Computerworld's Premier 100 IT Leaders 2005 cites a handful of successful outsourcers – and five lessons:
- Keep a tight grip. Plan on implementing “continuous project management” and “don't abdicate responsibility.”
- Put partners to the test. Keystone Automotive's RFP for “a massive ERP rollout and data center consolidation project” was deliberately broad-brush; they wanted to see the what bidders would bring to the table.
- Establish a relationship. Successful outsourcers will treat service providers as an extension of their own internal IT team.
- Parcel out smaller jobs. It's easier to outsource small projects that have detailed specs.
- Create communication channels. And not just with the service provider(s); you need to keep your own staff informed.
Backup – and back out – options
In the “Deal Drivers” section, Michael Taylor, CIO of Todd Pacific Shipyards in Seattle suggests keeping a good relationship with the vendor that lost, just in case things don't work out. “I keep a good relationship with the vendor that lost,” Taylor says. “We always keep that second vendor out there. We have 30-day cancellation clauses.”