Now that your business is fully reliant on its IT systems, outsourcing is a significant decision. Your choice of IT partner is just as important as the actual services that are outsourced. Which is why you need an IT outsourcing due diligence checklist. Once you have drawn up a shortlist of potential partners, the next task is to put each through your due diligence IT outsourcing process. Using the pointers below, you will be able to decide whether a potential partner has the necessary frameworks in safeguards in place to keep your IT running smoothly.
Review their pedigree
Experience is everything when it comes to providing effective, timely IT services. The first section of your IT outsourcing due diligence checklist must consider whether a potential partner is actually up to the job. Ask the tough questions now, or potentially face problems in the near future. You will need to know:
- Do you have product experts for the systems we use?
- Do you have enough product experts to support us?
- How much experience does their team have?
- What financial protections are in place in the event of a serious service failure or outage?
Check their references
Every IT outsourcing firm looks perfect on paper – that’s the whole point of advertising. The only way to assess whether an IT outsourcing provider really can deliver what they say is to speak with existing clients. Clients will be able to tell you:
- If the provider fails to meet their SLAs, how often, and the impact of these failures.
- The quality of communication and account management they receive.
- Actual cost savings provided by outsourcing IT functions.
Check their facilities
More than simply asking questions about their provisions, you should arrange to meet potential partners and take a tour of their facilities. Seeing their infrastructure and resources in action will quickly reveal shortfalls, or instances where their advertising is better than their IT.
Check their finances
Because your business is reliant on its IT, you need to be sure that any potential partner also has the financial resources required to keep their services running. Your accounts team should check each providers’ accounts filed with Companies House to spot potential financial problems And don’t forget to ask how much each provider is investing – and in what.
Consider the language barrier
To keep costs low, many IT service providers will off-shore their helpdesk along with other “low level” services. You need to seriously consider whether this will have any effect on perceptions of service received, or where language barriers may slow down support processes, affecting business outcomes. Obviously, this may not be an issue – but it pays to consider these kinds of issues on behalf of your end users.
Your IT outsourcing due diligence checklist
Obviously the factors discussed here are just a preliminary framework. There will be other issues specific to your organisation that must be addressed before completing partner evaluation process – otherwise you may be making a very costly mistake.