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Co-sourcing is the new outsourcing

Nov 17, 2017

Co-sourcing is the new outsourcing

Solicitor and co-founder of DictateNow, Maxine Park recently explained to the readers of Solicitors Journal magazine, how integrating external and internal resources can help law firms cut costs and deliver services more efficiently without concerns about data security.

Since its launch in 1856 Solicitors Journal has been a reliable and trusted source of information for thousands of legal professionals. It is dedicated to analysing the latest legal developments and assessing the likely impact on the legal sector.

Solicitors Journal prides itself on providing relevant and timely news in print and online, to keep readers up-to-date and well informed. Maxine’s article explains the benefits of transparency and greater control offered by co-sourcing, over the more common business process outsourcing.

Maxine’s article was published in the December issue, but for those of you who have not yet subscribed, please click this link and see what you’re missing.

Here’s what Maxine had to say:

Co-sourcing is the new outsourcing

As he set out his spending priorities, the Chancellor predicted the UK economy would grow by 2.4 percent in 2016, yet many organisations remain cautious about recruiting back to pre-recession levels, preferring to run far leaner operations.

And whilst many law firms chose to improve efficiency and profitability through outsourcing non-core business processes, Maxine Park, solicitor and co-founder of leading transcription service provider DictateNow, believes co-sourcing is the future.

“The benefits of outsourcing have been evident for some time, but many law firms are cautious about transferring sensitive and confidential services to external providers. There is a perception that some service providers utilise a largely anonymous workforce, often overseas, which can cause real problems for UK-based firms.

“It is this perceived lack of transparency or control over the process that has made some law firms nervous of outsourcing critical or sensitive services. Co-sourcing however, relies on a service provider bringing together a dedicated team to undertake work for each client, as an extension of their in-house resources.

“Integrating internal and external resources in this way, ensures services are delivered more efficiently. The larger service providers will also have unlimited resources to call on, to meet the changing demands of the client.

“Co-sourcing guarantees that law firms have the necessary resources on hand to cope with increased workloads, but does it without affecting the rest of the firm or adding to the headcount.

”Agreed minimum service levels are at the heart of the co-sourced solution, which ensures firms avoid the need to pay underused staff when projects are finished or workloads decrease across the firm. This ability to turn support on and off is a significant benefit for law firms experiencing growth, yet determined to concentrate on the core services that deliver profit.

“It’s essential due consideration is given to the level of data security, confidentiality, work tracking and control needed by modern well-regulated law firms, particularly in light of the recent Law Society Practice Note on outsourcing.

“With co-sourcing, the client’s data never leaves the law firms servers, as experienced UK-based legal secretaries, are granted secure, remote access to their systems to undertake remote typing and other support services.

“Working within the client’s system this way, co-sourcing ensures data remains secure and importantly for UK law firms, they can keep data on their servers or those being used in UK-owned data centres. This helps alleviate the fears expressed by some organisations, over attempts by US authorities to access data held on servers of US-owned data centres.

“The best co-sourcing solution is developed when the service provider’s typists spend time with the client to allow each team member to familiarise themselves with the system, whilst being taught the unique working methods of the firm and its business ethos.

“This level of team integration and understanding allows work to be completed quickly and efficiently, complementing any in-house resources, as if they were sat in the same offices.

“Co-sourcing is suitable for a range of essential services, including transcription of digital dictation files, copy typing, file opening, data input and document production along with work in the usual Microsoft Office programmes.

“Cost is an important consideration. Paying only for the time of the dedicated co-sourced team and not their National Insurance contributions, holiday pay, sick days, coffee breaks, office downtime, etc., is making co-sourcing increasingly attractive. When accurate evaluations are made of cost versus output, co-sourced secretaries outperform their in-house counterparts by a large margin.

“For those firms that downsized, a co-sourcing future means there is no need to increase office space, or squeeze more people into the existing space. This will keep rent to a minimum, especially for city centre practices with offices in high-rent locations.

“With the increasingly international nature of the work of many law firms, now requiring 24/7 support, trying to get people to work late and having to pay overtime can be a real headache. Co-sourcing makes evening and weekend working possible, with security and confidentiality compliance measures already in place to offer added peace of mind.

“When seeking co-sourcing partners, ISO 27001:2013 certification is a good starting point, demonstrating as it does that the service provider operates an effective Information Security Management System and is registered with the Information Commissioner's Office.

“Using certified partners will ensure there are no compliance issues, no matter what data is being worked with, avoiding the potential reputational damage when staff take work home on unsecured memory sticks, tablets or laptops.

“Outsourcing will continue to play an important role in the success of law firms of all sizes. But wider acceptance of the more cost effective co-sourcing approach will undoubtedly lead to fewer in-house secretarial and support staff in the future, helping firms of the future be more efficient and profitable. Which has to be good.”

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