IT outsourcing can be a time saving, cost reducing, and innovation boosting solution for both startups and grownups. However, IT outsourcing is not a magic word that will conjure up success all by itself. It takes planning and preparation to ensure that IT outsourcing is an asset to your project and not a liability. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself to make sure you are ready.
Who is my IT Outsourcing Partner?
This question is obvious, of course you are going to research potential partners before making your final decision. Though, in addition to the obvious factors (price, location, IT profiles, etc.) there are more nuanced details that you need to look at. What type of methodology do their teams work with (Scrum, Kanban, etc.), how will they communicate with your teams (and are they open to on-site visits), is there working culture similar to yours? Price and IT profiles are important but if your teams can’t cooperate and work efficiently together then nothing else matters.Act like you are on a first date when talking with potential IT outsourcing partners. Get to know them and then if you get along well, maybe make the second date an on-site visit so you can see them in their natural habitat and learn about them in detail. Of course this is easier when doing nearshore outsourcing but it is just as important when doing offshore outsourcing. You always want to get to know your partner in detail before committing to a long-term relationship.
Is my IP Protected?
Your intellectual property is your business and you don’t want to put it in a vulnerable position. The first thing you need to find it is how your IP is legally protected in your country and in the country you are outsourcing to. In addition to legal protection and preparation, you need to see if your firm and your potential IT outsourcing Partner are prepared to manage your IP.When it comes to your own firm, first, look at how you store your data and its level of security. Then decide what you are going to share and how you will share it. You should also make sure your in house project managers are prepared for the task of managing and protecting your IP.When it comes to your outsourcing partner, you need to check their reputation, look at what clients they have worked with in the past. Reputation is not enough to base trust on, but it can be built over time as you work together and share your IP in pieces. Once a rapport is built with your partner you will feel more comfortable sharing your more intimate secrets as your cooperation becomes closer and closer.
What do I need and can my Partner Keep Up?
It is important to know what you need now but you also need to consider what you might need in the future. To start with you might just want a team of 5 developers to work on an e-commerce project on your website. Once that starts rolling maybe you’ll want to ramp up your team with a few mobile devs and get started on some apps. If your partner can’t keep up with your needs then they will hold you back. So it is necessary to identify the ramp up capabilities of your IT outsourcing partner. Look to see that they have a diverse talent pool and try to gauge how fast they can tack more IT profiles onto your project. If they are able to recruit a team and kick off your project quickly then it likely that they can quickly ramp up a team as well.
How do you make sure the developed product is what you want?
The answer to this question is related to what was discussed in the first section of this article. To ensure that the correct product is being developed you need to have strong channels of communication with your outsourced team. If your outsourced team is just an addition to your own in house development team then it is easier to ensure that the product in development is moving in the right direction.However, if you are completely outsourcing a project to another team, then managing this can be more challenging. If your IT outsourcing partner is using Agile methodologies then managing your product will be much easier. Agile methodologies focus on quick deliveries and an Agile time will push out a product as quickly as possible and then continue with more releases from there. You can look at and comment on each release and and Agile team can respond in future iterations.
What Else do I Need to Know?
Answering these questions is a good first step to prepare for IT outsourcing. To learn even more you should check out our free webinar on the Top 10 Tips for preparing your next outsourcing project. On June 29, Chris Hote, Pentalog’s VP of US operations, will go more in depth on this subject. If you can’t attend on the 19th and would still like to see the webinar, subscribe anyway and we will send the replay after the event. If you want to develop a relationship with a charming and Agile IT Outsourcing Partner, contact us today.Learn more about how to choose the best IT outsourcing location.