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5 Things To Know When Looking For IT Outsourcing Consultants

Jun 11, 2013 11:07:00 AM

by Charles Bystock

IT outsourcing consultants knowledgeIT outsourcing consultants can be a gold mine. The guidance they give you to help thread your way through the complexities of outsourcing could well bring you a stronger and more cost-effective result than you could organize on your own. You can rely on their expertise and marketplace insight – details and nuances you probably don’t have to your fingertips – to find the best fit. The best deal.

But just as your own organization is unique, no two IT outsourcing consultants are exactly alike. The decisions you make in choosing the firm to work with can specifically affect your consulting experience, not to mention the outcome. So, before you make that selection, here are some things you should know.

Know your own expectations.

You need to be clear from the very beginning about what you expect from your IT outsourcing consultants and from the consulting process. Since consulting firms offer differing types of services, where do you want help?

Maybe you already have an idea about which outsourcing option you want to pursue, so you’re only looking for sourcing assistance. But are you open to suggestion? One of the biggest advantages to hiring IT outsourcing consultants is that they see things from a fresh perspective. They may offer recommendations that surprise you. Or an alternative you’re not even familiar with.

Regardless of your consulting goals, you should expect an approach that is systematic yet individually tailored for your organization, to ensure results that are thorough and well-targeted.

Do your homework.

Due diligence is important here, as always. You have choices, but you want to choose wisely, because the quality of help you get from IT outsourcing consultants depends on finding the right fit. IT outsourcing consultants should have extensive, pertinent technology and management experience, but a good personal fit ensures your team and theirs can work smoothly together.

Who have they worked with in the past? How did that go? Were past clients in some way similar to your enterprise? Talk to them about their experience.  

Know the costs involved.

Not all IT outsourcing consultants price their services in the same way. You want a firm that won’t simply plug you into some consulting services matrix. Truly tailored services should be reflected by tailored pricing. What metrics does your consultant plan to use – or what benchmarks are important to you – to demonstrate that you’re getting what you expected?

There are a few ways to save, for instance by specifying that your consulting team only perform certain tasks, retaining others for yourself. But ask yourself whether not taking full advantage of their resources might actually put you at a disadvantage in the long run. What you save now could cost you later. The reverse is true, too.

Know thyself.

And then expect to learn more about yourself. Top IT outsourcing consultants will want you to have every relevant bit of information in hand before you decide to take additional steps. So they’ll work with you to perform a comprehensive internal assessment of your current IT operation.

Only when you can see all the functional and financial ramifications can you see your actual total cost of ownership. You’ll need that to build your business case and weigh potential alternatives.

Know your long-term goals.

No outsourcing decision makes sense unless it supports your company’s long-term goals as well as nearer term objectives. Unless it fits within your budget. Combined with results of your internal assessment, these details will help your IT outsourcing consultants do their best work, helping you arrive at outsourcing decisions you can grow with, comfortably and confidently.

Photo credit: whologwhy via Flickr

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