If you’re thinking about outsourcing part, or all, of your IT function to some third party vendor, you’ll want to make sure you’re selecting the company that will serve your needs the best. That takes some forethought and planning, but it also takes asking the right questions of potential candidates. Their answers will tell you much about what you can expect from the company in question. Here are five excellent, hard hitting questions to get you started:
How Will The Account Be Managed?
Here, you’re looking for two things. First, a clearly defined and delineated process for management that is replicated across their account structure. You don’t want an ad hoc approach to your account’s management, you want a process with an audit trail.
Second, you want a dedicated person on point for your account. You need a name and a number of a person to call when things go sideways, because they will. You also need a name and a number of an alternate, because the point person isn’t going to be available 24/7. If the company can’t give you those two things at a minimum, keep looking.
Who Are Some Of Your Other Customers And What Would They Say About You?
This is mostly for verification. If you’re smart, and we know you are, then you’ve already done some ground work and research. You’ve already checked up on them. What you’re looking for here is confirmation. If they can’t be straight with you about things you can check and verify easily, then they’re not going to be straight with you when things get hard.
What Was The Biggest Mistake Your Crew Made, And How Did You Handle It?
Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody. If they tell you they don’t, show them the door. You’re looking for two things with this question. One, you want to see them take ownership of mistakes made. That’s important in its own right because it is a display of accountability. Two, and this is every bit as important, is you want to see how they responded under fire. Mistakes equal pressure. What did they do? Was there a “Keystone Cops” period, or did they respond with a solid action plan and enough resources to address it in a timely fashion? Even if they didn’t, did they learn from that and change their policies and procedures based on that event? This question is very telling.
What Security Measures Do You Have In Place?
Obviously, you want a level of security that is at least as robust as that which you have already, or it renders the entire operation an exercise in futility. What’s the point in outsourcing your data if it’s exposed to the world? They call it proprietary data for a reason, and you want yours to stay that way. If they don’t have solid security, look elsewhere.
Do You Offer Migration Plans?
Moving your services from point A to point B is a bit more involved than simple copying and pasting, and needs to be handled with care. Even if everything goes to plan, it’s bound to create at least some downtime, but one misstep and things can go badly wrong in a hurry. You want to be sure that your new team is ready for that possibility with a plan in place, and contingencies in case their plan doesn’t survive first contact with your infrastructure.