Freelancing: An Imperial Egress for the Outsourcing Sector?

Feb 28,2019 by Shashvat Vats
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Imagine how the business world will be in the year 2030. What do you think will happen in the next decade that lies before us?

The pace at which the technologies are advancing and disrupting our every move, the future course of business communities swims in the whirlpool of uncertainties and vagueness.

Loops of technology-driven shifts have been forcing every business sector to constantly evolve and come out as a much more adaptable and better version of itself.

Through this conundrum, the outsourcing sector is currently baffled between dos and don’ts. Technologies like Cloud, AI, RPA, etc. are continuously challenging the BPOs and contact centers to endure the blows of rapid transitions.

Amidst all this disturbance, a new trend is developing that is shaking the very foundation of conventional outsourcing. I am talking about freelancing.

Before you disregard this, saying that freelancing is the least concerning issue, take a look at some of the stats;

• The number of freelancer in the USA reached 53 million in 2017.
• Freelancing professionals are increasing 3 times faster than conventional staff in the United States.
• Professionals earning $100,000 to $149,000 surged from 5% to 12 % from 2014 to 2017 (in the US).

As per data, the top 3 countries for Freelancing are India, Bangladesh, and the USA.

And all these professionals are glad to freelance their services because there are thousands of organizations that are now more inclined to hiring freelancers than outsourcing their business functions. But why? What is making the small, medium, and large enterprises work with freelancers instead of hiring an expert company?

The Rapid Switch

Remember the good old days between 1980 and 2010? Businesses across the American and European continents were outsourcing their operations to developing nations like India, Pakistan, China, etc. to save overhead expenses and keep their overall efficiency high.

Today, this trend is perpetually losing its appeal. With rising real-estate cost in developing nations like India, better technological accessibility, and speedy internet connectivity, freelancing is becoming a common practice in the business world. Organizations too are now seeking expert freelancers who can take care of the former’s business tasks.

Ever heard of Reverse Outsourcing?

This is one of the major factors that escalated the demand for freelancer professionals in America.

Unlike typical outsourcing, businesses (BPOs and Contact Centers) that are established in India are setting up their premises in the USA and are hiring experts there only.

This helps Indian companies cost-effectively. The salary is paid in INR and earnings come in dollars. Along with this, an Indian organization is providing employment to the Americans. So, it is a win-win situation.

The companies opting for reverse outsourcing are now preferring freelancers over full-time employees because of the flexibility, precise approach, and better outcomes. Moreover, when the local expert is hired, the hindrance of cultural diversity melts away, giving businesses an upper edge over their competitors.

Does the Cloud play a part?

Without any doubt, the emergence of cloud as a secure and easily accessible sharing space on the internet has surely impacted the way outsourcing companies work. Cloud empowers professionals to work remotely for an organization without being present in the same location. This, on many levels, has revolutionized the business and outsourcing sectors both.

Businesses can now look to operate without the location constraint. This has opened up a door of limitless opportunities for skilled professionals to work at above-par salaries for specific projects.

The rise of web-based businesses like Upwork and Freelancer has shown how methodically the meaning of term ‘outsourcing’ has changed, all thanks to state-of-the-art tech like Cloud.

How is this disruption influencing business consulting?

There are hundreds of consulting firms that are now getting pushed by the growing intellectual service sales on the internet. With the traditional offshoring and nearshoring practices being constantly adopted by consulting firms, the major focus is still on maximum financial benefits.

There are several remote consultants now working for big enterprises independently. The consulting companies are slowly comprehending that along with the deliverance of consulting service remotely, they can also boost their sales figures.

In fact, various offshore organizations that were previously engaged in rendering outsourcing services are now also developing services worth billions of dollars that are offered from the emerging markets. Reverse outsourcing is an example of how this is being done by the Indian BPS providers.

Consulting companies need to understand and appreciate the laudable accomplishment of freelance marketplaces. After all, these platforms are able to offer an affluent sales experience that is pulling in a colossal audience.

Less skilled professionals in developing nations

Technology is becoming more complex every day and the need to handle such ultra-modern infrastructure creates a demand for highly skilled workers. India, which carried the baton of the leading outsourcing nation for decades is now losing its prominence to countries like the Philippines. Reason? The presence of less expensive but equally tech-savvy workforce in the Philippines.

The freelancing marketplaces have a vast array of skilled experts. This immediately solves the issue of skill lapse in the workforce that most of the businesses are now facing with outsourcing.

Let’s discuss

The freelancing companies maintain a rich database of a few hundred skilled personnel. Alongside, these organizations develop first-string content regularly and have only a few (less than 10) sales professionals in different strategic locations. That’s it, and these firms make millions of dollars of revenue!

Can you guess why?

To understand this, first look at the two segregated divisions of workers in our society; the blue collar and the white collar.

The blue collar labor class have found an excellent incoming earning source in freelancing work, Uber being the most appropriate epitome. Whereas the white collar labor class is yet to leverage the benefits of freelancing.

A majority of companies prefer protecting their key skills inside their premises. The biggest corporate assumption in the western sector is that employees are the assets or intellectual property of a business.

However, with labor law getting stronger in most of the developed nations, professionals have the ball in their court. This perception of keeping skills locked inside your premise no longer works in modern times. Today, the loyalty of an employee is driven by the financial inducements offered by the organization. Which is why the businesses are now choosing to hire a freelancer instead of an outsourcing agent or a full-time expert.

While some of the experts think that in the coming years, freelancing will overtake outsourcing, I say, it will remodel the conventional outsourcing process into a modernized system. A system where outsourcing will not die but eventually evolve into something better.

Albeit there is still time left for the freelancing to rest its arms and legs in the outsourcing sector, BPS providers companies are continuously shifting gears. Reverse outsourcing and the rising confrontation of the consulting sector is preparing a solid base for freelancers.

The key lies in experimenting with all the possible combinations. Try how many sales professionals you will require, see what audience you are going to target, and what size your database will be. This will take time and efforts. The result will be highly satisfying though.

In the future, modern platforms or marketplaces that will provide outsourcing and freelancing solutions at a single place are expected to come up (some of the companies like 99designs, fiverr, and toptal are already doing so).

So, freelancing is not an exit but a regal passage for outsourcing to get remodeled in a new and crisp avatar!

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