How to Evaluate Your Outsourcing Options

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By Pratik H

evaluating IT options

You have now done the math and noticed that outsourcing is efficient and will save you lots of money and manpower. The next step is for you to go ahead with your outsourcing plans. One of them is choosing an outsourcing partner.

In this phase, the partner you choose will determine whether you will achieve the results you are looking for or you will lag. When evaluating such a decision, the ability of your vendor to fulfill your requirements is an important consideration. Here are the criteria you need to use to evaluate your vendors or partner.

Know Your Requirements

Before you outsource any business functions in your organizations, you need to know the requirements you want to be outsourced. Get your management or team together and discuss your goals and the list of tasks the organization needs to be outsourced. The second thing you will need to do is list the critical processes that need to be outsourced. Best of all, the procedure to be followed by the outsourcing team. You can also create charts or systems that need to be followed. At the end of the day, it is you who knows your business better than them. The more detailed you are in your requirement, the more you make the job easier for them.

Establish Industry Experience

There's a way of evaluating your outsourcing service provider that most businesses overlook. You need to evaluate the provider based on quality, quantity, and industry level experience. You can do this by tracking their client records to find out whether their clients are happy with the services or not.

Since your business is growing, you also need to figure out if the outsourcing company can support you when you diversify in the future. The problem of working with many outsourcing companies is, you may have inconsistent data which is unsafe. That is why you must evaluate your vendor with a sample of work. That way, you will know whether the company can meet your expectations or not.

The company that you also choose to work with must have adequate knowledge and experience to qualify for the tasks you have. What you can do is to ask them questions about the kind of projects they have handled in the past. Questions like, what did you like about this project? What was the most challenging part about it? Do you have team members with these skills and what is their experience? The more questions you ask at this stage, the more confident you will be whether they can handle the job or not.

Assessing their Technical Expertise

The outsourcing provider needs to explain the methodology they use to manage their projects, track their results, and solve their issues so you understand how they will handle your projects.

That said, the outsourcing partner you choose has to have excellent project management skills and quality control. Also if they have a business continuity plan, assure you of uninterrupted services and support.

Provider’s Reference and Samples

Before you outsource any project to the outsourcing company, you must know their background. That will give you a better understanding of how they treat their clients and the delivery of their services. The best thing you can do is to request feedback from their past clients to find out the scope and quality of services. You can also inquire about the challenges they faced and how the team solved it.

Alternatively, if they have case studies on their website, you can familiarize with them to find out how the company achieved certain results. If possible, you can ask them for a portfolio of their work or prototypes so you have a deep understanding of their output before you sign the contract.

Communication and Client Management System

When outsourcing any project, communication is vital to the success of the project. Excellent communication will ensure that everyone's expectations are met and you guys are on the same page. One thing you need to ask is their mode of communication. 

What do they use to communicate with their client? Do they use email, phone, Voice over Internet Protocol, or other messaging services like WhatsApp, Slack, or messenger? If you are also in a different time zone, you need to know their working hours and agree on the time of communication so that you don't have gaps in communication.

IT Infrastructure and System

An excellent IT service provider should have the needed infrastructure and systems in place to support your company's objectives and goals. What that means is, they should have the latest software and hardware components, reliable servers, better internet, and other IT utilities integrated into their system. That way, you will have confidence that you are receiving the latest products from them without any bugs or hiccups.

Test their Competency

Every business person will tell you that outsourcing carries some risk which most people don't love. Imagine feeling confident outsourcing the work only to come back with lots of revision or to turn out bad. It is a complete waste of time and money for your company. What you can do here is to offer the provider one-off IT projects to test their core skills. If the first few projects turn out well, that's when you can outsource the entire project. A little test will expose their side of work and you can use that to gauge their communication skills, quality, and support. That way, you won't be risking your time and money, which can hurt your company.