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9 reasons why your business need “Extended Teams”

July 4, 2021

The concept of ETM is a strategic advantage that has been lost in the chaos of offshoring. The concept of offshoring started in India more than 3 decades ago and already spread across many countries across the globe.
So what is ETM and why it is different?

I cite this article in Forbes talking about this concept without the branding in 2010. Now it is reality!

Imagine the team in your head office, spread throughout the globe. This gives the ability to extend your team to reach the human talent that is not available locally, but you can find it through a partner like BistecGlobal.

Having a remote team in an offshore context can be a strain to you mainly because of the lack of transparency. Most often offshore providers use the team on multiple projects and you may find yourself working with different people than who was initially assigned to you just when you were just getting started.

ETM takes the best offshoring minus the bad experience. It gives you the control you need while you retain better financial and logistical benefits. It provides you total integration with the remote teams and also with your business. With ETM you are able to synchronize all of your “well-tuned” processors, practices and values, into your Extended Team making it a fully functional branch office with a similar design and identity.

The advantages of an Extended Team Model

“At Bistec Global, we’ve had different experiences working with a verity of engagement models, including ETM and we thrive in this particular environment, and here’s why”

  1. Constant control of time and effort of your team
  2. Growth opportunities without distracting the home team.
  3. Having an access to a wider knowledge base
  4. Cost-effectiveness
  5. Common contribution to success and equal responsibilities.
  6. Employee training throughout the enterprise
  7. Reduced staff fluctuations
  8. Increased global market reach
  9. The Time Zone advantage

1. Constant control of time and effort of your team
You have the flexibility where you can apply any time or task-driven mechanism/tool to your extended team. Thereby measuring performance with 100% transparency and synchronization.

2. Growth opportunities without distracting the home team
You might have a successful project that your in-house team is working on and you plan on them continuing to complete it. You can delegate all the new projects to your extended team. Or you can focus on moving some of the work your home team is doing to the ETM while the home team takes on high-value customer-centric work.

3. Having access to a wider knowledge base
Not being tied down to a single location is a great thing. By using the ETM you can have a team in another location of the world, with a wider knowledge base of technologies, local markets, and other skills that your business can benefit from. Having different kinds of people working globally, using their knowledge, will lead to creating a startup environment that can take a solution or application on a global market easier than having a centralized local team.

4. Cost-effectiveness
An extended offshore team can save time and money and yet give the expertise that you need to make your application or solution work.

5. Common contribution to the success and equal responsibilities
The extended team is involved in the complete cycle of a job/project, not just an isolated part of it which makes for better transition and continuity.

6. Employee training throughout the enterprise
Your corporate image should reflect through all your products and service. This can only be achieved by extensive and continuous team training throughout the company and your extended team…

7. Reduced staff fluctuations
An extended team is part of a bigger team and employees associate better to their job roles with larger companies which reduces the effect on turnover and dependencies. It leads to a steady workflow and become resilient to changes in the cooperates which otherwise would be difficult to manage.

8. Increased global market reach
A global team means that you can easily have a presence in more than one market. Of course, in today’s world, you can have global reach just by having a great solution and great marketing, but to have people in different parts of the world, that know the local market and the local mentality can always help you build a market reach faster.

9. The Time Zone advantage
Your business generally requires extended hours of work which can result in overworked and demotivated employees. Overlap of work hours with your extended teams is important and the part that does not overlap will work to your advantage when planning your project delivery, especially at peak times.

The use of a global talent pool has gained popularity over the last decade. The Extended Team Model is the next stage of outsourcing. Affiliation of your business rather than a group of contractors. ETM offers more flexibility and a new level of dedication. Your extended team may extend according to the objectives set and the resources you require while maintaining your core values and identity.

Why LinkedIn should be your #1 marketing platform

June 19, 2021

LinkedIn is the #1 platform for Lead Generation according to DemandWave state of B2B Digital Marketing Report in both 2016 & 2017

If LinkedIn was a country, it is only second to China & India. With over 560 million users, it stands 3rd in the list well ahead of the USA.

LinkedIn members come from 200 countries & 18 million companies. So the power of the LinkedIn platform is enormous.

