It’s entirely natural – and a smart business plan – to ask what you can expect from an IT outsourcing consultant before you decide to hire one. Exactly how can they help you? What will it cost? Who should you hire?
Investigating the opportunities of outsourcing is a complex process, and it’s time-consuming. With that level of investment, you want to be assured you’ll get highly valuable results -- that you’ll learn everything you need to know to make constructive next-steps decisions.
An IT outsourcing consultant can help you:
- Assess your current situation, and develop a business case your staff and Board of Directors can accept with confidence.
- Understand state-of-the-art delivery alternatives.
- Develop appropriate RFP criteria, whether you’re looking for a small, specific deal or infrastructure and services to create a total transformation.
- Source vendors.
- Negotiate a contract -- for remediation or renewal of a current agreement or beginning a new relationship.
- Implement a smooth transition, anticipating potential hurdles so you can hop over or around them faster and with fewer hassles.
- Review and refine retained functions, including redeploying your workforce to increase productivity or accomplish new goals.
You’ll get customized advice from an IT outsourcing consultant, from determining whether outsourcing is even right for your company to determining precisely which of today’s growing number of options are will help achieve your goals.
These are the kinds of services you can expect from virtually any IT outsourcing consultant. But just like in your own industry, no two firms are quite the same. And if you’re hiring a consultant, you want what’s best for your enterprise.
So the real question you want to ask is what should I expect?
Coaching and mentoring.
You deserve more than a list of alternatives. More than a firm that’s proud of the formulas they’ve developed to “help” you. Your enterprise doesn’t fit in someone else’s mold, and imitation isn’t a sign of leadership.
The right consulting team will have top-level experience working with organizations of your size and scope, preferably in your industry, so they can readily understand your IT history and interpret your assessment data to help pinpoint every cost, gap and opportunity. That’s how you’ll build a business case that’s truly well-founded.
Expertise that goes above and beyond.
Good basic training isn’t enough. Look for a firm that will bring their A game and their A team to your table, so you know you’ll be working with folks who have level and breadth of experience you need. They should be fully conversant with emerging trends in IT and the outsourcing industry and have extensive sourcing expertise. You’re trusting their knowledge of the latest industry data and technology innovations as well as evolving governance policies and procedures, and their working knowledge of the provider market, too.
You should also expect a smoothly integrated working relationship – their team and yours collaborating to produce the most effective results.
You should expect your consulting firm to have enough resources to accomplish the tasks at hand without dragging out the process or padding the population of “advisors” beyond what’s needed. Are they willing to work virtually at times to reduce expenses? The right consultant will watch costs on their services as well as your potential outsourcing deal.
Include consulting costs when you compare ROI on those potential deals.
Reputation for success.
You don’t necessarily need to hire a gigantic household-name firm to get what you need, because it’s the people doing the work that count. Smaller firms can often be more flexible and nimble. They’re often niche-focused, and that’s means they’re you-focused. You’re not just the next project in line. Careful tailoring is a primary ingredient in success when you’re talking IT outsourcing.
You can pay hundreds of dollars per hour for time served on your project. But you should expect an IT outsourcing consultant to be results-oriented, because that means they’ll be results-driven.Photo credit: Nicholas A. Tonelli via Flickr