How to determine when a function is a core skill
Many companies, and the service providers that support them, talk about the importance of basic skills.
But what is a key skill? And how can a business separate a core skill from day-to-day business functions, many of which remain relevant and important?
âA core competency is an in-depth mastery or set of skills that enables an organization to deliver unique value to customers,â says Jon Caballero, director of managed services at Nearsol, a US-based BPO services company. âIt embodies the collective learning of an organization, particularly on how to coordinate various production skills and integrate multiple technologies. “
Nearsol himself has extensive experience in process management for captive companies and contact centers, and has an impressive portfolio of operational and technological resources. Caballero argues that the unique human and technological capabilities of a business must be fully understood before it is possible to develop and cultivate the right basic skills. To do this, companies must isolate their key capabilities and refine them into strengths across the organization.
Once done, an organization’s unique selling points should then be easy to identify: These are the products or services that are difficult for competitors to copy or buy, and which customers really appreciate. When these unique characteristics come into play, an organization can find itself in an enviable position, where it does not have to compete on price alone.
However, in order to capitalize on this advantage and win business over the competition, it is essential that a business does not become complacent. Basic skills should be flexible and develop over time – they should not remain rigid and frozen. The organization can then maximize the use of its resources and direct those resources to new opportunities.
Basic skills outside the company
A complicating factor when discussing core competencies is mission slippage, in which more and more aspects of a business are viewed as “core”. There is a simple explanation for this: we tell managers, and tell others, that every person and function in a company is important. Then to say that some functions are at the heart of a business, and others are not, may seem contradictory.
There is also a gap between products and business processes that are closely associated with human activity and those that are highly technology dependent. In recent years, technology has taken on a more prominent place – a big change from the 90s, when core competencies mainly referred to the performance of managers.
Core competencies are often directed outward and represent the ability to seek out and locate opportunities beyond the company
In addition, it is understood that core competencies are often directed outward and represent the ability to seek and locate opportunities beyond the company.
âOrganizations need to develop their core competencies to seek alliances, acquisitions and licensing deals,â says Caballero. âThese activities will further strengthen the strengths of the organization.
This is a critical observation. Traditionally, an organization can use a third party to deliver products and services that are outside of its core competencies. That way he could stick to what he did best. This model is still valid, but it has changed, as external providers are increasingly qualified to provide more complex and higher value-added business services.
When this is the case, it becomes even more important for an organization to truly understand its core business and assess which processes are best managed by service providers. An appropriate business model should help define how this work can be divided.
âOrganizations need to develop their core competencies to seek alliances, acquisitions and licensing dealsâ – Jon Caballero
If the model is not built around core competencies, there is a risk that smaller, less critical issues may dominate. If this happens, a business can have serious problems. Poor prioritization can lead to inefficiencies that divert attention and resources from areas critical to business success.
However, a good understanding of business priorities can free up a business to do what it does best, without wasting time and resources trying to become experts in areas where others are more capable. With this goal, an organization can also integrate its core competencies into all aspects of its operations, including branding.
Competence then becomes identity and contributes to the long-term success of the company. Critical areas such as quality control and innovation keep their priority, as do high levels of customer service, which can be delivered with the help of a third party.
Ultimately, an organization should not only identify and promote its core competencies. It must also ensure that every business interaction – whether directly with the consumer or as part of a B2B engagement – reflects the values ââand expertise that make a business unique and set it apart from the competition.