Onsite vs Offshore: The Real Costs of Offshoring Content Management

Should you offshore? The prospect of offshoring your content management to reduce expenses may be tempting. Before you count up the monetary savings, remember to figure in the costs of reduced control, quality and agility. The professionals at StyleMatters handle content management and knowledge management for domestic and international clients, and we can advise you on the pluses and minuses of any strategy.

Geographical Separation Diminishes Control and Agility

When your team is in a distant time zone, it can be hard to put out fires in real time. If you don’t share many waking hours, you may have to communicate through email or voicemail. Even if your clocks differ by only a few hours, an emergency can happen before your remote team comes online―or after they leave for the night.

In some cases, waiting a few hours to communicate is not acceptable. One of the great features of an in-house team is its availability for face time. In person, you can convey the gravity of your crisis and get the stakeholder information you need to implement an optimal solution immediately. An onsite StyleMatters team can provide many valuable services.

Culture Shock

If most of your employees work in a single location, their daily interactions reinforce the values that you prioritize. They propagate the culture of your business as they talk and work together. Remote employees have to rely on telephone conversations and written communications. They do not have the same opportunities to share ideas and hone practices by interacting with diverse stakeholders in the context of your business culture.

Let’s say you do choose to offshore your content management. While you may not end up with messaging that claims that you can reanimate customers’ ancestors, as Coca-Cola did when it offshored its “Coke adds life” advertisements, you may still run into snags. According to a study by Accenture, “two-thirds of 200 U.S. business executives said that miscommunication arising from cultural differences has caused problems when outsourcing offshore.”

Experienced writers who are native speakers usually have a widest palette to draw from to meet your communication needs. Their familiarity with the language allows them to adapt it to fit the desired tone of each communication, and to avoid potentially embarrassing misinterpretations of your message.

Accounting for Accountability and Quality

It’s difficult to escape a sense of accountability when your boss or your client is physically present. Sometimes geographically distant teams produce products of lower quality because they lack this important motivator. When Boeing offshored the parts manufacturing for its 787 jetliner, poor quality forced the company to ground the entire fleet of 787s and spend a billion dollars to purchase one of the manufacturers.

Before you assume that offshoring will reduce your costs, consider the value of proximity, agility, shared culture, and reduced risk. While many of the physical challenges of offshoring have been overcome, significant concerns about control, communication and culture remain. The team at StyleMatters is here to help, so give us a call with your questions!

Alan Biehn currently works as a Technical Writer for StyleMatters in Philadelphia’s tallest building.
He holds a BS in Audio Recording from The Ohio State University and recently earned his Masters in Environmental Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Alan has worked as a marketing writer and editor for nonprofit organizations and ESL professionals, as well as for major commercial clients.



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