How to Choose the Right IT Outsourcing Provider

Selecting an outsourcing provider can be difficult, but these project management tips will help you pick the right vendor to meet your current and future needs, and ensure the success of your project.

By Albert Lee
Mon, November 17, 2008

CIO — So, you have decided to outsource. The journey to that decision was no doubt a difficult one, but now comes the hardest part: the road to selecting an outsourcing partner. Take the wrong path, and your project will be destined for failure, but the right one could lead you to a valuable outsourcing relationship for years to come. Here are five steps that should be on your roadmap to choosing your outsourcing partner.

Business 101: What is your mission statement?

It is surprising how many IT projects are kicked off these days without a basic charter or mission statement. Before you enter into any project, it is important to identify your goals and your success criteria up front. This critical planning step ensures you stay focused on what you hope to get out of an outsourcing relationship.

Get buy-in from everyone.

Now that you have a plan, it is time to put on your sales hat and sell the idea internally. To many executives, outsourcing remains a dirty word. No matter how much money you think you will save, or how much additional revenue your project could generate, your project is doomed to fail if your executive team is not on-board from day one. Be prepared to answer difficult questions on how your plan will benefit the organization, including the C-suite, and then be prepared to address these same concerns with the employees. Proceed with caution—the success of your outsourcing project requires participation from everyone in your organization. Your organization needs to be both physically and emotionally prepared before you attempt to engage an outsourcing partner.

Do your research, and make your first phone calls.

Now that your business is on-board, it is time to make those first phone calls to potential outsourcing partners. Try not to think of these as sales calls. Treat these calls as job interviews. Think of the person on the other end of the phone as someone who is applying for a job at your company.

Do they know your industry? Do they have clients similar in size to yours? How long have they been in business? Do they understand your project mission, and are they prepared to work with you to achieve your success criteria?

A successful outsourcing partnership is built on trust. Would you hire the person you are talking to? If not, best move on.

Be ready to go native!

So you have found a few folks you like. It is time to do your due diligence. Remember, the partner you choose is in a different country. In order to use them effectively as an extension of your staff, you should spend the time to better understand what it is like to be an employee in a different country. Go native!

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