When to Outsource Your R&D Process to a Specialist

Posted by Pierre de la Fortune on July 13, 2015 @ 12:01 a.m.

Written by Kalen Smith

Entrepreneurs are innovative thinkers. Most aspire to be a jack-of-all-trades, which occasionally causes them to be a little overconfident in their abilities in areas they really know nothing about. This mentality often leads to disaster.

The problem with this attitude is that it leads to the inevitable tradeoff of being a generalist vs. being a specialist. You have probably already heard this discussion enough times to make to make you wish your ears fell off but I will summarize it briefly. Generalists lack expertise in any one area, so they are not well positioned to handle many of the challenges that they face.

Technology entrepreneurs face the same problem. Most do not know enough about the product development process to tackle this challenge themselves, even if they choose to believe otherwise. Some come from technical or engineering backgrounds and are well positioned to develop their own technology development strategies. However, even the entrepreneurs who come from technical backgrounds still must contend with the fact that they might need to ask for help on a problem they are not very knowledgeable about.

Product development is a complex task. Engineering is one of many disciplines that play a part. Engineers from the mechanical, electrical, chemical and nuclear disciplines often have to work together to synthesize a product that will fit into the market. Mechanical engineers may focus on structural, thermal, fluids or materials. Finally, a fluids engineer can focus on transient flow, high-speed applications or aerodynamic design processes.

If you thought that Google hired thousands of engineers with the same backgrounds who rotate around many different positions, you need to rethink the product development process. Quality products come when brilliant minds with unique experiences and different training bring their talents together.

Unfortunately, small technology entrepreneurs do not have the same resources Google does, so they cannot afford to hire every specialist they may need to give life to an ambitious idea for a new product or service. This is one of the reasons why outsourcing has become so big in the global business world. Companies sometimes need specialists who may not even exist in their own country. Outsourcing their service needs to a specialist may be a brilliant idea but it is can be difficult to find an outsourcing strategy that works. The following checklist has been proposed by most companies who have experience outsourcing services:

Does the company have the ability to handle the technology you are working with?

Are the goals of both companies in line with each other?

Have past clients been impressed with their services?

Do financial reports suggest stability?

Do they have the resources to handle the project requirements?

Do any subcontractors they use offer services of similar quality?

Most importantly, are they willing to adapt to your project requirements even if they are not consistent with their own process for providing services?

Outsourcing services can be a double edged sword. You have the ability to access specialized services that you could never offer yourself. On the other hand, you must sacrifice a lot of the control you have over your own development process. In order to maximize the potential of your outsourcing strategy, you must coordinate with vendors carefully and make sure the terms of your services are clear from the beginning.

For more info please list: http://www.blogtrepreneur.com/2010/09/22/when-to-outsource-your-rd-process-to-a-specialist/

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