7 Top Outsourcing Mistakes


7 Top Outsourcing Mistakes – Here are two ominous statistics if you’re planning to outsource tech support:

  • IT projects are 20 times more likely to fail than other types of projects.
  • One in six IT projects has cost overruns of 200%

These two findings come from a 2011 Oxford University research project

Admittedly, these findings are a bit dated. But they still stop you in your tracks.

IT project failures not only cost you billions. They can end the careers of managers—or at least place black marks on them.

And like all managers, you’d like to keep your job.

The best way of keeping your job is to make sure everything goes smoothly when outsourcing tech support.

And it will—as long as you avoid the 7 outsourcing mistakes discussed below.

1. Failing To Define The Project Clearly

This is a big-time mistake —especially when it comes to tech support. Fail to define the project clearly and the project will inevitably fail. Often, this mistake comes from misunderstanding the project’s scope.

Defining the project clearly produces big benefits. It helps you estimate the project’s costs, hours, and skills. How you define your project is up to you. Just make sure you take the time to do it right.

2. Not Checking Provider Out Thoroughly

Many consider this the top outsourcing mistake. Check out the providers you have on your shortlist thoroughly. Interview them all. Then choose one.

Remember, the provider is representing you. Its people are often the “face” of your company. Make sure you can trust your out of hours call centre to represent your business. Trust is the backbone of a good relationship.

3. Failing To Adequately Communicate

Hiring a great provider doesn’t mean automatic success. You still must establish good lines of communication. You must also use them regularly and effectively.

Get detailed status reports. And provide feedback on what you like and don’t like. You don’t want to micro-manage, but stay informed. Good providers will welcome your efforts.

4. Poor Governance

Lack of structured governance strategy dooms outsourcing projects. Put simply, most outsourcers under-invest in the governance and management of provider relationships. Avoid this mistake.

Create a solid governance plan. Make sure it defines outsourcing objectives, provides a flexible, collaborative working model, includes SLAs, and offers an arbitration mechanism that’s fair.

Action Point: Review your governance plan before choosing a provider. Make sure it’s a solid, doable plan. If you don’t have one yet, develop one before starting your project.

5. Improper Definition Of Metrics/KPIs

A good set of metrics or KPIs is invaluable. It helps you retain tight control over a relationship. A bad set of metrics, on the other hand, really hurts an outsourcing project. It fails to give the provider a true picture of where the relationship is going.

Choose metrics based on the project’s key objectives. The set should give the provider a clear sense of where the relationship is at any point. Online dashboards work well as a means of providing visibility on metrics and KPIs.

6. Lack of Preparation

Some see outsourcing as a quick fix. This shouldn’t be the primary reason to employ outsourcing. The quick-fix mindset leaves you vulnerable to provider changes and/or outsourcing problems. Issues like resistance to change often crop up. Don’t fall victim to them by being unprepared.

7. Poor Transition Management

This stage of outsourcing can trip you up. It can take 3 months to a year. Transitioning well encourages project success. It also builds trust and positive momentum.

Other common outsourcing mistakes you need to guard against include not being explicit about your expectations, incorrectly estimating the scope of work, and of course, buying on price alone.

Don’t let your outsourcing project be one of the many IT projects that fail this year. Study our list of top outsourcing mistakes carefully. Finding ways to avoid them. It’s critical to the success of your project and your job.

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