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Jun 16, 2015

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

The tech-outsourcing matchmaking game

Author: Alexandra Stanculescu

Type ‘choosing an outsourcing provider’ into Google, and you’ll get literature from a lot of different perspectives, ranging from ‘It can’t be that simple!’ type of advice, to ‘If it’s this complicated, I’m no longer sure I can spare the resources at this time.’. Even if you’re an outsourcing provider yourself, you’re still bound to find reading some of this confusing. If, however, you’re new to outsourcing, it’s surely going to be discouraging. It feels a bit like attempting to self-diagnose using the internet, with zero medical background: you end-up all anxious, thinking you’ve contracted all the possible diseases on the planet.

It’s all circumstantial

Just like an enumeration of symptoms doesn’t make a correct diagnostic, a list of theoretical ‘must haves’ doesn’t make a compatible outsourcing partnership. We’ve said it before, and it’s not being said often enough: what is right for one company, could be another’s outsourcing nightmare. So don’t start your search by planning to find ‘the best solution’. Instead, look for what is best suited to your specific needs. Let’s try and go over a few of the most popular dilemmas.

Pricing

This is probably the most frequent way in which companies set themselves up for disappointment. If pricing is your main criteria, the entire due diligence process will miss out on many other critical factors. Of course, we all want the highest quality for the lowest price. But we also know that, bluntly put, you get what you pay for. If you’re going for the lowest price, you’re sure to be compromising on some things, which are going to impact quality. You could be compromising language and/or technology compatibility, level of expertise, project management capabilities or deadlines reliability – but it’s going to be something, or a number of these. Every one of these factors are going to end-up raising overall costs (think project management triangle – if it’s going to be cheap, it’s either not going to be fast, or not going to be good). While putting pricing first may appear tempting at a glance, delays and low quality are going to cost you at best as much as the low fees have saved you, with the stress of it all added to the mix.

The 16-hour-workday Holy Grail

You’ve probably read that outsourcing to someone on an 8-hour-delay time zone can mean a significantly lower time-to-market, because it creates a 16-hour-workday. And, in some cases, this is true. Still, it’s by no means a given, and some steps need to be taken in order to insure efficiency. Consider the fact that, while the workday is twice as long, information exchange of any kind might get twice as difficult. Scheduling progress-reports and other meetings will mean some end of this deal will have to put in overtime. If there’s not a clear procedure in place for this, it’s likely that you’ll be less ‘on top of things’. Your offshore team might have a more difficult time adapting to your culture and vision, because you go home at the end of the day the time they’re drinking the morning’s first cup of coffee, so calls are on a need-to basis. If there’s limited decision-making power on your outsourcer’s part, they’ll often be sitting around waiting for replies, whenever the tiniest unexpected issue arises. Some companies currently have night-shift employees on call, and other fair-overtime procedures, so if you’re going to try and go for the 16-hour-workday, be sure to consider all practical aspects of the deal if you’re to make sure it solves more problems than it creates.

There’s a lot more to go over when it comes to choosing an outsourcing provider, including a debate on what your RFP should cover, once you’ve got your objectives clearly in mind and on paper, so stay in touch with us and find out about the rest of our compatibility-check tips.

Until next time, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the issues in this first part of our article: is pricing the main decision-making criteria? Is the 16-hour-workday more trouble than it’s worth? Share your thoughts with me, through comment or email!

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