As we hurdle toward quantum computing more each day and the technology and cybersecurity landscape morphs by the hour, the nimblest of companies are outpacing their competition by outsourcing network and security projects to certified and accomplished experts that allow them to experience greater client satisfaction, productivity, and profitability.
But you probably know all about that already, which is why you have ended up here, at the Better Guide for Outsourcing IT Projects In 2023. So let us take a walk and dive deeper into how exactly you can outsource your IT projects, what parts you could outsource, why or why you should not do it, and a lot more.
There is no doubt about it. Outsourcing IT and security projects has made digital acceleration accessible to anyone. That, of course, has brought a lot of attention to technology adoption, giving birth to what we now know as “digital differentiation." In other words, getting an edge over the competition is now all about who has the best tech and the best IT talent at their disposal. This is easy to see when you consider that the leading companies in every industry are the ones that know their way around the best hardware, software, and cybersecurity solutions.
How Do You Outsource an IT Project?
Business leaders have had all kinds of experiences with outsourcing their IT projects. We have heard horror stories about projects that delivered entirely different products than what was requested and inspiring stories about companies that saved a ton of money and still got a better solution than what they expected.
All of that begs the questions, ”What did the first group do wrong?” and “What makes or breaks IT outsourcing?”
The answer to those questions is perhaps simpler than it seems. Unlike what most people may think, outsourcing is not about finding the cheapest solution out there, it is about getting the most valuable return on your investment. In other words, if you want to do outsourcing right, you need to focus on cost-effectiveness.
The most important step to achieving that is choosing the right outsourced partner. And I mean partner. If you are simply looking for the cheapest quote from a "vendor," you are already operating your way to a potential disaster. While they do not have to be local and we support the global economy, picking a distant or overseas company can be a little tricky — especially given how many there are around the world. Luckily, there are few aspects you can always focus on, including:
Fluent Communication and Workflow: Fluent communication and workflow is the most critical step to outsourcing. Your outsourcing partner should be perfectly fluent in English or the language of your choice. Also, their work process should match your workflow throughout the development cycle.
Standardized Security Protocols: In an increasingly tech-driven world, cybersecurity is more important than ever. Make sure the IT company of your choice has up-to-date security protocols for keeping all data and software products safe.
Top Talent Engineers: Outsourcing gives you access to world-class IT talent. It is the job of an outsourcing company to gather the best engineers from the region and use their talent to deliver the best possible outcomes for you.
Quality Experience: Always check references, past clients, and completed projects of your potential IT partner. This information will give you some insight into the IT company’s performance, workflow style, and accountability.
What Parts of the Project Should Be Outsourced?
This is a great question depending on where your IT and security stacks currently stand. The beautiful thing about outsourcing IT solutions is that you can outsource literally as much of the project as you want. Some companies outsource the work of a single engineer who can help patch or extinguish a vulnerability in short order. Others hire a team to redefine and optimize their IT infrastructure, and more so now than ever, the best companies are outsourcing the entire thing to a third party to take all the weight off their shoulders.
But this does not really answer the questions. If you are wondering what parts of your project should be outsourced, we can discuss the details and let you know. But what we can do is tell you exactly how the most common types of outsourcing work, and then you can hit the ballpark of what types of services you will be needing before you sign anything.
So, let us take a look at the three main types of IT outsourcing there are: Delivery Teams, Staff Augmentation, and Project-Based Outsourcing.
Delivery Teams are perhaps the most common form of IT outsourcing today. Simply put, a Delivery Team is an autonomous group of engineers that works in parallel with the client’s in-house team. If you choose to work with a top Managed Services Provider, you are likely to get a tailored-fit team in just a few days.
Delivery Teams are an ideal choice for companies who are looking to develop high-quality solutions but do not have the infrastructure or talent available to do so. This makes it easier for businesses to jumpstart their projects in a flash and start freeing up internal resources by transferring workloads to their IT partners.
If you already have an established IT or software development department within your company, then Staff Augmentation might be exactly what you seek. This service provides an “Extended Team” that works as part of your internal team. Extended Teams may attend daily meetings, report directly to your company’s managers, and do anything else that an in-house engineer does to get things moving.
Staff Augmentation is the perfect choice for companies that need a rapid integration of outstanding engineers into their team. This way, you can immediately find the right fit for hard-to-fill or temporary positions, which boosts the scalability and efficiency of project development. And, of course, you will be bypassing everything related to sourcing, recruiting, and retaining talented software engineers.
Project-Based Outsourcing or PBO is what most people understand as good, plain old project outsourcing. PBO is a full-cycle process in which the outsourced partner takes care of everything related to delivering the best outcome from start to finish. You, as the client, only need to come up with what you want and need to get done and provide feedback as the project progresses. The best outsourced partners will provide you with their expertise in developing the scope, timing, and definitions of success with milestones and excellent communication throughout the project.
