Nowadays it’s becoming more common for both larger corporations and small businesses alike to engage the help of outsourcing companies for their non-core business activities. In this post we share some of the best practices and tips to get the most out of these relationships with third party providers.
Develop Trust by asking Questions
Ask questions to any prospective Managed Service Provider right from the beginning. For example, what kind of infrastructure, applications, and other technologies do they typically work with? What kind of tools do they use internally for things like customer support and other functions? Are their written agreements easy to read? And so on. Don’t take answers at face value – make sure you do a bit of research yourself to make sure you understand and are comfortable with their approach to conducting business and that it matches your business process.
When you are deciding to outsource, there can be a number of activities that might not be your core business. Review your options – there are many opportunities that could allow you to expand in other areas of your business that you might not have considered before.
Make sure to develop a well-defined and documented Managed Services Strategy
Clearly addressing and documenting your managed services strategy is important to the foundation of any agreement. Clarify the goals which you wish to reach using your managed services provider, discuss with them something that is SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound). For managed service provider agreements to work, there needs to be a genuine commitment for continuous innovation, improvement and cost-reduction on both sides. A good managed services provider will be diligent in assessing ways in which they can achieve these goals. It’s important to make sure these goals are protected within the contract as well as ingrained within the organisational culture and work practices.
Hold regular meetings and keep your presence known. Treat your managed service provide as you would an internal department. Selecting a managed service provider that integrates with your company’s existing culture seamlessly is important and a huge aid in the knowledge transfer process. Keep them in the loop as appropriate and inform them when you have strategic plans, changes and other news that could impact the company. Doing so will enable the managed service provider to anticipate and adapt rather than constantly playing catch-up. Check-up that things are running fine, that your outsourcing partner is delivering as what you’ve agreed upon and on time.
One of the biggest risks in business today is cyber security, or the lack of it. While not all businesses can afford to invest in a more encompassing security tech solution, you can do a lot for your cyber security by taking a closer look at your internal policies and procedures (e.g having separate passwords, authorised users only etc.) Even if the part of your business which you outsource is for IT, smart security starts internally.
If issues do arise, address them immediately with your provider. Tackle it together by alerting the provider right away. Raising issues quickly can stop them from escalating and gives your provider an appropriate amount of time for issues to be resolved.