Outsourcing is nothing less than a balancing act. Yes, the same balancing acts we see in circuses when the gymnasts walk along a wire, depending on a pole for their straight balance or their deadly fall. You can re-imagine outsourcing like that. Only, the following are the pole, the rope and the gymnast itself:
- Right skills
- Right expectations & benchmarks
- The entire balancing act
These days, it is rare for a business not to outsource some part of its information technology function. What’s more, the growth of cloud computing may make IT outsourcing even more common. Businesses are constantly in the need of faster and higher quality development. The challenge lies in finding the right outsourcing partner.
With ever increasing need for outsourcing, here are 3 main pillars of outsourcing you must address to get the best out of it:
1. Look for a vendor with right skills
Remember, it’s not only about technology skills but also for the overall “delivery” that has to be as per your expectations. Do your due diligence in finding the right partner for your need. Look for references and case studies. Typically, you don’t only evaluate a vendor if they can work on X technology. You should also look for how they operate/manage projects, what processes they follow, how they manage quality and communication, etc.
One way to keep risks in check is to start with a small engagement. This will help you test the system. Part of success for these engagements is dependent on you (client) as well. With a small test development cycle, if it’s not working out, you will know it sooner.
2. Set the right expectations & benchmarks with your vendor
After you’ve identified your outsourcing partner, work with them to set clear expectations and standards. You’d want to help the vendor to deliver better. To achieve this you must do the following:
Setting benchmarks for the engagement: Everyone involved must know who is responsible for what, the processes being followed and the timelines.
Quality communication: Input without any credibility will enable the end product to be the same. If you don’t get the ingredients right in the inception, you cannot expect your smuse-booche to turn out the way you expected. Quality of information across the teams must be on top priority. Often, I see engagements failing because of this very reason. You may have top quality tech team but substandard information can compromise the engagement outcome.
3. The balancing act
Often, you have business guys interacting with tech team in an outsourcing engagement. Both talk in two different languages. It’s mandatory to have someone at vendor’s end who can bridge this gap.
A non-techinical person will not understand important points that the tech team requires. Similarly, sending technical questions to a non-tech person for periodization won’t help. You’d want someone who could translate and get each party what they need to respond properly.
Outsourcing is teamwork. There is role for everyone involved to make the engagement successful. The client must ensure high quality requirement information and help tech team take better technical decision. The vendor must ensure right processes, right team, timely updates and follow-ups for better deliveries.