In almost two decades of dealing with clients in the IT outsourcing industry, I have answered almost every hard question imaginable for prospects worried about finding the right IT outsourcing partner.
Based on my experience, I would like to share the top five questions you should ask outsourcing vendors like us before making a decision.
Do you have demonstrated capability in providing similar solutions?
The key word here is similar because finding an exact match will make your search overly difficult and rule out well-qualified vendors.
Specific points to consider include:
- team dynamics
What can go wrong? What are the possible risks to achieve the desired objectives?
The purpose of this question is to test the vendor’s ability to think through the project, anticipate risks and create a plan to mitigate them.
The answers don’t need to be perfect, just demonstrate the vendor’s intelligence.
What does the vendor need from you?
Any outsourcing arrangement is going to require some effort on your part to make it work.
Depending on the project, the vendor may need some of your time, artifacts like documentation, a governance structure and access to your infrastructure among other things.
Clearly understanding the needs of both parties beforehand will help ensure the partnership succeeds.
How does communication between two teams work?
Many outsourcing projects fail not due to individual capabilities, but more due to process and communication.
Ensure that communication aligns with your process through daily scrums, weekly meetings, informal Skype-based meetings or whatever works for your organization.
How do both sides have skin in the game?
The vendor should be prepared be penalized if they miss key milestones and rewarded if they meet them ensuring that they are invested in your success while strengthening your relationship.
These questions discussed in face to face meetings and phone meetings lead to a common understanding of objectives, comfort between two teams and can be used as the basis for 90 days plans.
Once the relationship begins, it is important to review the actual results against the expectations set in pre-sales.
With a little extra caution and effort, the results of your outsourcing partnership will be cause for celebration.
Are there any questions that you think I missed? Share your thoughts in the comments.