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How to Choose a Global IT Sourcing Partner

Sep 15, 2008
As the offshore outsourcing industry continues to grow, there are even more vendors in which to choose. Outsourcing companies can reap many benefits through global IT sourcing, including lower costs, the ability to get products to market faster, increased productivity and more time to focus on core competencies. To maximize the potential that global outsourcing has to offer, it is crucial to choose the most appropriate vendor.

The right vendor for one organization may not be the best option for another. Vendors offer different capabilities and an outsourcing company should carefully analyze these offerings to determine which provider will best suit the organization's needs. There are many factors that should be considered when choosing a global sourcing provider, which are outlined below.

Global Sourcing Provider's Size - Vendors come in all sizes. Both large and small global sourcing providers boast certain advantages. For example, a large vendor will usually offer numerous outsourcing services, so they can provide multiple offerings to clients. An outsourcing company can therefore have many of the IT requirements met in one location. However, the downside with working with a large IT vendor is the potential lack of personalized attention. Small vendors have more time to devote to individual clients, but may not have all of the needed services. Making the decision to go with a small vendor versus a large vendor largely depends on the goals of the outsourcing company.

Expertise in the Industry - Vendor proficiency is essential to the success of IT projects. It is beneficial to send work to a global sourcing provider that has knowledge in various software technologies. A vendor with limited expertise may not understand the outsourcing company's market. Also, a key advantage of working with a global sourcing provider that has the necessary expertise is that they may be able to recognize better methods for software and process development.

Qualifications of Employees - Just like in house employees need specific qualifications to properly perform their job duties, so do the vendor's employees. The quality of development is closely linked to the developer's knowledge and experience. When talking with various global sourcing providers, it would be wise to ask about the background and experience of the employees. Ask such questions as - How many years have they been in this line of work? What type of degrees have they earned? Language skills are also crucial. Communication can be greatly impacted if there is a language barrier.

Communication Infrastructure - Vendors should have some type of system for knowledge transfer and a well defined method for communicating project requirements. Communication infrastructure such as email, phone or other type of capability should be in place. The outsourcing company will need to discuss the project with the vendor and a proper communication infrastructure is therefore crucial. There are many global sourcing providers that now have project managers located in the United States to make it easier to coordinate projects and schedules. When talking with a potential vendor, inquire about local project managers.

Security & Data Protection - Within the IT industry, intellectual property is one of the most valuable assets of an organization. Protecting these assets is essential. When outsourcing to a vendor in a location outside of the United States, it is important to be aware of that country's laws. Carefully review the laws of that region to understand the level of intellectual property protection. Unfortunately, some outsourcing companies fall victim of trade secret theft by the vendor's employees. For this reason, ask the vendor about the background checks that are conducted on employees. Find out if there are firewalls and other security methods to protection proprietary information.

This list is just a sample of criteria that should be considered when choosing a global sourcing partner. When it comes time to decide on a vendor, adequate time should be taken to determine the right choice. The success of an IT project heavily depends on the global sourcing provider.
About the Author
A&E Consulting is a full service consulting firm that has been successfully helping clients with their global needs. Visit http://www.globalsourceyourit.com or call 818-572-8399 for more information.
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