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Finding the Right Vendor for your IT Services Strategy

by: Sarah Joson

Friday, May 18, 2012 | Outsourcing News |

Choosing the Right Outsourcing Service Provider

Clients are looking for dependable providers which are experts in the field of IT services. In most cases, they avail of services from several IT vendors in hopes of creating a cohesive business operation that can be operated via a central hub. Not only do buyers want each service provider to work as a team, they also want to align the entire IT strategy with the goals of the business.

Stephanie Moore, Vice President and Principal Analyst at global research and advisory firm Forrester Research, wrote and published an article at CIO.com, which tackles the complexities of multi-sourced IT operations, tips on how to form the dream IT services team, and how strategies and business goals can be aligned.

Perform an extensive background check.  Just because vendors look good on the outside doesn’t mean everything’s fine and dandy on the inside. Do not be easily impressed by service providers overselling their services and products because this may be a ploy to lure clients in, even if they are financially and legally incapable of operating. Ask other business owners and learn a thing or two on their experience with service providers.

Analyze people-management protocols
. Knowing how vendors manage their employees can provide a clearer insight as to what to expect from the service. Things that buyers should look out for are the technical skillset of the personnel, training programs, and the sales or accounts executives. Clients should also diligently investigate if the vendors are prone to subcontract processes or are likely to share client’s information to third party providers.
Once these factors are sorted out, clients and providers should meet at the middle to maintain a healthy relationship. Some of the areas that both parties should simultaneously be working on are:

Proper training and documentation of processes.
Clients should properly document all the processes and issues they encounter while working with a provider. This maintains a well-balanced methodology for the company, and is a good way to track areas that can be modified or improved.

Knowledge sharing
Both parties should openly share competencies and system/process upgrades. This specifically involves companies that are actively making use of Agile and software-as-a-service (SaaS) process. Because of the rush of information coming in to accommodate the process, the internal staff should be well-prepared in handling, managing, and upgrading the system.

It’s not always about the size of the service provider.
Depth and breadth are two different things. If a service provider has hundreds of services on their menu, that doesn’t mean they are experts on each segment.    

Service-specific providers
Some vendors have a specific vertical in terms of services. This would mean clients can optimize and innovate using the IT vendor’s expertise, according to their business’ needs without disrupting other processes.

Analyze the capacity of the provider.
Clients should see to it if the size of the service provider can accommodate the pending operation. If vendors say that size isn’t an issue and they can adjust accordingly, then review the manpower capabilities.

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