"Good offshore IT service is never an accident. It's always the result of effective processes and efficient people." - Guruprasad Balasubramaniam (Founder & Expert IT Consultant, Firespark Solutions)
Once you have decided that it is time to partner with an offshore service team for your IT needs, the next crucial step is to make the right choice with regard to the offshore service team that will help you achieve your goals in an efficient manner. However, before you plunge into this step of finding the right offshore team, answer the below questions:
Do you have clarity on what you want to achieve through partnering with the offshore service team?
Have you identified the existing problems in your business for which you expect solutions from your offshore IT service partner?
Do you have a clear idea of the budget that your business will allow you to allocate for hiring the team?
Have you made a fair evaluation of the technical expertise and skill set that you are looking for in your offshore IT partner?
If your answer to the above questions is a resounding ‘YES’, it is proof enough to show that you are ready to find your ideal offshore IT services partner.
However, if your answer to any of the above questions is a ‘NO’, it is important to sort it out first and then go ahead.
The two-pronged approach to an ideal offshore partnership
Choosing your ideal offshore IT service partner becomes more meaningful with a two-pronged approach that involves:
Checking on your readiness;
Knowing what to look for in the offshore IT service provider
Define your objectives/scope of work with clarity
Do you have clarity on what you want to achieve through partnering with the offshore service team? If your answer is ‘NO’, know that you are on a wild goose chase.
Analyse what led to your decision of partnering with an offshore IT service team. That will define the goals and scope of work to be for the offshore team. Have a written document that outlines the scope of work, project details, growth targets, etc. in terms of measurable goals. This will give a bird's-eye view of your expectations in terms of the technical expertise needed, the time frame and budget to be allotted for the services and other key details. This, in turn, will help to assess the suitability of the offshore IT service providers that you have shortlisted.
Identify the existing problems in your business that are to be resolved by the offshore team.
Have you identified the existing problems in your business for which you expect solutions from your offshore IT service partner? This would be your next question to ponder about. If the answer is a ‘NO’, then it is time to convert it into a ‘YES’!
Once the objectives are crystal clear, you will be able to break them down into specific problems that you are looking to resolve through the offshore partnership. This will help in arriving at clear, measurable milestones with set timeframes for each. In the long run, this will serve as an effective progress-tracking checkpoint for both the parties involved- the outsourcing organisation and the Offshore services team.
Evaluate the budget limit that your business will allow you to allocate for hiring the offshore services team.
Do you have a clear idea of the budget that your business will allow you to allocate for hiring the team? Did we just hear a ‘NO’? or Did we hear you saying that the offshore service provider will help you with that?
Are you a start-up company or an established medium-sized business organisation? Regardless of the answer, the budget is the most important component to be considered. Defining the initial working capital helps with strategic budget planning, especially for start-ups. This planning will also help you analyse where to implement cost-cutting so that you can create a budget for the minimal viable product. This is an essential document to be presented to your investors.
Evaluate the technical expertise and skill-set that you are looking for in your offshore IT partner.
Have you made a fair evaluation of the technical expertise and skill-set that you are looking for in your offshore IT partner? If the answer is ‘YES’, then all set to choose your ideal offshore IT partner. If it is ‘NO’, then one more inquiry to be done
Your objectives and the existing problems to be resolved will help you evaluate the technical expertise and roles needed in the offshore service team. It is preferable to hire a fully equipped team comprising designers and developers, programmers, a quality control team, and business analysts led by a capable manager. This will free up the time required for you to focus on the efficient running of your core business without having to manage the offshore team.
If you have prepared yourself on all these fronts, Bravo! It is time to jump to the next part in choosing your ideal offshore IT service partner.
Partnering for success!- What to look for in an Offshore IT services partner?
The industry is flooded with numerous options of offshore IT service providers to choose from. There are big players backed up by multinational banks with a huge clientele base and then there are start-ups that are emerging into strong, trusted expert organisations acquiring a prestigious client base. Regardless of the size of the organisation, there are some deciding factors that one must consider before making the final choice.
Technical competence for a successful partnership!
Ensure that the company has the necessary technical expertise to meet your IT needs. This includes up-to-date knowledge of relevant technologies and tools, as well as the ability to integrate them into your existing systems. A company that specializes in a specific technology or platform, such as cloud computing or mobile app development, and has certified professionals on their team is an example of a company with technical competence. A team with tech expertise can deliver quality IT solutions by preventing technical errors, and ensuring compliance with industry standards and regulations.
