Yehuda Cagen of technology company Xvand Technology Corporation knows what businesses need and don’t need when it comes to outsourcing IT expertise and support.
She offers 9 “secrets of success” to ensuring the IT expertise you hire, results in a positive experience for your company.
Establish business outcomes to ensure measurability and accountability
Determine the business results you wish to achieve through
outsourcing. You should establish business objectives for outsourcing
with clearly defined goals. This may sound obvious but having scheduled
checkpoints to review the status of your outcomes is an easy way to
ensure that the provider meets your standards. Otherwise you run the
risk of a he-said, she-said confrontation.
Determine the “true” financial savings
The cost of business has substantially increased in recent years.
While the trend to digitize documents has promised to streamline
processes, many are overwhelmed by the related computer problems that
hamper productivity. According to Accenture, 25% of executives reported
first-day improvements in business processes in addition to cost. If
reducing cost is one of your objectives, make sure the vendor-promise
of lower costs doesn’t compromise efficiency and revenue. Just one hour
of downtime costs a 25-employee company thousands of dollars in lost
productivity alone. As one IT coordinator of a mid-sized law firm told
us, “We pay a premium for IT support to get premium service in return.”
Choose a proactive business partner
Clients expect businesses to keep pace with their demands, and still
work within very strict budgets and timelines. To combat this, an
experienced IT provider should be able to identify problems, not just
simply react to them. Merely reacting to problems can leave your
employees wasting hours waiting for tech support. The provider should
have proven skill levels, such as certifications or client references
to ensure you avoid becoming their “guinea pig”. Be certain that their
services meet your standards by asking the provider to offer a trial
period. A proven vendor should have no problem offering a trial of
their service or software. Be wary of those who do not.
Select a provider that thrives off your success, not your ‘problems’
Make sure your IT provider doesn’t achieve their goals until you
achieve yours. “Reactive” consultants promise to resolve your
IT-related issues. But at what cost? How do you know he or she is truly
solving your problems instead of milking them? If a provider’s fee
structure is directly linked with the number of computer problems,
excuse yourself from the relationship. Review the service-level
agreement (SLA). How will the provider monitor, measure and enforce it?
should present you accurate and complete information with realistic quotes and proposals.
Hire a business partner, not just a provider
Focus 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. 80% of executives
surveyed by Accenture expressed commitment to permanent outsourcing.
Partner relationships tend to have lasting power. “Providers” are
usually only a temporary – and potentially costly – fix.
Use a shared-risk approach