Outsourcing is a common practice nowadays, and can be applied to almost any field of work. Be that as it may, outsourcing still remains most valuable to the IT field, as IT-related tasks already involve computers and Internet in most cases, so outsourcing is just an extra step away.
Donât let that apparent simplicity fool you, though - as simple as outsourcing may seem at first, it can turn out into a real nightmare sometimes. From disappearing contractors all the way up to infrastructure providers going belly up, outsourcing is a dangerous pond if youâre not familiar with it. Here is a list of the most common outsourcing nightmares, how to prevent them, and how to deal with them.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but youâd be surprised as to how many problems arise just because communication is not crystal clear. A simple time zone difference between the two parties thatâs not taken into account may lead to confusion and missed deadlines, making the whole experience frustrating and unprofitable.
The solution is simple: working through absolutely all the possible details regarding the workload, deadlines, communication methods and times, and everything in between.If the project in question is time-sensitive, a good idea would be opting to outsource to someone thatâs on the same or close time zone, and can thus be available around the same work hours for smooth communication.
It is also crucial to make sure the contractor is able to hand the workload. A lot of contractors tend to bite more than they can chew, which will result in rushed or incomplete jobs - not something you want to deal with, especially when youâre on a tight schedule. Communication is the key again: ask all the question you feel you need to do in order to ensure that the provider has the necessary equipment and skillset to get the job done.
If youâre relying on outsourcing for your entire IT infrastructure, the risks are even greater. Unlike an in-house solution, where you can simply get a team of technicians to work on any arising problems, an outsourced IT infrastructure means that youâre at the mercy of the provider. Most providers have strong policies that should allow everything to run smoothly, but that doesnât mean that the unpredictable canât occur, in which case youâre off on your own until the problem gets fixed.
The most obvious approach to avoid such scenario is to be extra careful when choosing the provider youâre going to outsource to. As a general rule, if a company makes big claims but doesnât back them up with clear terms and procedures, chances are itâs just cheap marketing, and you should look elsewhere. A serious company will explain what the risks are, and what their handling plan is for each scenario. Bigger companies that have multiple datacenters should be prefered, as they are likely to have a solid backup plan even if something happens and an entire datacenter becomes unusable (such as in the case of a natural disaster).
Even when working with one of the most reputable companies in the field, itâs always a good idea to keep local backups of your most important files and settings, just so youâre on the safe side.
One Hit Wonders
Outsourcing is a lot like gambling - you may once get the lucky hand, but thereâs no guarantee whatsoever that the next hand will be just as good. When youâre outsourcing, be it work, services or infrastructure, youâre basically gambling your work, trying to find that one lucky provider that can get the job done in a satisfactory manner.
The problem is that there is no guarantee that a provider that performed outstanding in the past will behave the same, and you might find yourself on a tight deadline with a provider that goes missing in action or simply becomes unable to fulfill your requirements.
To avoid such scenario, itâs always a good idea to have a list of providers to choose from for each task. Never stop looking once you find someone for the job - you may find someone cheaper, better, or simply there to take up to job if the initial provider bails. Always have a backup.
This blog is listed under IT Strategy & Management Community