Is it true you get what you pay for?

I had a conversation with a coworker and we were discussing the benefits and costs of outsourcing based on a research study I found from an authoritative source. He is an accountant, so he is very familiar with what saves money and what doesn’t. His conclusion was that Outsourcing doesn’t save money when the company reaches a certain size, but it might make sense for companies that can’t afford a full-time person.

I have been thinking of this idea of value for years. I am often asked by clients to save money and I have noticed some really unfortunate decisions made by people. When people superficially analyze saving money, they make decisions that are not in their best interest. It is fascinating and sad. People don’t realize the downside of their decisions until after they are committed to them, and too often the soft costs are ignored until it is too late.

Is it true you get what you pay for?For example, I have worked with companies who have outsourced IT. Even though I was IT I was in a special position so I continued working there. What I saw is that the outsourced company quality was bad both in responsiveness and knowledge. Most people who are skilled in IT tend to be already hired as a full-time person. Most outsourcing that is cheaper, is because the people are often at the beginning of their IT career not someone who has had significant experience.

So you say to yourself, “Well its fine that they know less, because our users have simple problems.” Wrong! People who work for a company do not have easily solved problems. Many of the biggest costs in a company are due to processes and systems that haven’t had enough attention focused on them. For example, video conferencing is difficult for many companies. They tend to buy systems that people are unfamiliar with and almost the rule is that IT has to work out the issues at many meetings.

Even if you have perfect, new and well-supported systems, what happens with outsourcing IT and many other aspects, is that now you are no longer a priority. Again when I worked at companies with outsourcing, it was painful for people to be forced to accept that their priority was not the outsourcing companies priority. Too often with IT, the issue is not just technical but also based on the quirks of individual employees. On site IT understands that.

For example, one user forgets his password on a regular basis. When he called the outsourced help desk, he got a random person and they never learned the history of his user. They reset his password, and that just caused the problem to be worse. Now he couldn’t remember that password. The easiest solution is often not the best one, because the easy solutions have generally been tried and don’t work. In this case, I had to work with the user to find a way to remember his password, and then the company saved the $50 per support call he was doing.

Don’t misunderstand. This isn’t a justification of me to stay at whatever place I am working at. It is more of a request for managers or decision makers to consider the totality of what an employee does, before decisions of outsourcing are done. In addition to solving problems IT often improves business processes, trains people on software, and informally settles disputes and contentions. If someone is smart, dedicated and focused on a business success it is short-sited to get rid of them to find someone cheaper. You never can save yourself back into profits, it requires investment and real leadership.

Publish to LinkedIn from your WordPress blog automatically

I have been using a third-party free website to do this, but inexplicably it stopped working a few days ago. This wasn’t the first time this has happened, so to me, if something happens multiple times, it’s probably a flaw in the system. I looked for other options to publish to LinkedIn from your WordPress blog automatically and found this – NextScripts: Social Networks Auto-Poster

Publish to LinkedIn from your WordPress blog automaticallyI am not receiving any benefit for this review or any review I write on my blog. Just sharing what I find useful. I tried probably a dozen different publish to LinkedIn plugins. Most of them required you to take the ugly and time-consuming step of registering for a LinkedIn API and then copying and pasting it back into their software. Part of being an outstanding program is making things easy for the average person. So anything that isn’t easy or intuitive doesn’t make the cut. This software was remarkable. Once I installed it, it automatically picked up my Twitter/LinkedIn account probably from scanning my browser history. I didn’t have to do any setup. Well I had to do a test post and reconnect to LinkedIn, but that was just a button press, and easy to do.

Setting it up to work with Twitter requires the setup of a developer account which isn’t straightforward. However it is ultimately less time than trying to use a failed third-party update. It turns out that I couldn’t even post to one network even on their basic account. So I deleted my account and just using this plugin.

It doesn’t matter if this problem is due to LinkedIn or the third-party website, but when you have other free tools then it is worth investigating. What is neat about this NextScripts tool is that you can connect to so many different networks. This would be a great help for a social media manager or webmaster who handles marketing for a company. Or for non-profits who don’t have the ability to hire a full-time staff person. It is really neat how for a very low-cost, non-profits can reach an audience they never could in the past. Technology is an enabler ideally.

Update: What happened is that the third-party website changed its pricing structure and only allowed 1 delivery instead of two. Too bad it was a great service.