This model gives you immediate access to the resources necessary to execute complex and time-sensitive projects without the need to have any onboard IT talent. Nonetheless, remember that it is always better to have a clearly defined project scope (or at least a solid idea of what you want to achieve and how you are going to measure it) so that the end product turns out to be what you actually wanted or better. Your outsourcing partner will also provide consultancy on project management, choice of the technology and/or security stack, and any other area from the client’s end that requires support.
When Should I Outsource My IT Project?
There are many situations in which outsourcing becomes the most viable option. Here are some of the most common ones:
When you lack in-house IT Talent: Top talented engineers and technicians are scarce on a global scale. IT Companies work both in person and remote methodologies to overcome this challenge.
When you need to fill specialized roles: Many projects require either specialized technical roles or temporary positions that are not attractive for a full-time, in-house expert.
When you are dealing with complex projects: Tackling a complex project requires a lot of know-how and technical expertise. Without those, it is easy to run into speed bumps and accumulate downtime.
When you are working on tight deadlines: Getting the right results at the right time can be the difference between success and failure. Outsourced partners scale your capabilities when needed.
When you need expert support and consulting: Outsourcing companies provide consulting and support solutions for existing or ongoing projects that have fallen off the tracks.
When you want to maximize cost-efficiency: A great service provider is able to completely eliminate the costs of hiring in-house staff for a project while providing the same or better benefits.
What Should Be Practiced for Best Outsourcing?
As with most things in life, the better prepared you are to start your outsourcing journey, the better results you will be able to achieve. Most of the time, practicing these five things will get you on your way towards a smooth and value-driven outsourcing experience:
Have clear goals: As we all know, outsourcing services makes it easier for your company to reach its goals. However, you are the one in charge of approving the goals your outsourcing partner needs to achieve. That is why having a clear idea of what you are aiming for and the results you expect in a given time frame are both so important to developing a custom technology solution that matches your needs.
Set your priorities straight: While it is true that your outsourcing partner will help you build a detailed roadmap of your project, you will be the one to provide feedback on what is getting done and what needs to get done. As such, you will need to clearly state what matters most for your company and your clients. So, keep your priorities straight and participate as much as possible throughout development.
Paint a clear picture: Today, bringing an idea to the table is rarely enough to build a successful technology and security stack. You need to describe an experience and paint a clear picture of it so that your partner is able to understand what you are considering and make the best solution a reality for you. The clearer the picture, the faster your project will come out of the wireframing and sketching stage.
List all of your needs: The tech stack of your company is most likely very particular in its needs. And your project, just like any other, will require a team of engineers that are well versed in that very same tech stack and in your industry. Make a list of what you will need from your IT partner and ask about the different service models and technologies they can offer to get a feel of how they could fit in your project.
Put everything in writing: Service Level Agreements are the lifeblood of outsourcing contracts. If you want to include accountability in your project (and you should), always put everything on paper. Having proper documentation speeds up any process and makes everything much more transparent. Your outsourced team will help you choose the best solution to achieve your goals on time and cost-efficiently.
A Quick Recap on This Better Guide for Outsourcing IT Projects in 2023
Outsourcing is driving value for businesses of all sizes and from everywhere in the world. We hope this document was helpful to you. And remember, if you have any further questions, River Run is always happy to help. Let us finish this guide with a recap of the most important aspects of outsourcing IT projects in 2023.
Define the objective: If you want your project to be successful, you will need a clear statement of exactly what you are trying to achieve and what you will be requiring from your outsourcing partner. Outlining expected deliverables within the contract timeframe is a must.
Choose your partner wisely: Not all outsourcing companies are the same. It is always better to go with an experienced partner that has a proven track record completing projects similar to what you are trying to achieve. Always check references! River Run has been in business for 30 years and completes hundreds of projects every year. If we are unable to do it, we will recommend somebody that can for you.
Understand the different service models: Outsourcing should be a customizable service, so you always get the best deal on what you need. However, learning the differences between the three main outsourcing models (Dedicated Teams, Staff Augmentation, and Project-Based Outsourcing) will get you ahead on the process.
Prioritize value, not cost: The days when outsourcing was all about getting the cheapest solution possible are gone. Now, businesses from all over the world outsource services to access a larger talent pool of experts who can build high-quality, longer-term solutions and still do it cost-effectively.
Communicate constantly: Communication is key in every project. Make sure you have established communication channels and protocols with your outsourcing provider. Keeping a constant feedback loop throughout development is highly beneficial for both parties.
Ask questions: As the client, you need to ask as many questions as you need to understand exactly what your outsourcing partner is offering and how it will benefit your goals. All of your doubts and concerns should be addressed in the agreement document.
Demand Cybersecurity: Cybersecurity is more important than ever. No matter what kind of solution that you are looking to outsource, make sure that your partner can comply with all the cybersecurity standards and requirements that apply to your industry and business.
Put it all on paper: As you know, your contract with the provider will determine everything related to the outsourcing project. This includes all of the relevant documents for the process, such as the Service Level Agreement, the Software Requirements and Specifications, the Key Performance Indicators, and a Non-Disclosure Agreement if necessary.
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