'Trust in me, just in me.
Shut your eyes and trust in me'.
You probably recognize the opening lines from the song in The Jungle Book where Kaa tries to hypnotize Mowgli. Shame on you if you don't, and once you finish reading this blog, go and watch both the original and the new version. For your next pop quiz, here's some trivia. How many times has this song been covered? No less than 7 times!
When I hear these lyrics I quiver, just a tiny bit, and think "Ahh, the outsourcing mantra". Buy me a beer and I'll tell you what I think of outsourcing. Actually, if you let me buy you a beer, I'll tell you what I really think about outsourcing. I save the best for the night cap round, but it's worth it. As tempting as this offer may sound, it will be better (and healthier) for us all if I just elaborate.
On paper, the monetary benefits that can be achieved by outsourcing daily repetitive tasks look incredible. Payroll, Office Space (great movie, but not what I mean), Equipment, to name a few of the obvious ones. Those are of course offset by the invoices from the offshoring firm, but the savings are still enticing. Which begs the question, why did my client have panic attacks when he started to receive the invoices from the firm to which he had outsourced the firewall management? Whilst this was my client's experience, it is not a unique case.
We try and protect ourselves with legalese (contracts, handshakes), but trust is the real key to success here. If you get food poisoning at a restaurant, they lose your trust. If the mechanic hands you a bill for car repairs that both exceeds the value of the car and has "Description: Special chemicals" (true story, please don't ask), he's lost your trust.
Here, both parties had agreed that my client was buying 'X' changes monthly, and above that there would be a surcharge. The outsourcing firm simply counted the number of change requests per month for my client and billed accordingly. The panic attacks began when the invoices unexpectedly started to include the hefty additional surcharge.
Just as there is no 'I' in team, you cannot create trust without 'us'. In this case the 'us' (my client and his chosen outsourcing firm) found a way to establish and solidify their trust. Cue - stage right enter: Tufin Orchestration Suite.
By bringing full accountability for every change into the picture, not only was my client able to accurately quantify the number of changes being made, but was able to identify unnecessary changes, too. It was a total game changer in this case, and all because of a single out-of-the-box report from his Tufin deployment. The company doing the outsourcing benefited, too – my client married the invoices against the reported changes, and found very few discrepancies. This established a strong level of trust between the two, allowing my client to have full confidence when recommending his chosen outsource firm, whilst additionally proving that the expected benefits of this outsourcing effort were being realized. And I realized my client was doubly smart – deriving more benefits than before from his Tufin estate and having a successful outsourcing partnership. Kudos!
Disclaimer: No part of this blog was outsourced and no outsourcing agents were harmed whilst it was being written.