In 2016 Microsoft purchased LinkedIn for 26.2 billion USD in cash. 

Beyond the numbers, let’s look at why LinkedIn should be your main marketing platform!

LinkedIn as a marketing platform

LinkedIn has been traditionally thought of as a platform to maintain a professional profile. Although this is true even today, B2B Digital Marketing Report identifies LinkedIn as the #1 platform for lead generation both in 2016 & 2017.

Let’s look at why LinkedIn has gained its status as the #1 marketing platform.

If you are looking to enhance your marketing and improve lead generation, LinkedIn is THE place to go.

What benefits you get out of LinkedIn as a marketing platform?

The two words answer is “cost-effectiveness”.

It is said that around 10% of the total company budget is going to marketing. This money can go a total waste unless planned correctly. Below are five reasons why you should choose LinkedIn to spent most of your marketing budget.

  1. LinkedIn is a focused platform: You will not somebody’s vacation pictures in LinkedIn. By design LinkedIn downgrades not relevant content. Therefore your marketing messages and content has a comparatively much greater chance of reaching the target audience compared with other digital marketing platforms.
  2. Free marketing: LinkedIn marketing is not depends on paid ads & content. You can do posts, publish articles, make comments, send direct messages, etc. without paying a single cent. These non-paid activities will give you a huge milage in terms of lead generation & brand awareness.
  3. Target marketing: In terms of paid advertisements, LinkedIn has a powerful campaign manager & where you can use it to narrow down your target audience. It provides many parameters to target the exact audience you want compared to traditional marketing.
  4. Complete ecosystem: LinkedIn comes with wide array of tools which can be used to market product or services. For example, you can use company page or showcase pages to provide marketing content to its 563 million users. LinkedIn introduces tools such as LinkedIn formsplugins, etc. to make the lead generation efficient. Further many third party companies have developed tools on top of LinkedIn. Further, LinkedIn creates lot of content by themselves to help businesses to grow. Example is LinkedIn for small businesses.
  5. LinkedIn communities & groups: LinkedIn is having a rich & vibrant communities & groups. You can use these groups to further narrow down your marketing segments and activities to have a better hit. LinkedIn official and unofficial community gatherings provides opportunities for face to face marketing.

Summary

You have a higher chance of connecting to a person whom you don’t know on LinkedIn. The chance of an unknown professional in the USA accepting your connection request is higher in LinkedIn compared to Facebook or any other social marketing platform.

Also the % digital marketing spending will take over the traditional marketing within the next 5 years. companies will invest heavily in digital marketing in the coming years.

If you want to be at the helm of this trend and to get the best value for the money you spent in marketing, you need to make a move to LinkedIn today.

You can download our white paper to understand how you should LinkedIn for your marketing activities. Please fill in the form. At #bistec, we understand this and would love to help you in your journey.

5 things to avoid when starting an offshore engagement

June 19, 2021

Over the years, offshoring has gained much popularity in the business world as a means of obtaining services from external parties or companies based in another country. However, many companies who jump on the bandwagon with a lot of expectations get quickly frustrated.

This is mainly because those companies do not spend enough time on due diligence before starting with offshore engagements. Here we list the 5 main mistakes that companies tend to make when starting on an offshore engagement, and how they often lead to its complete downfall.

1.    Starting without an initiation workshop

Minimize the assumptions

One can never accurately imagine what another person needs and wants without engaging the latter in the initial stages of setting up a new offshore service delivery engagement. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is to conduct an initiation workshop with the participation of all stakeholders.

At first, this may sound like an expensive activity, especially considering this is the start of a fresh new engagement in another country. However, this is an activity where money is well spent; in that, it will save much more money, resources, time, and stress in the long run.

Through brainstorming sessions, discussions, sketching, presentations, and more during initiation workshops, the key factors that need to be identified are as follows.

·      Primary goals and expectations

·      Working model

·      Key criteria for success

It is important to get all stakeholders for this initiation workshop (based on the relevance of topics discussed and the workshop schedule) from project/product owners and sponsors, senior management, key team members (both onsite and offsite), etc. The few days committed for this workshop will help identify the main goals and expectations, eliminate any misunderstandings and serious concerns that either party may have along with the assumptions that people naturally tend to make which are far from reality.

