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Jul 16, 2015

Are we compatible? – Choose an outsourcing vendor you won’t be disappointed with (part II)

The tech-outsourcing matchmaking game

Author: Alexandra Stanculescu

In our previous issue, we’ve discussed the pricing-oriented-mentally and the damage it can do to outsourcing collaborations, as well as the potential drawbacks of the 16-hour-workday. Of course, there are many other things to consider before outsourcing, if you’re to be sure you’re making the best decision for your business. Let’s look at a few more of the outsourcing controversies to consider.

We’d like to do this, we just don’t yet know exactly what ‘this’ involves

At times, thinking they can save time, companies start looking for a vendor without having formally figured out the details of what their project should involve. This is a sure way to set yourself up for misunderstandings and bias the vendor selection process. It’s crucial that you first work out the details, and send a comprehensive request for proposal to potential providers, asking specific questions. You’ll know who is best suited to handle your desired set of skills, to work with your preferred methodologies most efficiently, and who has most experience with your type of project. Otherwise, you risk finding out mid-project, after the contract has been signed and time has been invested, that there are compatibility issues or that you’re not getting quite what you expected.

World Literature classes didn’t prepare anyone for the way other cultures do business

People are different, their cultures differ, and the way they do business differs as well – are you certain your selected provider knows about your culture and is keeping themselves up-to-date with business news in your country? Questions regarding the way a company compensates for cultural differences and how they keep themselves connected to the countries they do business with, should be covered in your RFP. Actually, everything regarding your future collaboration should be covered in your RFP.

Abide all my concerns

Are you worried about security? Ask questions, right from the screening phase, when you send your RFP. Ask detailed questions. Ask about their office spaces – is there security personnel, is there card-key access, do they protect sensitive data, how do they insure confidentially? Worried about not being ‘on top’ of things once the project starts? Ask them how reliable communication is going to be, if their developers have full-time access to a communication tool (like Skype), if they have a back-up internet connection and if they plan to report progress frequently (as you would expect with an Agile methodology). Worried about people coming and going in your team, and the lack of consistency the work would have as a result? Ask it they’re comfortable with a dedicated team collaboration model. Not sure if you’re comfortable with someone else making the decisions about who gets to be part of your outsourced team? Ask if you can be involved in the recruitment process. Ask everything you’d want to know, don’t bet on settling it later, during the face-to-face talks. It will save you a lot of time, money, and stress.

Once this is accomplished, you’ll probably be down to a shortlist of three companies to meet with face-to-face – you shouldn’t have to book more meetings than that if you’ve been through enough with your RFP. What should you look for when meeting your shortlisted vendors in person? Stay in touch with us, because we’ll be exploring this in more detail soon. Until next time, share your thoughts with me: are there any particular points I’ve missed for the selection process? Let me know what works best for you.

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