You can learn many things about mainframe outsourcing from the experience of others. But since your circumstances and priorities uniquely define your enterprise, you have to assess mainframe outsourcing companies from your own distinct perspective. And that’s not easy. Your provider is just as important as the solution you choose, maybe more so.
You think IT itself and your internal mainframe environment have become complex? That same complexity is reflected in the line-up of mainframe outsourcing companies. You’re searching for a working partner and – hopefully – a long-term relationship. How do you know who to choose? Is it safer to just go with one of the big-name companies? Or should you look elsewhere to find the right fit?
Where do you begin?
1. Assess working styles – theirs and yours.
Clear communications is going to be essential, if you’re to work together smoothly and efficiently. How you approach problem-solving and your own internal communications preferences tell you what to look for in an outsourcing partner. Styles that aren’t compatible create obstacles to success.
Do you feel comfortable with your prospective provider’s people? You’re looking for a partner, so a good personal fit is vital.
Mainframe outsourcing companies should be willing to go the extra mile for you. Ask them to explain how they work proactively to identify and fix problems. Ask whether they will contemplate and recommend service modifications or other improvements to their part of the equation and also upgrades you could institute in-house.
2. Look closely at pricing options.
Saving money – or optimizing what you’re already spending – is undoubtedly one of your primary objectives. Mainframe outsourcing companies now offer a broad range of pricing models, which vary from firm to firm. The best pricing structure will support your business goals as well as your financial requirements.
Outsourcing can be a golden investment if you choose the right provider and the right performance and pricing elements are in place. Your contract should be specific, but also assure the flexibility you both need to meet unforeseen circumstances.
Results-oriented pricing ensures you have the scalability and flexibility you need. You won’t pay for something you don’t get or don’t even want, but the types and levels of service you do need are always available. You’re prepared for the inevitable marketplace fluctuations and new business opportunities, too.
3. Get help.
A mainframe outsourcing consultant can help you hit the ground running, so your selection process goes faster and produces a solid outcome. They’ll make sure you haven’t overlooked a benefit or hidden pitfall in building your business case or your solution. Then they’ll work from their own already-vetted short list to recommend providers who specialize in your type of solution. You can get straight to the heart of the matter, without wasting time or becoming distracted by details that don’t really matter.
A consultant can help you strategically compare mainframe outsourcing companies, weighing each of their capabilities against the solution requirements you’ve identified. Beyond that, they’ll help you uncover value-added extras each prospect can bring to the table. And they’ll help ensure the scope of work you negotiate is complete, without anything extraneous.
You need someone who can grow and change with your enterprise over time.
Clarity is your best friend when it comes to evaluating mainframe outsourcing companies. That starts with knowing what you want. It includes not only scope of work and pricing details, but defining each of your management responsibilities as well as the ongoing review process you’ll use to follow progress and sort out problems.
Articulating your objectives clearly to potential providers helps them understand what you need, and it helps you better assess who can do the best job of helping you achieve your goals efficiently and cost-effectively. With all that in mind, you’ll be able to determine the best choice for you among the many mainframe outsourcing companies.