The two Cs of a successful offshore Partnership - Communication & Collaboration
Good communication and collaboration are essential for a successful offshore IT relationship. Ensure that the company has a clear and reliable communication plan and the tools and processes to facilitate effective collaboration.
Consider factors such as language barriers, time zones & cultural differences when evaluating a company's communication and collaboration capabilities.
A company that uses modern communication tools, such as videoconferencing, project management software, and instant messaging, and has a dedicated project manager for each client, is definitely a company with strong communication and collaboration capabilities.
Protecting sensitive business data and privacy - The non-negotiable of outsourcing!
Sensitive business information and customer data must be protected to avoid unauthorised access and misuse and to maintain a competitive advantage. Ensure that the company has appropriate security measures in place, such as encryption, firewalls, and access controls, to protect your data.
Bridging the gap between vision and reality with a blend of Reputation and experience!
Research the company's background, experience, and reputation in the industry. Client testimonials and case studies provide a window to assess the company's ability to deliver high-quality services. A company with an excellent reputation and years of experience is more likely to have a strong portfolio of clients and will provide consistent results.
The question to ponder over is, Will every such organisation with a prestigious client base, reputation and years of experience be able to provide a personal touch to each of their clients, including start-up organisations?
Organisation culture - The secret sauce for a successful IT offshore partnership!
The culture of the organisation is by far one of the most important factors that can make or mar the relationship between the outsourcing organisation and the offshore IT service provider. An organisation with a team of self-driven employees with zealous involvement and passion in what they do will never cease to give high-quality solutions. An environment that motivates the team to unlearn, explore and relearn, is what will lead them to deliver consistent results with minimum control from the outsourcing organisation.
A healthy organisation culture must also have in place clearly established lines of communication and programs for continuous learning and development. When you choose an organisation with such a positive work culture, it can lead to strong work relationships and long-term partnerships.
Seal the Deal with SLAs: A Match Made in Outsourcing Heaven!
Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are important for outsourcing because they provide a clear, mutual understanding between the service provider and the customer regarding the quality and availability of the services being offered. SLAs help to set expectations, establish clear lines of responsibility and accountability, and minimize the risk of misunderstandings and disputes. SLAs also provide a framework for monitoring and measuring performance and can be used to enforce penalties or incentives to ensure that the service provider meets their obligations.
A company that provides clear and measurable SLAs which align with the objectives that you have identified in the previous phase, is the one to seal the deal with. Consider strong factors such as guaranteed response times, availability, performance guarantees, regular reviews and updates to track progress when evaluating a company's SLAs.
By having a well-defined SLA in place,
organizations can ensure that they receive the level of service they need to meet their business goals,
while service providers have a clear understanding of the expectations placed upon them.
Scaling Up, Not Out: The Key to Future-Proofing Your Business
Scalability is an important factor to consider when hiring an offshore IT partner because it determines the ability of the partner to grow and adapt to the changing needs of the business. Companies that want to outsource IT services need to be confident that their partner will be able to handle an increase in demand, new projects, and changing requirements, without incurring additional costs or causing delays. A scalable offshore IT partner will have the capacity, resources, infrastructure and expertise to handle new projects and increased demand, which can help the business to grow and succeed. This is particularly important if you expect your IT needs to grow in the future.
A company that has a flexible staffing model, can easily scale up or down to meet client needs. Scalability also helps organizations to reduce their risk, as they can be confident that their IT partner will be able to provide the services they need, even as their business grows and evolves.
Saving Big Bucks, Achieving Big Dreams: The Power of Cost-Effective Offshore IT Services
Cost-effectiveness is a key factor in choosing an offshore IT service provider because it helps organizations to reduce their overall IT costs while still receiving high-quality services. It is important to compare quotes from multiple offshore IT service providers. Consider not only the hourly rate, but also other costs such as travel, equipment, and communication expenses. A company that provides competitive pricing, has a flexible pricing model and offers cost savings compared to in-house IT services must be your ‘go-to’ option.
Outsourcing IT services to a cost-efficient offshore provider can allow organizations to take advantage of lower wages, lower operating costs, and other cost savings. This can result in significant cost savings, which can help organizations to allocate more resources to other areas of their business. Hiring a cost-effective offshore IT service provider increases flexibility and scalability, as well as access to a larger pool of talented IT professionals.