5 Tips for Effective IT Outsourcing

Outsourcing isn’t exactly a new trend. One could even say that it is more or less mainstream and culturally accepted within IT organizations. Outsourcing has always been a popular way of decreasing costs while accessing world class talent. But that truth rings even louder in an era of constant technological change. Staying in front of technology means staying ahead of the competition and focusing on your core strengths.

But how you decide what part of your IT to outsource and what to keep in house is a key decision for most organizations. Every organization answers this question based on the needs and uniqueness of the organization. What a company in the healthcare industry would outsource is different than what an IT company would outsource, and even different IT organizations will outsource different things.

Although outsourcing is not the only answer, it is definitely something most organizations will want to consider. Read on if you would like to learn

  1. The factors you should consider when deciding what to outsource
  2. Tips for choosing an IT outsourcing supplier
  3. How to outsource your IT Project Management

How do I know what to outsource?

MindTools gives us key questions to ask when making this decision:

  1. How strategically important is each task to your business? For example: Having an IT help desk is strategically important to an IT company, but probably not for a company that produces hinges. If your organization relies on technology, instead of outsourcing, you might consider using Cloud services. The Cloud can keep the work in-house because it is strategically important, yet there is an outsourcing aspect since you can have a company host your Cloud services and provide IT services.
  2. What is the task’s impact on your organization’s operational performance? If you outsource the cleaning crew, does that affect your operational performance? Probably not if you are a university, but yes if you are a hospital since the hospital can face major repercussions if the cleaning rules are not strictly followed. If you are an accounting business, outsourcing the technology could greatly impact your business if it is compromised or you cannot access the information.
  3. What will give you the competitive advantage? What should you keep in-house to make you more competitive, and what should you outsource to make you more competitive? Look at your competition and what they keep in-house and outsource. How does that affect their competitiveness?

These are the first questions to ask when deciding what to outsource. The answers will be unique to your organization; however, observing other organizations will help you answer these questions. Once these questions are answered, you are ready to start analyzing and making some decisions.

How do I choose and manage my outsourcing supplier?

If you decide that outsourcing is a suitable solution then the next step is finding suppliers. Locating the right outsourcing partner and mastering effective management of external resources can seem daunting and time consuming; but it doesn’t have to be. After all you want to prevent headaches, not create new ones, right?

The following are 5 tips that can turn your outsourcing initiative into a successful and smart business practice.
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  • Don’t focus on cost
    Finding the right candidate or vendor below your budget when you are considering outsourcing is tempting, but don’t make this mistake. You can still stay within budget if you focus on the quality of results expected and a reasonable price you can afford. Forbes states that with rising costs overseas, outsourcing overseas is no longer a sustainable cost-savings over in-house IT support. They state that outsourcing IT services overseas will drop at least 15% through 2016.
  • Incorporate outsourcing interview techniques
    There is no need to perform a full-fledged interview when considering a qualified outsourced candidate.  You can, however, line up a set of questions that you feel are important to the scope of the project. Contact prior clients and obtain valuable feedback that can affect your decision. When you are checking references, it is fairly easy to get an honest opinion of the value of work the candidate supplier provided before.
  • Find ideal candidates for specific project categories
    Don’t focus on the project as a whole; instead break it up into categories and group tasks together that require the same skillset. Choose team members that have experience in the specific category areas the project needs.
  • Make sure your project scheduling and scope is clear and easily understood
    It’s hard to obtain the results you need if your project details are confusing. It’s not uncommon for project managers who are considering outsourcing to find themselves in a project nightmare because they didn’t state the needs and goals properly.  Evaluate assignments and make sure that they are set up to give you the results you need.
  • Have and maintain realistic expectations
    It’s easy to get caught up in project pressure, especially with IT outsourcing. Maintain focus and be as clear as possible about the project requirements. Always provide all the information needed to complete tasks successfully. Don’t force unrealistic schedules because it will inevitably impact the overall project cost when things go wrong.
  • Consider outsourcing your IT Project Management

    Within the IT function there are various roles and activities that can be outsourced e.g. IT support desk, network management, maintenance and repair etc. IT Project Management is another area that organizations should consider.

    The amount of expertise required to manage modern projects can be staggering. In addition to being experienced and informed on the most applicable project management methodologies, an IT project manager must know all the fundamentals of managing time, budget, and schedule. This is all in addition to having the solid technical foundation or subject matter expertise to understand the true trajectory of the project. It can be difficult to find one person who has all the necessary skills.

    In fact sometimes it might be better to treat project management as a service provided by a team rather than one individual. The service can take a holistic view of the project and provide the right leadership resources at the right time during the course of the project, rather than rely on one person.

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