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Organizations that have already gotten their feet wet outsourcing IT services are leaps ahead of competitors just putting a toe in the water. Outsourcing extends the reach of enterprise computing environments, changes the scope of available IT services, and empowers internal IT staff to focus on more strategic tasks. But how do you know whether the IT outsourcing partner you’ve tested the waters with is the one who can help you fully leverage outsourcing to work in your favor?
To help you assess your outsourcing partner, Logicalis, an international provider of integrated information and communications technology (ICT) solutions and services, has identified key “insider secrets” that you can use as a benchmark:
“As evolved as technology outsourcing has become, getting the most for your outsourcing dollar really comes down to knowing that you have the right outsourcing partner, and the right service-level agreement to meet your business objectives, delivered at the right price,” says Mike Alley, Logicalis’ Director of Outsourcing. “If you don’t have these things, it’s time to change providers.” To help clients and prospective clients assess an outsourcing partner, Logicalis’ outsourcing specialists have provided this insider’s guide.
Insider Secrets for Assessing Your IT Outsourcing Partner
1. Make sure your expectations are met. Take a look at your current contract and compare your expectations with what is being delivered. Are the services really meeting the end results you were trying to achieve by outsourcing the service? Many find themselves dissatisfied with the service they are getting but choose to just live with it. When you find yourself in this position you need to meet with your provider and determine if it can adapt and deliver the service you really need. If not, find an IT outsourcing partner that can.
2. Ensure your services are delivered around best practices. How do you compare the services being delivered against the services defined in your contract? High-quality outsourcing partners deliver their services through IT service management (ITSM) tools that connect agreed upon service-level agreements (SLAs) to actual service delivery. If you find that your current provider is not meeting its SLAs it is time to dig in and uncover the underlying problem. Processes and communication are the foundation for outsourcing success. If you feel this foundation is missing from your current provider it is time to reevaluate who is performing your services.
3. Survey your team. Your team often knows how well the relationship with your IT outsourcing partner is, or is not, working. Get them to provide honest, critical feedback to help determine whether you’re working with the right partner or whether you need a new one.
4. Check your ROI. One of the main reasons for using IT outsourcing in the first place is to reduce costs and get a clear return on your investment. Is your current IT outsourcing partner enabling your team to invest time in projects that provide clear value – and support revenue – for your organization? If not, you have another reason to reconsider the relationship.
If you determine that it’s time to move to a new outsourcing partner, don’t make this critical mistake: “Quite often, people sign an outsourcing contract and think, ‘Ok, I’m done.’ In reality, a service provider has to be managed just like employees do,” explains Logicalis’ Alley. “With outsourcing, you are going to get out of it what you put into it, so if you are not communicating with your provider, if you are not informing it about changes within your company’s business units, don’t expect it to be able to make recommendations to help you incorporate the change into your service.”
Logicalis technologists also say if you find that you need to make a partner change, be prepared to work with both your current partner and your new partner for a defined transition period. Of course, the length of time for a transition varies depending on the complexity of the tasks being outsourced, but expect between 30 and 60 days.