Choose the right outsourcing partner

Do you need developers, and are you in the process of finding an outsourcing partner? Here are 7 questions you should not forget to ask when selecting a supplier of IT consultants. 

Question 1: What are our requirements?

The better you know your own requirements, the better your possibilities of finding the right partner. To identify your requirements, you should answer the following questions:

  • What solution should be delivered?
  • How many resources do we need?

Some clients possess high technical skills and know exactly what they require. Others know what solution they require, but lack experience in creating detailed specifications.

If you are not entirely comfortable with creating the specs, ensure that you get qualified help, either from the outsourcing partner or from a third party.

At Indpro, we help our clients to create clear and relevant specs. In our experience, this is vital to ensure that the delivery meets the requirements and expectations of the client.

 

Question 2: What criteria must the supplier meet? 

Now it’s time to list the criteria that an outsourcing supplier needs to meet to be able to deliver your solution.

Consider these questions:

  • What experience would the supplier need to have?
  • What technical experience does the outsourcing supplier need to possess – is it a simple project or more complex?
  • What’s your budget?
  • What’s the timeframe?

Question 3: Which outsourcing suppliers meet our criteria?

In this stage, you scan the market and select a handful companies that you want to take a closer look at. Most companies select three to five suppliers that they meet.

How then, do you find reliable suppliers? Word of mouth is a common way of finding your outsourcing partner. But sometimes interesting alternatives come through other channels: through a direct contact, via Google or in an ad. If a company enters your list in any other way than through a personal recommendation, it’s important to make time for calling reference clients. That will help you gain an impression of what it’s like to work with the company in question.

Outsourcing consultant coding at office.

 

Question 4: What impression does the supplier give?

Now it’s time for a personal meeting with the outsourcing suppliers you have selected. This will give you the opportunity to ask questions and to feel their pulse.

Important questions to ask the suppliers:

  • What similar projects have you completed before?
  • What does the team look like that we would work with?
  • Who would lead the team?
  • Who would be my point of contact and where is that person located?
  • Do I get a local contact person?
  • What is the work process in your other co-operations?

Request a proposal from the outsourcing suppliers, complete with pricing levels and capacity.

If the supplier works offshore, it’s important to ensure that they have a project manager who understands your local culture. A project manager with local knowledge can form a bridge between your team and the developers. It doesn’t matter how good developers are if they misunderstand the requirements and put their time into the wrong things. It’s vital to have someone following up the work and explaining how things should be done.

At Indpro, we offer Swedish project managers for our Swedish clients, which is essential in the starting phase of a project when communication and co-operation is established.

Question 5: What supplier suits us best?

In this step you go through the proposals and compare the outsourcing suppliers. It might be a good idea to create a matrix to easily compare important factors and get an overview.

Take a follow-up meeting with the suppliers that still are interesting, where you go through the proposals.

Important questions to ask:

  • What are the skills of the resources? Ask to take a look at the CVs of the key resources.
  • How do you want the co-operation to run? Ask the outsourcing partner to specify their methodology of co-operation.
  • What are your references?
  • Are you GDPR compliant?

Question 6: What do their clients think?

An important part of the process is to talk to the suppliers’ other clients. Hearing how an outsourcing supplier has solved problems earlier helps you understand how they function in a real situation.

Questions to ask:

  • What works well, and what does not work so well?
  • How has the supplier solved challenging situations?
  • How does the communication work?

If the supplier has suggested a specific developer for your team, take the opportunity to ask other clients about his or her previous performance. How were the person’s technical skills, and how well did the collaboration go?

Question 7: Which outsourcing suppliers have gained our confidence?

No matter how many ways you compare and measure the different outsourcing suppliers, in the end one question will most likely decide your final choice:

Do we have the confidence that this team will take well care of our project?

Gut feeling is difficult to measure. But a mutual confidence should be the foundation for any partnership. When you proceed with your new partner you should feel secure that this supplier and this team will do their very best to bring your project to success.