India has become the de-facto destination for outsourcing services for business processes both core and noncore. Skilled laborers at lower costs have helped India secure its position in the world of competitive outsourcing. The processes usually range from Information Technology (IT) Outsourcing, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) to Knowledge process outsourcing (KPO). A whole range of services are offered these days and in this article of a two-part series, we are going to discuss what are the key factors that you must make it to your checklist. Selecting the right outsourcing partner is important and we will elaborate on how to zero in on the perfect virtual office partner.
1. Check the level of understanding you share: Communication between you and your virtual partner is a crucial aspect. Define what exactly is it that you want to achieve through the outsourcing relationship. Have a clear vision of your expectations. Identify where it is that you want this relationship to culminate in and with what results. Every organization has its very own agenda while outsourcing the process – it maybe the need of a separate company to handle the current project while the in-house team mates focus on other matters that need their discretion. Or it may be the need to gather and employ specialists with skill sets that may not be nurtured within the organization’s boundary. Lowering cost is definitely a popular reason but redefining real goals are important. These have to be shared with the team you intend to outsource the process to because the virtual partner is responsible for achieving these goals for you.
2. Experience matters: When deciding on outsourcing a particular process, the business owner must find out the skill sets that may be required for the process and must select a vendor who has a team that can cater to the process in the right manner. Find out the vendor’s experience in the field and do a complete check of the projects undertaken and the kind of reputation that the vendor enjoys. Check the projects executed, the type of clients they have worked for, the success level shared by each of them and the kind of expertise that was employed for intense projects. You may also scan the details of the core team involved and may also check their profiles. Since you are entering into a long-term relationship with the vendor, you ought to know the team well. Interact with the team and make them feel comfortable enough to engage in a clear exchange of ideas and solutions. This will help as the process gets familiar.
3. Ask for client references: You may ask the team for a reference from a reputed person for with whom they may have been associated before. Seeking a client reference and speaking with them (if necessary) may clear all your doubts regarding the vendor. You may also ask for work samples in order to understand the quality of work done by the vendor and to understand if the team was able to tackle the challenges that they met while working on that particular project. It may not be possible for the vendor to share delicate information with you due to confidentiality agreements with other clients. Hence, do understand that this aspect has some inherent limitation that must be respected. You may have to make do with the marketing material they have to showcase.
4. Communicate to make it big: Communication is essential and ensuring that the best practices are followed when it comes to the client management situation. Ensuring the best possible communication methods can make your outsourcing story a success and the reverse could be damaging. Therefore, make sure that you understand and evaluate your virtual partner’s communication practices. This factor is critical if your vendor partner and you follow different and extreme time zones. For example, if you are an American business organization and your vendor is located in India, creating an amicable communication route is critical. Overlapping of days and delays that may occur due to such differences may cause serious problems. Hence, be specific with the channel of communication. Emails, instant messages, VOIP, etc are the many ways by which the vendor and you may connect easily and work efficiently. Who is going to be the connecting point between the team and you? How is your team supposed to connect with you in an emergency situation? Do you have a common language (English in most cases) that can make things easier? All of these questions have to be sorted and communicated well in advance.
5. Measure the financial stability: If you are entering into a long-term relationship with your vendor, you ought to assess his financial stability before entering into the venture. It is important that your partner is found to have enough working capital and financial merit. In case the assignment is a heavy investment, a detailed analysis must be done for the same to assess if they have the capacity to develop and deliver the process or service.
6. Infrastructural Audit: It is necessary to also check if the infrastructural capacity of your virtual partner conforms to your standards. Once again, this is crucial when you are contemplating on a long term relationship with your vendor. The best possible IT support and data security are imperative for every successful outsourcing process. Uninterrupted service is a typical requirement and you must ensure if it is possible with the quality of strength in your vendor’s company.
Here’s a final piece of advice – Deciding on an outsourcing partner is a crucial decision and it is important that you go the right from the very beginning. Since business is influenced by every possible change in its environment, it is necessary that you remain open to any possible diversions that may be the need of the hour. Also, if you are an individual or a small business organization opting for an outsourcing for the very first time, follow this: specialist, lesser risk, and bills that fit the financial table.
Need some more information? You need to speak with the experts in the IT outsourcing field. Or is it an outsourcing project that needs direction? Drop us a line at [email protected]. We’d love to discuss it with you and help you chart the best roadmap to a successful outsourcing process at least costs and maximum outputs within the timeline.