Outsourcing v/s Partnering

Until few months ago, I had not envisioned that we may outsource or partner with other organizations to deliver projects. Let me admit that my thought process or presumptions were not all right up until we got to experience it. I intend to share our experience in this blog.

We have been outright rejecting any projects that were not related with ITSM or BSM. However, we also realized that we were losing opportunities to tap ITSM/BSM potential because of it. The first time we had an opportunity to execute RIM (Remote Infrastructure Management) assignment, we wondered if we should take it up. We then decided to outsource it to the experts only because we had initiated ITSM discussion with the customer earlier and we didn’t want to lose that track. In this case, we interviewed several external organizations to ensure that quality would not be compromised as we front-ended the projects. We finalized with an organization and decided to have couple of our resources work on it to ensure that we lead the project.

We also managed to bag a different large project from another customer wherein we had to take a call either to outsource or manage it internally. We decided to outsource with similar organization to deliver the project as our other internal team members were already engaged with existing customers. This experience, though, was different one.

In both the above cases, the objective was the same – to deliver the project without compromising on quality. However, in first case, we got to outsource successfully while in the latter case, we had to partner and work hand in hand as we realized that we couldn’t rely comfortably for them to deliver it without our help.

I can jot a few tips based on our learnings –

  • Ensure that the organization to which you would be outsourcing takes complete responsibility of delivering the project.
  • Define penalty based on defects beyond certain numbers and if the duration gets extended beyond agreed timelines. Avoid outsourcing fixed time projects as much as possible.
  • The outsourced organization becomes your face to the customer; hence, it becomes very critical that they understand communication mechanism clearly.
  • At times, the outsourced organization tries to cut corners by reducing the resources or aligning junior resources to the project, especially, if it is being executed in Time and Material mode. Ensure that you have senior and experienced resources front-ending with customer.
  • Insist that the outsourced organization have one SPOC (single point of contact) to drive the project rather than you getting dragged for every meeting. We had to learn it hard way when we were dragged for several hours daily into meetings.

Am sure that all above pointers seem very straightforward; however, we tend to miss out such things, especially, when the customer expects a quick turnaround. Between, we have been outsourced many projects and we have ensured to represent our customers to their end customers and have taken complete responsibility in delivering quality projects. We expect the same from our partners. Do you?

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