While these sessions could be held at either location, the customer’s location would be preferable for the initiation workshop because for example,

·      All the stakeholders are easily accessible

·      Start building a good rapport with all onsite team members

·      Observe the currently in place systems and processes

2.    Starting without getting involved in selecting the right team members

The customer is onsite, while you are not!

Many offshore service providers have found that it is very important to engage their customers in the process of selecting or hiring members for the team. These are the people who are readily accessible to the customer’s onsite team.

We can assume that stakeholders at this point have reached a comfortable and effective collaboration model. Once the customer gets involved with selecting their offshore team and the collaboration model is in place, this helps everybody to build a good rapport and gel well with each other. This will go a long way in ensuring a successful end result for all stakeholders.

3.    Starting without investing in proper infrastructure

An effective and efficient collaboration model is the key to running any successful operation today. In the context of an offshore engagement, where the various stakeholders are physically unable to meet face to face regularly, excellent telecommunication equipment must be in place to facilitate the communication process. This includes both communication hardware and software that is capable of handling large volumes of data while maintaining high quality. A high-speed, high capacity broadband internet link is of absolute need, in ensuring that voice and video conferencing can be carried out effectively.

Anyone who has participated in an online video conference call will know how difficult it is to concentrate on the discussion at length. This difficultly arises as a result of the lack of face-to-face presence of the participants. This is an unavoidable complication in the offshore service delivery model, but this is a difficulty that can and should be eased as much as possible with the use of the best quality communication equipment and services that can be obtained. Such equipment includes powerful enough computers, regularly updated communication software, a sound-proof meeting room with proper lighting, sensitive multi-way microphones, and sound systems in addition to a fast-broadband link.

It has been noted one too many times that many companies who go offshoring do not give the due prominence that communication equipment deserves when setting up budgets and investments for their offshore engagements.

4.    Starting without budgeting for offshore team visits and vice versa

Subsequent to the initiation workshop, periodic visits between the onsite and offshore teams are vital in ensuring a successful offshore engagement. To be clear, both teams must visit each other. This gives invaluable insights into the social and cultural differences of the other team, which would otherwise have never have been seen nor understood. And it is the sensitivity shown towards these differences that could help make or break the working dynamics between the two teams.

Also, in certain offshore engagements, it is necessary for the offshore team to visit the customer site and experience the use of the systems they build in real production environments other than simulators/labs maintained offshore. Say, for example, if the offshore team is tasked to automate the operations of a robotic manufacturing line, then the offshore team must visit the production environments and experience how the system behaves in reality rather than only working with simulators on offshore labs.

5.    Underestimating the impact to the customer organization

For those customers who are beginning their very first offshore engagement, it may not strike them as important to pay close attention to the differences that they would have when compared to the offshore team. The customer’s team would have a particular modus operandi, which has proven itself effective and is likely to think that there is no need to tamper with a system that already works.

While this may well be true, it does not mandate that the same modes and methods would work for the offshore engagement as well. The workings of two different nations will always have their differences. A simple example would be around national and religious holidays in each nation, and how team members celebrate these events. For example, in Myanmar, the water festival held in April is the country’s biggest festival. Three days of holidays are declared, during which it is near impossible to expect anyone to be available for any kind of work. It is important then, for both the onsite and offshore teams to be aware of this, and ensure that work, calls, meetings, reports, etc. are planned well in advance or beyond these holidays. The mid-April new year celebrations in Sri Lanka are a similar example.

In addition, it’s important for the onsite team to understand how those of the offshore team address their work ethic. Should any differences arise, it is important to carry out discussions and orientation training in order to agree upon a common working model that is agreeable to both.

Conclusion

A little advance planning and preparation can go a long way in ensuring that working offshore becomes beneficial to all parties concerned. While none of the factors listed above are of a technically complex nature, they are crucial soft components that must be addressed, and periodically monitored in order to make sure that all stakeholders benefit from any offshore engagement.

Do you agree? Would like to hear your thoughts as well.

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      CEO | Co-Founder

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