Outsourcing: Necessary Evil or Valued Partner?

Presentation Abstract

Outsourcing is both, and we know you’re worried about it. But it provides flexibility, quality, cost, speed, and scale: everything your leadership team expects of you.

It’s getting harder to justify fully-loaded headcount, with high costs and broad competence. It’s getting tougher to lead an offshore team, with high attrition and management overhead.

In this session, we’ll describe a resource strategy that addresses these challenges through a mix of staff and vendor, and we’ll share both perspectives!

You’ll benefit from our session if this describes your situation:

  • Your budget expands or contracts quarterly. Your resource requirements suddenly grow or decline as your product areas evolve or divest. You’re spending too much time recruiting, onboarding, and training.
  • Your company uses a staffing agency that simply gets you “bums in seats,” but provides no experience in content creation, and knows nothing of our profession.
  • You’re dealing with chaotic resourcing demands, as you try to stay co-located with product engineering teams while they move around the globe trying to find affordable talent.
  • You’re struggling to keep up with the latest technologies to meet customer expectations for an engaging information experience.
  • Your offshoring solution is really difficult to manage, due to time zone and cultural differences.

Objectives:

  • Describe the value of a strong vendor partnership
  • Explore the threats and challenges you’re facing in the decision to outsource
  • Share an effective vendor evaluation process
  • Describe how to build a successful vendor relationship
  • Describe best practices for governance:
    • assignment models and specifications
    • steering forums and key performance indicators
    • subjective evaluation methods
    • Give examples of high-value services to expect and opportunities to leverage with top-notch suppliers

What can attendees expect to learn?

CIDM Best Practices members will benefit from hearing real-life management success stories about outsourcing, from both client and vendor perspectives. Jennifer and Deb together bring extensive experience steering large-scale vendor partnerships. Managers often don’t know how to approach this business challenge, so we’d like to help them avoid the serious consequences of poor vendor selection and weak governance.

Meet the Presenters

Debbie Roemer is based in Silicon Valley and worked most recently for Sigma Technology as VP Business Development. Prior to that, Deb was a Director of Engineering at Ericsson, responsible for leading information development and training projects across NA, Europe, China, and India. She specializes in bringing skilled technical writers into software engineering teams, improving quality, speed, and productivity. With 20+ years’ experience, Deb has steered her teams through acquisitions and integrations, a DITA/CCMS transformation, outsourcing and offshoring, and the transition to Agile. She’s known for her ability to win executive support to drive improvement initiatives, and for her creative approaches to solving resource constraints. Deb believes that her most critical success factor is the ability to quantify and promote the strategic importance of information and its impact on key business metrics.

Jennifer Kaufman has been a Senior Manager in the Content Services Information Engineering (technical writing) department at NetApp for 13 years, Jennifer leads a diverse, geo-distributed team of content creators focused on developing material designed to enrich the customer experience and support the buyer’s journey. With a background in writing and film, and 20 years of experience in technical communication, she brings a passion for exploring a variety of content types to support partner, employee, and customer success through technical communication. A fan of both libraries and engineers, she believes data without context is useless, and that content without curation is chaos. @thejenkaufman

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