Outsourcing has long been hailed as a cost-effective business strategy. Many organizations turn to outsourcing to save money by delegating non-core tasks to specialized service providers. While cost savings are undoubtedly one of the benefits of outsourcing, it's important to recognize that the true value of outsourcing goes beyond the balance sheet. In fact, outsourcing is not just about saving money; it's about reducing the burden and headache associated with maintaining in-house teams for support functions. To illustrate this point, let's explore a prime example of WhatsApp's journey from a small team to a global phenomenon, all while outsourcing its support functions.
WhatsApp: A Lean and Mean Team
WhatsApp, the ubiquitous messaging app, started as a small team of engineers with a simple mission: to provide a reliable and secure messaging platform. Founded in 2009 by Brian Acton and Jan Koum, the company quickly gained traction and attracted millions of users worldwide. What makes WhatsApp's story interesting in the context of outsourcing is its commitment to staying lean and focused on its core mission.
When WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for a whopping $19 billion, it had a relatively small team of fewer than 100 employees. This minimalist approach to staffing was made possible, in part, by their strategic use of outsourcing for various support functions.
Outsourcing Support Functions
WhatsApp recognized that to achieve global scalability and maintain its focus on providing a seamless messaging experience, it needed to minimize distractions and operational overhead. Here's how WhatsApp leveraged outsourcing to reduce the burden and headache of handling support functions:
Customer Support: Managing customer inquiries and complaints is a resource-intensive task. WhatsApp outsourced a significant portion of its customer support to specialized call centers and support providers. This allowed the core WhatsApp team to concentrate on product development and user experience.
Server Infrastructure: WhatsApp's rapid user growth meant a constant need for server maintenance, scalability, and security. Instead of building and managing an in-house IT team, they relied on outsourcing partners who specialized in server management and data security.
Localization and Translation: To cater to a global user base, WhatsApp needed support for multiple languages and cultures. Rather than hiring a full-time team of translators and localization experts, they outsourced these functions to agencies with expertise in localization, ensuring a seamless user experience worldwide.
The Results: Reduced Burden and Enhanced Focus
By outsourcing these crucial support functions, WhatsApp was able to achieve several key benefits:
Scalability: WhatsApp could rapidly scale its user base without the burden of scaling its internal support teams at the same pace.
Cost Efficiency: While cost savings were a part of the equation, the true value came from efficiently allocating resources where they mattered most: improving the core product.
Global Reach: With outsourced localization and customer support, WhatsApp could effectively reach and engage users from diverse backgrounds and languages.
Research and Data
A study conducted by Deloitte in 2020 titled "The Global Outsourcing Survey" found that cost reduction was not the sole driver behind outsourcing decisions. The survey revealed that 63% of the respondents cited "improving focus on core business" as a key reason for outsourcing, while only 41% mentioned "cost reduction" as the primary motivation.
Another survey by Accenture titled "The State of Outsourcing 2021" showed that 77% of respondents believed that outsourcing allowed their organizations to better focus on strategic priorities and innovation.
WhatsApp's journey from a small startup with limited staff to a global phenomenon underlines the fact that outsourcing is not just about saving money; it's about reducing the burden and headache associated with support functions. By outsourcing non-core tasks, organizations can channel their resources and energy toward what truly matters – their core mission and the enhancement of their products or services. The case of WhatsApp serves as a compelling example of how outsourcing can be a strategic tool for success in the modern business landscape.
If you are looking for outsourcing your support functions. We at maple hill can help you with this. feel free to contact our team to guide you through the transition.