Outsourcing has been a much debated topic in the IT industry since many years. Despite several analysts voting against this practice under the excuse of loss of jobs within the country, many organizations have been outsourcing IT activities to countries like India and have been pretty successful at it.
The negative publicity to outsourcing is the result of companies not able to select the right offshore partner. While it is not easy to choose an outsourcing vendor, you must follow a rational approach for selection, just like you follow in the personal interview process.
There are hundreds, even thousands of vendors with more or less similar services. How to go about selecting a reliable vendor then? Let me put forward a set of 5 basic criteria which must be present in your vendor.
1. Availability Of Technical Expertise. Ensure that your vendor has the people with the necessary technical expertise required in your project. Investigate how the vendor attracts and retains people. It is important to verify that the vendor has the resource strength to maintain the project deliverables on a consistent basis. It is an added advantage that the vendor is able to retain talent for a long time. However, at the same time, there should be processes to upgrade technology skills.
2. Past Experience in similar technology or domain. It always helps if your vendor understands the same business language you speak. Understand the past work done by the vendor and take references from other clients. The idea is to evaluate the experience of other clients who have worked with the vendor earlier.
3. Infrastructure. Make sure that your vendor has the necessary infrastructure backbone to support your project from a remote location. Verify the claims about communication/data transfer speeds, connectivity, and power supply. Developing nations like India still face shortages of power supply. Only in major cities, the converged infrastructure solutions is able to support IT companies.
4. Personal Rapport. Discover your comfort level in dealing with the key people on the vendor side. This is the most important factor because even though the project is technology based, you will have to interact with top management of the vendor in situations of conflict. So, ensure your comfort level with them.
Outsourcing has many benefits but selection of the right vendor plays a big role. If possible, visit the converged infrastructure vendors personally to verify the infrastructure and to interview technical resources before taking the final decision.