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Updated by Charles Bystock on 06/24/2014

mainframe-outsourcing-providers_(6)As we’ve discussed a number of times, mainframe outsourcing providers are not all equal. That makes the provider selection process all the more important. Finding the one that’s best for your enterprise can speed you on your way to transformation and greatly improve your corporate chances for long-term success, because everything your company does depends on top-performing IT.

Investigate, don’t assume.

Learn all the options first before you start winnowing. Failure to take everything into account as you work through your decision-making process could well mean you miss out on the best option available. That could put you at a serious – possibly permanent – competitive disadvantage.

Start by getting professional help.

Look at it this way: Aren’t you glad you don’t have to memorize all the federal tax code changes each year, or all the latest legal developments that affect your corporate affairs? Even your crackerjack accounting and legal departments look to outside specialists for help when things get overly complex, because the stakes are always high.

You can enjoy that same sense of “knowledge freedom” and confidence by consulting with an experienced mainframe outsourcing consultant. They have all the information you need, and they know which details among all that data are most relevant for your company and your circumstances. You’ll save time and money and get much better results.

With the provider marketplace rapidly shape-shifting, it’s just not possible to keep up unless you make that a full time job. Mainframe outsourcing consultants do just that, so they know things you don’t know – things that can be critically important to determining the best mainframe outsourcing providers.

They know every one of the latest trends and best practices that relate to the provider selection process. They can help you ask the right questions and read between the lines of each provider’s answers. Consultants actually know the providers, and that boosts your decision-making process in two ways.

First, they can help you quickly arrive at a short list of candidates who are truly the best potential options for you. Second, they have inside information about each provider – not just their resumes and reputations, but their specific strengths and weaknesses, their personalities and approaches to working with clients like you, etc. These details have to align smoothly with your own operation or your working relationship won’t work.

Turn your RFP into a solution development tool.

Rather than thinking of your service delivery solution(s) and the provider(s) who will handle that work for you as two disparate issues, you can achieve higher level results by letting prospective providers help you devise the strongest, most innovative solutions. A consultant can facilitate that, by helping you draft an open-ended request for proposals.

Have you considered a multi-provider option?

Hybrid solutions are all the rage these days for every aspect of IT system development and management, and that includes a growing corporate interest in working with multiple providers. With specialization on the rise, it may make more sense for your enterprise to choose more than one provider, so you truly get the best for every part of the work you plan to outsource.

But working with multiple providers can be even more complex. Your consultant can help you craft a holistic program that will get you the best long-term results by getting top performance from your providers, individually and as a group.

Interview your final candidates in person.

Choosing mainframe outsourcing providers is a hiring process, and style is as important as skill. It doesn’t matter what they know, if they can’t communicate well with your internal people. And if you don’t like each other, you won’t like working together.

Determining your best options among mainframe outsourcing providers comes down to this: be self-centered, in a good sense, because providers are only as good as the results your company achieves. And get help, so you can uncover the best among the best.