Evolving consumer expectations, rapid technological growth, and competitive pressures are driving more organizations to embrace outsourcing and other digital transformations. The global outsourcing market was worth over $85.6 billion as of 2018 and is expected to grow by $105.5 (about 10% per year) between 2020 and 2024. The majority of businesses use outsourcing to reduce their expenses. Other reasons for outsourcing IT include gaining access to world-class capabilities, freeing up internal resources, and helping manage risks.
While there are numerous outsourcing providers to choose from, identifying the most suitable one can be a difficult task. You need to clearly define your expectations and answer important questions. This post offers 10 important tips that you can follow to get the right outsourcing firm for your project.
1. Define a clear scope of work
Writing a crystal-clear scope of work document is the first step towards identifying the right IT outsourcing provider. The idea is to recognize your needs then try to match the best possible outsourcing partner for the project. It is important to understand that outsiders will not understand your business processes as well as you can. Detailing everything outright from the word go can go a long way to set the stage for a successful outcome. Consider being super specific in terms of expectations and what you want to build.
2. Assess technical expertise
It is crucial that you assess outsourcing providers based on technical expertise. You want to learn what skill sets, technology, passion, and experience each team brings to the table. The company you select should be able to clearly outline which methodologies they have used to manage and complete projects of a similar nature. Issues such as project management and quality control should come in very strongly. There should be a business continuity plan in place so your company can receive support if and when needed.
3. Review market reputation
Market reputation is a good measure of how effective a certain IT outsourcing partner is. Nobody wants to be working with a provider who seems to miss deadlines and deliver a quality of work that is below-par. Consider using online sources to check what an outsourcing provider’s clients say about them. Asking for references and connecting with a few of these clients can provide valuable insights. As long as a company seems to be delivering on agreed-upon goals, meeting deadlines, and satisfying clients’ needs, then it should be good to go.
4. Consider budgetary constraints
Past surveys have shown that as many as 60% of businesses outsource in order to lower expenses. This makes cost one of the most important factors when assessing and comparing IT outsourcing companies. Start by considering your own budget needs to put a limit on how much you are willing to spend on the project. When discussing the project cost with potential providers, make sure there are no hidden costs that might inflate the total expenditure later on. Implementation, staff training, and maintenance should all be included. If the outsourcing provider offers fixed project costs, then these can help you save money.
5. Check infrastructure and technologies
The right outsourcing partner should be technologically-equipped to get the job done. Consider attending physical or virtual meetings to ascertain that the provider has the best IT infrastructure and technology. This should include both hardware and software components, along with strong internet and the most advanced data security measures. The idea is to make sure that the right methodologies, processes, and technology are in place to adequately tackle your project requirements.
6. Prioritize data security and intellectual property
Data security is one of the most important concerns especially when it comes to IT projects. Cyberattacks such as malware, phishing, man-in-the-middle attacks, Denial of Service (DOS), and SQL injections have increased dramatically over the last few years. You’ll need to share sensitive organizational data and information during the project lifecycle. For this reason, it is important that you sign a non-disclosure agreement and only work with providers who use the latest data security methodologies. Make sure to ask how the provider manages sensitive data during the interview phase so you get a clear idea of what to expect.
7.Go for agile methodologies
Agile development offers numerous benefits such as superior quality product, customer satisfaction, better control, improved project predictability, reduced risks, increased flexibility, and continuous improvement. Seasoned IT outsourcing providers know that accommodating customers’ always-changing requirements is a must-have in today’s competitive market. They thus use agile methodologies and similar approaches to leverage a highly-collaborative environment and achieve quick results while continually integrating upcoming requirements.
8. Select a flexible partner
Flexibility is another important factor to consider when choosing an IT outsourcing provider. New requirements and urgent problems can crop up at any time during project execution. Flexible partners are able to adapt to business goals and enhance operations instead of slowing it down. This can be even more important when working with providers in different time zones where timing differences may affect when urgent requests are taken care of.
9. Check what support is available
IT project support means that the provider will manage, maintain, and repair IT systems should need be after project completion. Before you conclude your search for an IT outsourcing partner, make sure that you are working with a firm that offers adequate and affordable support services. This is important so you can resolve issues in a timely manner and keep your systems working as required.
10. Communication and cultural compatibility
Communication and cultural compatibility are two often ignored (but important) considerations when interviewing and comparing IT outsourcing providers. Ideally, you want to work with a culturally compatible company that can easily understand your organization and its employees. The outsourcing partners should also comfortably speak your language so you can clearly convey requirements and business objectives. They should also be accessible on a 24/7 basis throughout the year to answer questions and take care of any support requests.
Finding the right outsourcing provider can seem like a daunting task. But getting this right is absolutely important so you can add value to your ongoing projects, reduce costs, increase efficiency, and achieve other important business goals.