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Engaging in a digital transformation: Should I outsource or hire freelance?

Posted about 1 year ago by Ellie Tibbs
Pexels Harun Benli̇ 3701276 (1)

As businesses are looking for a return to growth many are examining the changing dynamics of consumer behaviour.

A recent report by customer data science specialists dunnhumby media revealed that digital e-commerce in areas like groceries, increased by as much as 30% during the pandemic. As lockdowns are lifted these behaviours are likely to remain in place, where it is advised brands should focus on how they can develop their online user experience and digital marketing strategies to compete against competitors.

With this in mind many of the businesses we work alongside are examining ways they can engage in a digital transformation, expanding their supply chains, IT and marketing infrastructure to create a seamless omni-channel experience.

However a key barrier for many businesses, especially SMEs, are the cost factors involved with expanding during a period of low economic growth, despite the promise of potentially high returns later down the line. With many seeking to retain a lean business model, it is anticipated around 28% of businesses are looking to outsource following Covid-19, with IT (37%) and Marketing (32%) leading the way.

Though outsourcing is a viable and often cost efficient option for engaging in digital transformation projects, in reality there are more effective options available, where businesses may wish to consider hiring a freelancer instead.

Hidden costs

Whilst outsourcing is often viewed as a cost efficient way to engage in new projects without the cost of hiring a new team member, there can be some hidden costs which you are not aware of. When outsourcing, some may require you to sign lengthy contractual agreements. These can take many forms, but ultimately could see you bound in a financial partnership for a set amount of time or until a project is complete with a heavy fee if you want to leave early.

Retrospectively, utilising a freelancer allows business owners to scale up their teams on-demand and with a degree of flexibility. In this relationship, owners have control over the dynamics of the contract, where they can opt to extend and reduce project scales with few financial implications.

Though different skillsets from web developers to UX designers and social media managers will charge a variable amount, which you can find by downloading our salary surveys, ultimately by hiring a freelancer business owners will have more flexibility over contractual costs which may otherwise be hidden or gradually increase over time when outsourcing.

Transparency and control

Freelancers are used to working in a variety of business environments, where they are able to adapt to their clients needs, timescales and working environment as advised upon placement. Though not employed on a permanent basis, whether working remotely or in office, they become a member of the organisation’s team.

This means business owners have more control over how projects are implemented, and often comment about receiving a higher level of transparency regarding progress compared to outsourcing, where often they are unlikely to receive daily updates.

Furthermore, due to working within closer proximity it is easier for business owners to make adaptations to plans and projects, granting them a higher level of control in the long-run.

Quality & more targeted

Sometimes when outsourcing things may get lost in translation or overall focus and transparent communications can be pushed aside, which ultimately may result in a lower quality of work than anticipated.

Whilst this may not be the case within all outsource organisations, it is understandable that business owners will want to know that their business is receiving the attention it deserves, especially if they are investing.

Though like outsource organisations freelancers are likely to be working on multiple projects at once, the volume of clients they handle is often lower compared to a large enterprise. As a result, they are likely to be more personal and hands on with their approach. Because they have the ability to work onsite, they are able to understand business owners and the businesses needs more effectively than an external entity.

For more information on how a freelancer may benefit you as a business owner, feel free to get in touch with us today.


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Header: Photo by HARUN BENLİ from Pexels