who develop their own technology have already invested significant time and resource in the platform, without really confronting the reasons why they’ve paid for the technology in the first place.

The benefits of outsourcing technology

On first impression, outsourcing technology that can seem increasingly expensive, but in the long run it ends up being a cheaper and much more efficient way of working. There is no end to the benefits that outsourcing a fully integrated, easy-to-use, end-to-end solution – which includes planning, selecting the right vendor/system, implementation, cost transparency and quick the onboarding of staff – can have on a brand’s service offering.

When outsourcing, there are no requirements to hire an external consultant to train staff and implement the technology. You will have a dedicated online consultant which will enable a seamless implementation period with the technology, who will also be on-hand for any advice or questions if needed.

It is cheaper and a more cost-effective solution for brands using new technologies that do not have to acquire expensive implementation tools or make room for practical considerations, such as maintenance if the technology was to obtain a fault.

Brands are able to create, manage and deliver projects via outsourced technologies that offer a seamless, end to end offering, which results in quicker turnarounds for its clients and a more efficient way of working. The creative industry is a fast-paced environment, in which many brands simply do not have the time to be spending months sourcing, implementing, learning and maintaining a new technology, when they can save money, time and staff training by outsourcing.

Best practices for outsourcing technology

Like every new beginning, it takes some getting used to. For brands looking to outsource new technology, rather than bringing it in house, the most important thing to remember is remaining transparent and in control of the overall process.

It’s important to follow a checklist of what exactly is required to enhance efficiency through the use of technology that is outsourced or bought in house, including exact requirements, scalability of the technology, costs, support and maintenance, the need of staff training and ultimately return on investment.

A full end to end, outsourced solution enhances efficiency, reduces costs and provides a controlled full turnkey experience for the brand some of which can be difficult to achieve when bringing technology in house.  

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