9 Tips to Choosing the Right Outsourcing Partner

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When considering a partner to outsource your ERP implementation, there are some key elements that you should be aware of. The key is to choose an ERP provider with strong core values such as experience, integrity, honesty, efficiency, and most importantly communication skills.

Much like hiring a contractor for your home, asking the right questions and being as knowledgeable in your requirements will minimize any problems or delays you might experience.

1) Reliability
Ask for details on the company. How long have they been in business? How many offices? How many employees? What is their history and experience in the business? Who and where are the employees located if they have multiple offices?

2) Project Experience
What types of projects have they worked on in the past? When was the last time they had someone working on a project similar to yours? If it was fairly recent, will at least part of that team be working on your project?

3) References
Is the provider able to produce several client references? Were the clients happy with the result? Do the clients still use them? Have the clients ever referred someone else to use them? Most good outsourcing providers have a list of references detailing different and varied clients with up-to-date contact information including: company, name, title, email/phone number and a briefing on the project of what was done.

4) Quality Products/Services
Beyond solid references, the provider needs to supply and emphasize the understanding of the products and implementation processes that are followed within their organization to ensure success. Product certifications and defined implementation methodologies go a long way in providing customers with this assurance.

5) Additional Costs
Make sure there are no hidden costs in implementation, testing, training, connectivity, infrastructure, transition, etc. Ask if they ever work on fixed cost engagements (providing there are no unexpected problems on the client side), and what is needed to get a fixed cost pricing on a project. Most companies that have experience in large and small projects are willing to take on fixed cost projects, particularly for smaller projects.

6) Delivery Times
Make sure your provider provides realistic deadlines and goals. Be sensible and make sure that their resources aren’t working on a timeline that may affect the outcome or quality of the project. If your instincts are bothering you, ask more questions, if their answers cannot satisfy you, then they probably aren’t the right company for you.

7) Terms
Always document what the terms of the project are including the payment, project assumptions, timing, and guidelines will be for any sized projects. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 40 hour project or a 5,000 hour project; a successful project requires guidelines to ensure customer satisfaction.

8 ) Risks
What kind of risks are you going to be undertaking in outsourcing this project? Is the vendor insured? What is their insurance coverage? What kind of data loss prevention and back up have they implemented?

9) Communication
The level of communication can make or break a project’s success. How well do the team members interact and how well the team leads interact with you and your team play have huge effect on the outcome of the project. We have all heard and played broken telephone, why would it be any different for a large project? Make sure that you meet and possibly interview the team lead so you are sure that the teams will be able to work together successfully.

The initial conversations and communication between the companies will be a strong indication if your companies will work well together, follow your instincts, don’t try to make things work for the sake of making it work. Follow your requirements and your instinct.

For additional information on ERP solutions, contact ERT Group.

By ERT Group - Florida Gold Certified Microsoft Dynamics Partner

12 thoughts on “9 Tips to Choosing the Right Outsourcing Partner”

  1. This is a great topic you have covered here. I found these tips very helpful and informative. I think every person related to BPO can use your tips to help themselves. Thanks for sharing this great post. Keep writing.

  2. Hello Michael!

    The tips you presented in this blog entry are very useful. But I think Tip 9 should have a much higher priority. Customers of outsource/offshore projects often complain about lingual and cultural barriers.

    I think OFFSHORING 2.1 is a remarkable approach to these pittfalls. With a management of people from the same cultural area and the application of modern communication technologies, customers don’t have to experience misunderstandings. Instead of complaining, they become an important part of the project team.

  3. Excellent summarisation of the points...

    This shall be very useful for planning the outsourcing needs document.

  4. Thank You for the tips for choosing the right partner to build our corporate information system. What we must taking care of is the information security about the business if we decided to use an outsource partner.

  5. I liked your article on the outsoucing related topic. Do you know that the British Council is considering outsourcing over 100 jobs to India, a first for a public sector organization in UK. The organization, whose job is to promote British culture abroad, is cutting 500 out of 1,300 UK-based staff, 280 of whom are permanent employees.

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