Outsourced Tech Support: Successful Companies That Use It

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Written by Rene Mallari

Contents

What are the keys to business success? Hard work, determination, focus, patience, discipline, gratitude, and outsourcing.

Many global companies nowadays credit their growth, stability, influence, expansion, popularity, and success to outsourcing, like outsourcing operations such as technical support, customer service, marketing and sales, and financing. Outsourcing select business functions improve efficiency, productivity, and profit.

This article provides some outsourced tech support examples and the companies that have succeeded with this strategy.

Continue reading to find out. 

 

Eight Successful Companies That Outsourced Tech Support 

Successful Companies That Outsourced

Business process outsourcing (BPO) companies take care of clients who want to outsource data entry, customer support, technical services, and other processes. External service providers assure companies of benefits when managing operations, including operating cost reduction, professional advice, and core skills.

Because corporations spend more on technology, outsourcing tech support is expanding. The global IT services industry, including outsourcing firms, might increase by 8% annually between 2021 and 2026, reaching $1.1 trillion by 2026. Clearly, tech assistance and IT outsourcing are vital to organizations’ long-term competitiveness, profitability, and success.

Eight tech support clients sought external help to improve their technical operations, and IT outsourcing tactics contributed to their success.

 

1. Skype 

Industry: Telecommunications

Year founded: 2003

Head office location: Redmond, Washington 

Market coverage: Worldwide

Products/services: Videotelephony, voice over internet telephony, online chat

Number of employees: 10,000+ 

Outsourced tech support example: Back-end development 

Reason(s) for outsourcing: Tap into specialized technical expertise for advanced communication technology development 

How the company succeeded with outsourced operations:

Early Skype customers encountered technical challenges. The Danish and Swedish creators needed more professionals to strengthen the platform. They outsourced the system’s back-end development to three Estonian IT specialists. Soon after, they released improved instant messaging, file transfer, and video chat.

The product was a massive global hit. In 2006, three years after the product’s inception, registered users swelled to over 100 million. The free video call service changed the telecom sector when long-distance and international calls were expensive and face-to-face calls were rare.

The groundbreaking technology caught the attention of eBay. In 2005, the online shopping leader paid $2.5 billion for the startup. Microsoft paid $8.5 billion for it five years later. Ultimately, Skype has had almost 4 billion users since 2010.

Skype’s game-changing wireless service is partly due to back-office outsourcing services. The Estonian software developers eventually became Skype’s business partners.  

 

2. Google

Industry: Internet content and information, cloud computing, software, hardware  

Year founded: 1998

Head office location: Menlo Park, California 

Market coverage: Worldwide

Products/services: Google Search, Google Ads, Gmail, Android, Google Docs Editors, YouTube, and more  

Number of employees: 139,000+ 

Outsourced tech support examples: Software maintenance and development, IT infrastructure management, and software engineering and testing  

Reasons for outsourcing: Tap into specialized technical expertise, meet consumer demand, and reduce operating costs 

How the company succeeded with outsourced operations

Google outsourced Google Ads (formerly AdWords) phone and email support in 2011. It assigned over 1,000 agents globally to improve and manage the advertising platform for internet users and marketers. 

The corporation made tremendous revenue after the successful campaign. It began outsourcing IT infrastructure management and software development in 2016 to reduce non-core costs.

The tech giant also outsources software development and testing. External IT helps the corporation build, monitor, check, and release best-selling products such as YouTube and search apps for iOS and Android. Billions use its video-sharing platform and operating systems on smartphones, tablets, and other devices.

The world’s largest search engine credits outsourcing for much of its success. Google’s third-party workforce has regularly outnumbered regular employees, especially when the pandemic hit.

 

3. Unilever

Industry: Consumer goods 

Year founded: 1929

Head office location: London, England

Market coverage: Worldwide

Products/services: Food, toothpaste, personal care, coffee, tea, breakfast cereals, and more  

Number of employees: 148,000+

Outsourced tech support example: Enterprise resource planning (ERP) system development    

Reason(s) for outsourcing: Unify the company’s multiple IT systems into a single ERP platform to streamline operations and reduce overall costs

How the company succeeded with outsourced operations

Unilever’s 24 European businesses had different, isolated IT systems. The siloed processes led to uneven and difficult communication, limiting efficiency and growth.

In 2005, the company launched its two-year business technology transformation initiative, “One Unilever.” It intended to deploy a single ERP platform to streamline its European IT, human resources, accounting, and financing tasks. The continent cornered over 30% of its global business and employed at least 30,000 workers.

The initiative mainly outsourced ERP system development and other programs to reputable third-party service providers. The company entered into multiyear contracts with established vendors to integrate its complex processes into a single system.

Upon completion, the organization experienced wider access to information for better decision-making. The IT outsourcing effort contributed to the company’s yearly savings of at least €700 million (about $713 million) in operational activities.

Unilever realized early on that outsourcing tech functions was less risky and more cost-effective than employing its own resources.

 

4. Citigroup

Industry: Financial services 

Year founded: 1998

Head office location: New York City, New York

Market coverage: Worldwide

Products/services: Banking, credit cards, insurance, mutual funds, equities trading, and more  

Number of employees: 210,000+

Outsourced tech support examples: Application development, data center management, help desk support, software integration, and other IT-related services 

Reasons for outsourcing: Decrease operating expenses, integrate IT systems and reduce spending resulting from stricter U.S. government banking regulations. 

How the company succeeded with outsourced operations

Back-office outsourcing is nothing new to Citigroup. It has been delegating its customer service, tech support, and administrative processes to third-party vendors since 1992. Poland, the Philippines, and India are its favorite outsourcing destinations.  

