Outsourcing (contracting out a business process to a third party) comes in many guises. Many different business functions or processes are now outsourced by companies, largely with a view to achieving financial savings and to take advantage of specialist expertise or resources.
At one end of the scale, we handle arrangements for outsourcing the design, development, or contract manufacture of products or manufacturing components. Our clients include one of the world’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of payment cards and payment solutions to banks and the telecoms industry.
We have been engaged in major facilities management outsourcing projects where one or more business functions necessary for the physical maintenance or operation of offices, operating or manufacturing facilities are outsourced. This could include functions such catering, security, cleaning, gardening, logistics management or buildings or machinery maintenance. One of our largest projects in this area involved the representation of a global food and beverages manufacturer in the outsourcing of a variety of functions across its facilities in UK, Europe, and Asia.
We advise on the outsourcing of administrative business processes such as HR, payroll, recruitment, finance and accounting and other office functions.
Many of the above areas have a technology element but we also regularly advise on information technology (IT) outsourcing. In addition to outsourcing of functions such as application development, programming, maintenance and support we have been involved in projects for the development and hosting of sophisticated IT platforms to support core functions in the finance and banking, healthcare, defence and media sectors. We have assisted clients in the establishment of platforms for data storage and distribution, centralised procurement of food for a major care home operator and the hosting of a sports media archive. We have supported clients in the acquisition of telecommunications networks and satellite services.
As is the case for our other core practice areas, much of our work is international. Offshoring is a significant feature of outsourcing, and we have dealt with many offshore outsourcing arrangements.
Our expertise is not limited to specific industry sectors. Our clients include suppliers and customers, including some of the largest international outsourcing service providers, and UK based companies. We have received consistent external recognition for our extensive experience in this area. In what is a complex and technically demanding environment we always seek to apply common sense and a practical business understanding of the functions we are dealing with and potential risks for the business. Many advisers in this area focus too heavily on complex service level regimes and supplier “penalties” as the only fix. While those mechanisms have a valuable role, we try to focus on finding solutions to problems (legal and practical) that can enable businesses to continue to operate if problems occur. Damages claims may take years to materialise. For many businesses, the loss or deterioration of a core business function over a relatively short period could have a significant effect on their viability.
Below is an illustrative list of the types of arrangement that we typically handle.
- Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), including BPO Services in relation to finance and banking, marketing, procurement, supply chain, and HR.
- IT System Outsourcing including e-commerce, PaaS and SaaS agreements, development, testing and support agreements in relation to applications, platforms and software, hosting agreements
- Facilities Management Outsourcing including general facility management, equipment provision and maintenance, catering, cleaning, security and other on-site services
- Manufacturing Outsourcing including production, logistics, design, and development agreements
- SLA and service credit arrangements
- Confidentiality agreements and NDAs
- Framework agreements and call off contracts
- Supply agreements
- Software and other technology licences