Referral networks grow Salmat's outsourcing business

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Referral networks grow Salmat's outsourcing business

Third-party partnerships get problems solved.

Salmat has established formal and informal partnerships with consultants to extend the reach of its outsourcing business.

The ASX-listed firm has grown significantly since its 1979 launch, laying claim to 60 percent of all business-to-customer communications and a quarter of all outsourced phone calls in Australia.

Seven thousand staff in eight countries provide a range of printing, mailing and call centre services to customers like Jetstar, the Australian Taxation Office and St.George Bank.

Salmat's head of customer contact solutions Andrew Hume attributes some of its success to relationships with "direct and indirect influences in the market".

In 2003, Hume represented Salmat as a founding member of the Chief Customer Officer Forum, an industry group run by customer service consultancy LimeBridge Australia.

Salmat also maintains an informal program comprising "both mainline tier one consulting firms and more specialist firms", Hume said.

While there are no financial dealings between these consultant partners and Salmat, the consultancies benefit by "getting problems solved", he said.

Outsourcing has come to the forefront of business agendas in recent years, as Australian organisations look to reduce costs or deliver efficiencies by engaging specialist service providers.

According to Jens Butler, Ovum's principal analyst of IT services, consultants play a significant role in setting the stage for outsourcing in post-GFC (global financial crisis) Australia.

"Consultants like Accenture, Capgemini, IBM are engaging at a strategic directional level -- especially now, compared to 12 months ago," he said.

"There's a lot more available for consulting work [that facilitates] a breadth of decision-making processes.

"From a philosophical perspective, I would say that the majority of deals now involve some sort of consulting or alignment work to define that framework to outsource."

Michael Pain, managing director of Accenture's management consulting division, said consultants may recommend outsourcing, improvements to existing processes, or hybrid solutions following a review of client organisations' performance.

Should a client choose to outsource, management consultants may be tasked with mapping out the journey, assisting with project management and suggesting further improvements.

The first step for an Accenture client choosing to outsource involves the development of "a detailed baseline for service levels and costs and the mapping of processes," Pain explained.

"Next comes the identification of the specific resources that will deliver the services to the client organisation, then its mobilisation and transition of services to the outsourcing provider.

"All this is managed by a dedicated program office and supported by quality management tools and service level agreements and a defined governance process," he said.

Josh Faulks, Salmat's head of external affairs, said building the company's reputation, capabilities and credentials with third party consultants was "very important to Salmat".

"We do gain business by way of referrals from third-party organisations ... Our clients regularly advise us that Salmat was recommended to them by a consultant," he said.

"Salmat is exploring opportunities to develop referral networks with consultants to help build Salmat's reputation as the expert in outsourced customer communications."

"Our aim is to be seen as the expert in outsourced customer communications and a partner in the change management process."

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