Several years ago, the financial giant transferred its IT and back-office projects to BPO companies in India. It wanted to consolidate its IT systems and manage the high costs of complying with newly imposed banking policies by the U.S. government. 

The BPO firms provided the international bank with end-to-end and domain-led solutions to enhance its product offerings and processes. Their tech support staff unified Citigroup’s data centers, software applications, and other platforms, avoiding compliance and merger-related costs and allowing clients to transact faster.

Citigroup has saved over a billion dollars yearly since 2014 by contracting tech assistance and IT specialists. In the same year, the company offshored 10,000 positions from its main headquarters.

 

5. Alibaba

Industry: Technology and the internet 

Year founded: 1999

Head office location: Hangzhou, China

Market coverage: Worldwide

Products/services: Ecommerce, mobile commerce, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing. TV shows, films, and more  

Number of employees: 254,000+

Outsourced tech support examples: Web, software, and other back-end developments 

Reason(s) for outsourcing: Hire skilled U.S.-based professionals to develop a website targeting Chinese- and English-speaking online markets. 

How the company succeeded with outsourced operations

Alibaba, known as the eBay of China, began as a small internet startup in the late 1990s. Ecommerce and company websites for client connections were widespread during this time.

In 1999, the company had trouble locating Chinese IT specialists and complying with China’s internet restrictions, which hindered website and software development.

The ecommerce firm recruited a U.S. business to build its back end. Alibaba’s outsourcing activities helped them acquire the tech talent China lacked at the time. The American tech support team and Chinese developers built the website, making it appealing to English and Chinese online buyers.

Employing foreign IT professionals paid off. In the next few years, Alibaba’s ecommerce transactions increased dramatically. The corporation raised $25 billion in its 2014 initial public offering (IPO) to fuel commercial development.

 

6. WhatsApp

Industry: Software and technology 

Year Founded: 2012

Head office location: Menlo Park, California

Market coverage: Worldwide

Products/services: Mobile applications, instant messaging, and cross-platform mobile messaging application  

Number of employees: Fewer than 200 

Outsourced tech support example: Application development for the iOS platform and web development

Reason for outsourcing: Optimize operating costs amid fund limitations 

How the company succeeded with outsourced operations

The instant messaging network provider’s experience is a classic example of highly successful outsourcing. The company launched in 2012 with $250,000 and 30 regular and part-time employees in California.

With budget constraints, WhatsApp turned to outsource core and software development. It outsourced iPhone app development and other technical responsibilities to a professional Russian team of developers. Meanwhile, the U.S. office handled customer service and administration.

Upon market release, the messaging platform became the most downloaded app on App Store, Google Play, and other digital retailers. Two years later, social media giant Facebook bought the firm for $19 billion.

In eight years, WhatsApp grew from 50 million to two billion users. During the company’s challenging years, IT outsourcing was key. Ultimately, before Facebook’s takeover, the Russian developers were relocated to the U.S. office and hired full-time.

 

7. AT&T

Industry: Telecommunications 

Year founded: 1983 

Head office location: Dallas, Texas 

Market coverage: Worldwide

Products/services: Fixed-line telephones, mobile phones, internet service, and satellite TV 

Number of employees: 200,000+

Outsourced tech support examples: Network applications improvement and maintenance and billing and web solutions support  

Reasons for outsourcing: Upgrade IT network and shared systems, migrate to cloud computing, and focus on core activities.

How the company succeeded with outsourced operations

AT&T is among the largest outsourcers of customer service and tech support in the Philippines, Mexico, and India. The telecom giant inked multibillion-dollar, long-term contracts with BPO businesses to delegate back-end activities, allowing it to focus on its core operations.

The company lets service providers manage its various applications that support networks and shared systems. The telecom company worked with them to enhance IT deployment agility and digital transformation return on investment (ROI). It tasked partners with implementing AI and data analytics.

The company previously outsourced its online and billing systems to an Asian vendor for low-cost, expert services. The intention was to retain users and improve customer service.

AT&T heavily relies on technology outsourcing to achieve its core objectives. Its goals include obtaining 5G technology and moving activities to the cloud.

 

8. Slack

Industry: Internet 

Year founded: 2009 

Head office location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 

Market coverage: Worldwide

Products/services: Business instant messaging platform

Number of employees: 2,500+

Outsourced tech support examples: Software and mobile application developments, logo design, and beta testing   

Reason(s) for outsourcing: Develop a user-friendly and stylish business communication platform 

How the company succeeded with outsourced operations

Before officially launching the workplace communication services, Slack Technologies locally outsourced the app to a service provider for beta testing. The test gathered feedback and other information to help develop a tool unique from competitors. 

The third-party firm then worked on the logo theme, site design improvement, and software development to build web and mobile apps. 

Slack debuted in 2013. Its target market loved its stylishness, convenient functionality, and user-friendly interface. With its break-neck growth rate, the company acquired an additional $250 million fund in 2017, increasing its total value to $5 billion. 

In 2019, Slack went public on the New York Stock Exchange. Two years later, Salesforce bought it for nearly $28 billion. 

Early IT outsourcing helped Slack become a popular business communication network, especially for small organizations and startups. Over 10 million people now use the platform daily.

 

The Bottom Line 

Companies of all shapes and sizes have been turning to BPO companies and other service providers to outsource data entry services, IT support, and customer service to improve operational efficiency and revenue.

The organizations named in this article are just a few that outsourced tech services to accelerate their growth and expansion. Many have reaped IT outsourcing rewards and become successful in their sector. 

Outsourcing is an important strategy that every business should consider and discuss in executive and board meetings. Choose the right BPO company, and outsourcing will help your business succeed.

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