How to Properly Assess Your IT Outsourcing Partner

IT managers often focus the bulk of their time on maintenance tasks rather than strategic technology initiatives that can benefit a company's bottom line. In the past, IT best practices dictated that IT had to be managed completely in-house. Today, outsourcing IT has become a commonplace best practice for nearly every IT-savvy organization. Here, Knowledge Center contributor Mike Alley shares four tips to properly assessing your IT outsourcing partner.


Companies that have already gotten their feet wet outsourcing IT services are leaps ahead of their competitors who are just now putting a toe in the water. Outsourcing extends the reach of enterprise computing environments, changes the scope of available IT services and empowers internal IT staff to focus on more strategic tasks.

So, how do you know whether or not the IT outsourcing partner with whom you've tested the waters is the one who can help you fully leverage outsourcing to work in your favor on an ongoing basis? Have you chosen the right outsourcing partner or do you need a new one?

As evolved as technology outsourcing has become, getting the most for your outsourcing dollar really comes down to knowing that you have the right outsourcing partner and the right service-level agreement (SLA) to meet your business objectives, delivered at the right price. If you don't have these things, it's time to change providers. To help you assess your outsourcing partner, consider the following four tips:

Tip No. 1: Make sure your expectations are met

Take a look at your current contract and compare your expectations with what is being delivered. Are the services really meeting the end results you were trying to achieve by outsourcing the service? Many companies find themselves dissatisfied with the service they are getting but choose to just live with it. When you find yourself in this position, you need to meet with your provider and determine if it can adapt and deliver the service you really need. If not, find an IT outsourcing partner that can.

Remember, there are many outsourcing services available to you: managed services, IT contract management, application management and software as a service (SAAS) to name a few. This is not a canned product but a customizable deliverable that should be based on your company's specific needs.

Tip No. 2: Ensure your services are delivered around best practices

How do you compare the services being delivered against the services defined in your contract? High-quality outsourcing partners deliver their services through IT service management (ITSM) tools that connect agreed upon SLAs to actual service delivery. If you find that your current provider is not meeting its SLAs, it is time to dig in and uncover the underlying problem. Processes and communication are the foundation for outsourcing success. If you feel this foundation is missing from your current provider, it may be time to reevaluate who is performing your services.