The best information technology (IT) outsourcing companies typically offer excellent client service, are available around-the-clock, and provide essential services at a lower cost than internal operations. Trends toward outsourcing have been in place for some time. This trend is expected to experience continued growth as firms look to decrease operational expenses without sacrificing service.
IT outsourcing can be divided into two areas: operations and development. Operational functions include hardware and software purchase, implementation, and support. There are a range of different options available, depending on the size of the organization and complexity of the technical architecture. For example, hardware can be hosted and managed by an outside firm. The software programs still are maintained by the client, but server management is completely outsourced.
Usually, IT outsourcing companies offer a suite of products with a range of different options, from complete hosting and management of all software to a scaled-down version of emergency maintenance. Look at the current structure of your operations and think about the time, staff, and resources required to maintain this structure. When comparing the internal costs to those of IT outsourcing companies, make sure to include a forecast increase in costs due to inflation and other pressures.
Many firms use IT outsourcing companies to assist in software development or enhancement projects. In many cases, internal resources are busy with ongoing maintenance and management projects. The use of IT outsourcing firms can be a great way to meet both current and future needs.
Always obtain service quotes from at least three different IT outsourcing companies. The most efficient way to manage this process is to write a requirements document that details all the needs and restrictions on the project. Provide this document to all potential suppliers and ask for written responses. Be sure that the pricing is detailed, with a list of resources and estimated overall cost.
Check references from other clients within your region or industry. Look for information on the conflict resolution process, problem escalation, and service-level agreement. Think about using different performance management tools, such as benchmarks and other metrics to evaluate contract compliance and performance. These items must be built into the contact, and usually are tied to payment.
Investigate the IT outsourcing companies to learn about the qualifications of their staff, commitment to training, compensation packages, and employee retention. All of these factors can be very important, as quality IT services are dependent upon the skills of the people performing the services. Take the time to visit the IT outsourcing companies on-location to learn more about their operations.