Before outsourcing your IT function, educate yourself on the available options. Review this checklist to ensure your Houston technology services provider is meeting your needs.
- Establish business outcomes before choosing a providerIncorporate the business results you wish to achieve through outsourcing. You should establish business objectives for outsourcing with clearly defined goals. Having scheduled checkpoints to review the status of your outcomes is an easy way to ensure that the provider meets your standards.
- Choose a proactive business partnerAn experienced IT provider should be able to identify problems, not just simply react to them. The provider should have some skill level, such as certifications. To avoid being a “guinea pig”,you should make sure the provider offers a trial period to ensure the vendor is well knowledgeable.
- Select a provider that thrives off your success, not your ‘problems’Define what your IT needs are first. Make sure your IT provider doesn’t achieve their goals until you achieve yours. Review the service-level agreement (SLA).Will the provider monitor, measure and enforce it via onsite support or remote PC support? Be specific about the deliverables you expect from the service. Providers need accurate and complete information to present you with realistic quotes and proposals.
- Hire a business partner, not just a providerFocus as much on strategic outcomes - like improved profitability, productivity and business growth - as you would upfront costs. Make sure the service provider understands how you intend to use the deliverables that they are agreeing to provide.
- Use a shared-risk approachYour Houston information technology provider should help you achieve your goals - at their risk and cost. Ask what kind of recovery and redundancy means does the provider offer? The objectives to be achieved by outsourcing must be quantifiable and established as criteria at the start of the contract. If the customer can compare the performance with the pre-established objective, then the benefits of outsourcing are clear.
- Allocate a dedicated liaisonDedicating an employee to manage the business relationship allows for better communication and improved service. If there is a good understanding and a strong working relationship, the relationship is likely to last long. Evaluate whether the provider readily offers customer references. Research on outsourcing success has indicated that positive working methods and peer friendships on both ends has been an important factor in long term relationships.