Outsourcing v. Insourcing in Services | What aspects to consider? Creative Question

Cases outsourcing Practice cases
New answer on Apr 30, 2020
4 Answers
Anonymous A asked on Apr 16, 2020

Hi dear Prep Community,

I have had some issues to deal with a creative question on "outsourcing v. insourcing pros and cons" in services. I know that one-fits-all structures are useless, but I would like to know what are the key aspects that I should keep in mine.
Can you kindly give me an example of buckets I could use for this answer?

Thank you for your help!


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Content Creator
replied on Apr 16, 2020
BCG Project Leader | 3+ years interview experience for BCG SEA recruiting | Kellogg MBA, NTU, Peking University

Hi there,

A few areas that you want to take into consideration:

(1) Cost: Note that you should consider not only the $ directly associated with product manufacturing or service deliver, but also the cost in coordination and logistics (can be qualitative if no data available)

(2) Speed: This would be case specific, depending on the industry and what is the task being considered for outsourcing. Outsourcing could be fast compared to building from scratch, but could be slower when there is back and forth alignment required

(3) Degree of control: This could affect quality, branding (if it is service driven business) etc.

Hope it helps,


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Content Creator
replied on Apr 16, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


The one that I see key when determinin whether to outsource or not is the flexibility this gives you, in terms of:

  • Costs: you don´t have any fixed, but can contract ad-hoc external sources
  • Times: many businesses run in cycles, with high peaks of work where you would need some back up capacity and also long valleys where you are indeed over-sized. Outsourcing solves this, and gives you the posibility of contract ad-hoc when needed

However, I would also mention:

  • Cost: normally it´s more expensive than in-house solution, since this is precisely the value prop for the people to whom you are outsourcing
  • Capability building: that is not generated within the org when you rely on outsourcing. This drives you to problematic situations such as:
    • Dependence of them
    • Disadvantage to other players that indeed are developping in-house capabilities

Hope it helps!



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CoachingPlus Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 16, 2020
150+ interviews | 5+ years experience | Kearney & Accenture | Sold consulting startup| London Business School


In addition to what others have mentioned I think there are two more relevant factors:

  • Expertise: in or outsourcing might hold proprietary or unique expertise. Second, expertise might allow for more nimbleness which is relevant is the product/service is subject to change.
  • Scalability: often outsourcing will be easier to scale. This is particularly relevant if you talk about technology services.
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Content Creator
replied on Apr 30, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi, I would identify the top KPI involved in the decision and then give a grade for each of them depending on the scenario. Cost (one-off and recurring), speed, control over quality and ability to react to technological transformation are generally the most important things to consider. It will be important however to customize the answer on the client, the industry and the main question of the case.

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Emily gave the best answer


Content Creator
BCG Project Leader | 3+ years interview experience for BCG SEA recruiting | Kellogg MBA, NTU, Peking University
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