By Cornelius Conlon, Managing Director of Meritgroup & CTO of Dods Group Plc
It frustrates me that for some companies, outsourcing tech work is still a real headache.
I often hear about it from businesses in pain, desperately looking for a miracle cure!
I promise, if you pick the right partner, it can be painless.
And more than that. Having a committed, flexible and talented tech team at your disposal, upskilled on all the latest technology and software developments, who can quite simply save you a fortune, will make your everyday working life a pleasure!
Here are five tips on making the right decision.
1. ‘Deep experience’ can be shallow
Many of the big player tech companies promise ‘deep experience’ going back 20, 30 or even 40 years. I’m afraid that isn’t enough.
Choose an agile and flexible provider, who can keep up with the speed of change in today’s tech world and who ensures their team is equipped with the latest skills.
2. Insist on the A-Team
All too often now, we are hearing of companies that send in their A-Team for pitch presentations, group concepts and trial work. Then, when the client is onboard, the C-Team shows up. Ask from the outset who you will be working with, and if you are impressed by the initial contacts – insist on them.
If your day-to-day team comprises graduates with less than three years’ commercial experience your ROI may not represent value for money.
3. People power
If you are working with a supplier and find some of their team are middle of the road or not performing, speak up. Or set some test tasks for measurement to find out if you are getting what you are paying for. UK buyers don’t give this enough focus, but if they were employing in-house personnel it would be paramount. Set the same standards when outsourcing.
4. Short and snappy
Lengthy contracts are becoming more commonplace, with an estimated 70% of large suppliers’ clients on five-year deals.
Some people enjoy the predictability of such an arrangement. I think it’s asking for trouble.
How can you know that the partner you pick now, will be what you need in three or four years’ time, when tech is moving at such pace? I recommend a one to three-year deal, followed by the flexibility of a six-month rolling contract.
5. Time is money
Strict change control processes are important for many of the big outsourcing firms, but flexibility is the real secret to success. Don’t get caught out with extra charges for time because you need something you didn’t predict 18 months ago. And check potential penalty clauses too. Negotiating and re-negotiating at every fork in the road diverts focus from what you are trying to achieve, delays your success and can result in a whopping great bill that never made the budget.
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