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IT Outsourcing Tip Sheet

Organizations that outsource their IT work have a tall order to fill. From aligning the partner’s internal culture with their own, to ensuring an exit strategy is part of the initial contract, there’s much to be considered when entering into such an arrangement.

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Here, in the interest of easing the burden, is an IT Outsourcing Tip Sheet. Keep its wisdom close at hand.

  • Do your due diligence. The decision to assign the oversight of IT functions to an external provider comes with a certain amount of risk. Companies need to take stock of that risk via extensive investigation of the subcontractor. Review their portfolio. Check their references.
  • Sign a contract. A company makes its relationship with an IT outsourcer official with a contract. Make sure yours is comprehensive, and includes mention of much. Here’s where you outline how you’ll receive project updates, clarify confidentiality expectations and agree on a timeline for the work. Make sure, too, that the document has a long view that considers your ongoing need for both access to intelligence from this provider over the lifetime of the relationship, and a sensible exit strategy that gives you unfettered closure when it runs its course.
  • Ensure a culture match. By making sure that the culture of the service provider corresponds with your own, you reduce the possibility of having key staff — with critical knowledge of your systems — heading for the hills. Attending mutual social events or organizing participation in each other’s quality programs are two ideas for bridging the gap.
  • Get involved, stay engaged. It’s not enough to simply dump a load of work in an IT subcontractor’s hands and return two months later to survey the finished work. Keep projects on track by maintaining contact. The developers should be accustomed to reporting on their progress and seeking your feedback. No one, after all, knows your business better than you.
  • Buy wisely. While IT spends vary wildly according to company size and sector, some 80 percent of a company’s total IT budget will typically be spent on maintenance, with the remaining 20 percent freed up to take advantage of new projects, improvements and paying for regulatory changes. It’s important to bear these numbers in mind throughout.
  • Be prepared for challenges. It takes time to build an outsourcing relationship. Be patient, and you will be well rewarded.

It’s critical, when outsourcing your IT work, to ensure that you and the subcontractor are always on the same, surprise-free page. Cover your bases thus and the arrangement should prove extremely fruitful.

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