There are three main types of technology outsourcing for business: technical support, the development of new technology, and the configuration of existing technology. Which type of technology outsourcing a company or organization chooses depends on its goal — whether it’s to upgrade products or services, branch out into vertical markets, or optimize business processes. Although many organizations have at least one IT professional on staff, most choose to outsource projects that require special training or are otherwise not manageable by in-house staff.
Technology outsourcing for technical customer support requires that the outsourced company be fully trained and familiarized with the product or service so they may provide customer support on behalf of the company that’s selling it. For example, a company that manufactures software or hardware might outsource a company that provides technical customer support via call centers. As most technical support can be administered by phone, email, or instant messaging (IM), the outsourced call center will sometimes be located in a different country or even continent. The practice of hiring other companies to provide support to your customers is sometimes referred to as “farming out” the customer service side of the business, and is often a necessity for growing companies.
Organizations might also choose technology outsourcing when they’re endeavoring to develop a new technology. Typically in this case, the organization has a general idea of what type of technological product or service they’d like to sell or license, but lacks the technological expertise to create such a product or service. For example, if an organization that sells paper decides to branch out into selling paper technologies such as printers and scanners, they may outsource a company that makes these products to design one for their brand. Expanding into complementary or “vertical” markets often requires technology outsourcing, and is a desirable goal for companies that are eager to grow.
Organizations that have been around for some time and continue to rely on old business processes are likely to require technology outsourcing at some point. For example, a government department that’s traditionally used a manual method of processing tax returns might outsource a software company that can configure a special type of software for their department’s unique needs. Some companies specifically design computer software for certain niche industries, such as accounting firms, salons, or government departments, and then configure the software to each client’s individual needs.