Outsourcing has become a common business model in the last 20 years, with global application. It is responsible for generating revenues of many trillions of dollars a year, says British Standards.

Nevertheless there are challenges and hazards. Not all outsourcing deals are a success. Some can fail dramatically and publicly, while others simply fail to perform well. To boost business efficiency, gain better value from outsourcing, and to help organisations avoid mis-steps, the international standards community has published BS ISO 37500:2014 Guidance on Outsourcing. This is the first international standard in this area.

The standard is aimed at anyone involved in outsourcing in national and international markets. It is relevant to all markets, such as manufacturers, retailers, financial services and the public sector, and provides information for the client side as well as the provider side.

The standard’s overarching aim is to help organisations achieve better outcomes and business efficiencies from outsourcing activity. It also aims to help build mutually beneficial collaborative relationships between outsourcing parties.

To do this, the standard provides: common practices, concepts and procedures to manage the outsourcing lifecycle. These set generic principles for outsourcing processes and their outputs; a common vocabulary of terminology which outsourcing practitioners can use to avoid misunderstandings and unrealistic expectations; and to reduce transaction costs: and detailed guidance across the whole outsourcing life cycle.

By using the standard, organisations can make efficiency gains, and build more collaborative and enduring relationships with outsourcing partners.