When a company is under a budget crunch, tech leaders may choose to outsource their projects to external companies and contractors. While this can save money over hiring an additional internal team member, it’s important to ensure that you’re partnering with the right people for the project.
To help you forge a successful partnership, we turned to a panel of experts from Forbes Technology Council. Below they share 16 important factors to consider when searching for the right outsourced vendor for your needs.
1. The Value Of Their Experience
When outsourcing tech tasks, be sure to hear and listen—it will save you a lot of time and a lot of money. Outsourcing companies have a lot of experience in managing other businesses’ tasks. This means that not listening to their opinions is a waste of their expertise. Omitting this mistake will save you a lot of resources and will make outsourcing easy and efficient. – Daria Leshchenko, SupportYourApp Inc.
2. Associated Security Risks
Partnerships can be a pathway to success and strategic growth, but third-party failures have also led to some of the costliest cybersecurity breaches. Organizations need to consider the full extent of their third-party relationships and the associated risks from the beginning of the procurement process. These risks and other specific security requirements and controls need to be factored into the contract. – Leonard Kleinman, RSA Security
3. Workflow Documentation
Clearly communicate up front and translate requirements into a clearly documented workflow and architecture that is signed off on. Establish timelines that are agreed upon by both sides. Schedule periodic updates and milestones that both sides can review and escalate if delivery is not meeting a milestone. – Suresh Sambandam, Kissflow
Google Issues Warning For 2 Billion Chrome Users
Forget The MacBook Pro, Apple Has Bigger Plans
Google Discounts Pixel 6, Nest & Pixel Buds In Limited-Time Sale Event
4. Scope And Expectations
Stop talking about how much it costs or will cost. There is always a cost. The most important factors are the scope and expectations. Lay it all out on the table. – Gene Yoo, Resecurity, Inc.
5. Team Chemistry
Consider the outsourced team as an extension of your core team and not as a vendor. This is key to ensuring the entire team operates in harmony toward a common objective. – Thiru Sivasubramanian, SE2, LLC
6. Commitment To Communication
You know your business, but your outsourced partner does not—they only have certain skills. They do not have your domain knowledge. Committing to a communication cadence as you go through your project schedules and having smaller milestone-based checkpoints (e.g., evaluating code or reviewing test plans and test results) will increase the probability of project success. – Praveen Mandal, Volta Charging and 2predict
7. How Well They Meet Your Needs
Take time researching who you need as an outsourcing partner—not who is available and contacting you the most. It takes time to build a relationship that allows for this partnership to be mutually beneficial, so spend time up front building networks, getting recommendations and researching past projects and outcomes. Hopefully, it will pay long-term dividends. – Steven Gustafson, Noonum
8. Attention To Service Value
There are several aspects you need to pay special attention to when looking for a software engineering outsourcing team, such as a well-implemented corporate culture, strong attention to service value and the full scope of development services. Only a professional external software engineering team will do exactly what you want while focusing on the things you need to successfully deliver your product. – Dennis Turpitka, Apriorit
Forbes Technology Council is an invitation-only community for world-class CIOs, CTOs and technology executives. Do I qualify?
9. Long-Term Risk
Create short-term mitigations to manage long-term risk for strategic capabilities. For example, if software development is strategic to your organization, outsourcing future design and architecture could lock you into a specific partner or leave you with an architecture that hinders long-term agility. Possible short-term mitigations could be joint architecture development and quality controls. – Altaz Valani, Security Compass
Successful outsourcing should operate as an extension of the core technology team. Trust is critical for that to work. Leadership needs to trust the outsource team to deliver the required outcomes, not just bill hours, and technology teams must trust that the outsource team is there to help and augment, not change or replace. – Joe Onisick, transformationCONTINUUM
Governance is key—there must be clear expectations of what success looks like and where “true north” is. Governance needs to be achieved via frequent checkpoints to see how the outsourced team is doing vis-a-vis acceptance criteria. Too often, oversight is lacking, the acceptance criteria are lost and checkpoints happen late in the game, and the feeling is one of wasted money and opportunity. – Sreenivasan Iyer, Shasta Ventures
12. Whether They’re An Agency Or A Solo Freelancer
Make sure you are hiring a company and not a freelancer, as a reputable company is much more reliable than a single freelancer, who can get sick any time or ghost you for no reason. Working with a company will minimize your risk of losing your efforts. Use websites like clutch.co to find the best development agencies. – Bobir Akilkhanov, Missed.com
13. Potential Project Barriers
I’d argue that any success in outsourcing skills and services will likely be shaped by the level of communication and collaboration that is fostered between you and your chosen partner. A detailed and clear project brief is key; additionally, think of potential barriers such as language, timezones and compatibility of tools used, as well as how to ensure time isn’t wasted over simple misunderstandings. – Al Kingsley, NetSupport Limited
14. Mutual Understanding Of Each Other’s Value Systems
The relationship we cultivate with our outsourcing partner is crucial. While outsourcing is designed to enable cost reduction and drive revenue, we need to consider our outsourcing partner as an extension of our businesses. Strong partnerships engender mutual trust and understanding of each other’s value systems and can be ramped up quickly to permit broader reach and more agility. – Kevin Parikh, Avasant
15. Time Investment
Patience and due diligence are key. No magic will happen overnight. Outsourcing is a process and progress is milestone-based, just as with any project implementation. Know your counterpart’s capabilities and understand the time difference, as well as the fact that on-site versus offshore expectations are not the same. – Bhavna Juneja, Infinity, a Stamford Technology Company
16. Alignment Of Objectives
As in any partnership, success comes from aligning your objectives. Clearly outline what your goals and expected outcomes are. Then, work with your partner to set a timeline and daily action items. Remember that partnerships are a two-way street. Say what you need, but also work with them to figure out how to get there. Don’t leave it all on them. – Ryan Chan, UpKeep Maintenance Management