In 2018, the revenue of information technology (IT) outsourcing was $62 billion globally. From developing apps for businesses to facilitating a stronger cybersecurity system, IT outsourcing companies have become a staple for small and large companies alike.
There are many IT outsourcing benefits, including:
- Access to specialized, experienced experts all over the world
- Ability to free up time for you to focus on core business functions
If you’re considering using IT outsourcing services, whether instead of in-house employees or as a means of augmenting their efforts, there are some important considerations to keep in mind. Here are nine things to think about when you outsource.
1. Establish your own goals and expectations
Before you embark on any partnership with an IT outsourcing company, consider what you’re looking for. Do you want general support and maintenance for your technology systems? Do you need a team to focus on network operations? Would you like to build a stronger security system? Is there a specific project you’re looking for help facilitating, such as building a mobile or web application?
Once you’ve determined your goals, think about the scope of the project. Will it be a short-term, one-off assignment, or are you hoping to build a longer-term partnership? You also need to consider what success looks like to you. How will you know when the work is complete? What benchmarks do the IT outsourcing companies need to reach for you to be satisfied with the results?
2. Consider different models
You’ll have plenty of options, including onshore, offshore, and nearshore IT outsourcing. Each model has its own advantages and drawbacks. For example, offshore outsourcing is probably your cheapest option, but given that you’ll be working with a team across the world, you may encounter obstacles like language and time zone barriers, which can hinder communication.
Meanwhile, nearshore outsourcing has the advantage of being close to you in terms of physical and cultural proximity but may be a bit more expensive — although not as pricey as onshore options.
You should also consider the function the IT outsourcing company will provide. You may, for instance, choose to keep some tasks in house, while others will fall under the purview of the IT outsource team.
3. Look for IT outsourcing companies with experience in your niche
Several IT outsourcing companies may have years and years of experience, but if it’s not in your field or industry, that could present some challenges. You want professionals who understand the demands of your field, what types of issues are most prevalent, the language and terminology, and more.
When you’re interviewing prospective partners, ask if they’ve worked with businesses in the same industry as yours. For instance, if your business is in the retail industry, you might ask if they’ve built apps to facilitate better shopping experiences.
4. Consider references and reviews
Any quality candidate should be able to provide you with references to consult — and if they can’t, you probably don’t want to work with them. Ask their past clients about their experiences using these IT outsourcing services, including the pros and cons.
You should also be able to find reviews online. There are some forums dedicated to reviewing this type of service, including Clutch.co.
5. Ask for a portfolio
A portfolio of previous work can give you insight into what to expect from the IT outsourcing companies you hire. Make sure the work is consistent with the image they’ve put forth and that the quality matches your needs and expectations. Again, if they’re unable to furnish these materials, you probably don’t want to work with them.
6. Don’t choose the cheapest option
It’s tempting to automatically go with the least pricey option, but you usually get what you pay for. You don’t want to skimp on quality to save money — you’ll likely end up with subpar work. That doesn’t mean you should choose the most expensive option just for the sake of it, either.
Consider the materials we’ve mentioned previously and think about whether the price matches the level of quality you’re seeing in their references, reviews, and portfolio. Price can be a factor, of course, but it shouldn’t be the only consideration. Additionally, you can always negotiate a better deal, depending on the project, your needs, and what the provider can bring to the table.
7. Establish streams of communication
In order for your project and relationship to be successful, you must clarify how you’ll communicate upfront. Perhaps you’ll have daily or weekly check-ins on the phone or via email. Establish the channels and frequency, so you’re kept up-to-date on the IT outsourcing company’s progress and are always in the loop.
8. Ask about methodology
What do IT outsourcing services prioritize? Who works on what? Which tools do they use?
Even if you’re not an IT expert, you should still find out your prospective partner’s approach. After all, it must align with your own expectations and priorities. This is important for ensuring that you’re on the same page. At the end of the day, you are the client, and your IT outsourcing company is looking to make you happy.
9. Formulate a plan for innovating and customizing
Given the ever-changing nature of technology, the products and tools you have or want to create will change as well. You and your partner should have a plan for innovating and customizing your technology, as well as scaling your efforts. This will depend on your industry, of course, but you should make sure you discuss this plan before signing a contract.
There are numerous IT outsourcing benefits, but before you go this route, it’s important to think about how to make a partnership successful and what success even means to you. Keep these considerations in mind when searching for and establishing a partnership with an IT outsourcing company.