How Tech Leaders Can Work With Outsourcing Providers: Tips and Best Practices

With the prevalence and scale of outsourcing in every industry and company, it is now imperative for technical leaders to work with their suppliers not only to address immediate challenges, but also to prepare their business for the new medium and long term impacts.

Based on our many years of firsthand experience with managing outsourcing relationships, we’ve put together a list of actions every tech decision-maker should follow to secure and improve their tech partnership with a software development outsourcing provider.



Contents

Resolve immediate issues

Secure services on the critical infrastructure, systems, security, and processes you need to run your business. The current remote operating models put an unprecedented strain on the infrastructure of every outsourced service provider. Some of them, especially the smaller and more agile players, may have provided their employees with the right equipment to work on a large scale.

Today, many companies are facing a deterioration in the quality of services due to capacity overload, a lack of reliable infrastructure, and a shortage of skilled tech talents. This compromises their products’ quality and their ability to hire and retain software engineers.

Add to this the possibility that critical knowledge about your company’s infrastructure, security, processes, and systems can be entrusted to a provider’s employee. Ensure your provider has a backup plan in case an employee gets sick or resigns. Otherwise, your organization’s technology ecosystem and business continuity could be in dire straits.

As such, you should consider a deeper integration with your outsourcing partner and your dedicated team.

Actions to be taken

Even though most providers have made it possible for their employees to work from home, tech leaders need to monitor employees’ productivity and their ability to work in real-time.

Make sure your provider can scale up the following key enablers:

  • operational protocols (roles and responsibilities, decision-making authority, problem management);
    processes (communications, document flow);
  • technology (virtual private network [VPN], network bandwidth, collaboration tools, video conferencing, security); 
  • people management (health tracking and support)

 

Organize daily phone calls with your outsourcing providers until the new working model proves itself.

Plan for capacity rebalancing with your outsourcing partner

Work with your supplier to understand current capacity and plan for the future impact of any performance degradation. For example, infrastructure-backed performance is expected to suffer a 40% to 50% drop due to the lack of remote infrastructure availability.

Develop and implement possible rebalancing plans between locations and/or providers. Encourage your supplier to provide early warning of affected resources and services.

Ensure continuity of critical software development and infrastructure services outsourcing

Create a detailed daily plan with your outsourcing vendors to monitor, resolve, and track events related to data centers, critical servers, and network support, taking into account both increased network usage and reduced productivity for both customers and vendor staff.

Set up and validate the correct offshore security protocols

It is essential to ensure that all provider employees protect and process all data, especially personal information (PII), correctly, even in remote locations.

Tech decision-makers must ensure that providers have secure remote work protocols and procedures in place to identify and escalate threats. Consider, for example, using multi-factor authentication to reduce the risk of accessing sensitive data and working with vendors to shorten patch cycles for essential home-based systems such as VPNs and endpoint security to minimize the risk of data being stored on endpoints with latency.

Reduce non-critical and short-term resource usage to ease the burden

While most outsourced providers operate at full capacity without a significant drop in service levels, they are likely to experience under-capacity due to a lack of resources. Make sure the available bandwidth is used wisely.

Re-evaluate all applications for true criticality and 24/7 support, reduce SLAs for non-priority tickets, etc.

Are you looking to outsource your software solution development to a specialist provider!

Build resilience to better prepare for the future crises

Work proactively with your outsourcing provider to prepare for what’s next. Once critical needs are met, tech leaders must proactively respond with their vendors to the likely ongoing cimpacts of current crises.

This may include business continuity planning for potential capacity cuts, addressing challenges associated with remote work on critical innovation programs, and developing approaches to meet new needs as they arise.

Actions to be taken

Create real-time dashboards for all outsourced services

Work with your vendor to create “easy-to-access” real-time dashboards to track the right set of metrics—status, service levels, throughput across locations, areas of risk, and more.

Evaluate resource backup options for experts in critical areas. Define critical domain expert roles with vendors, and create backup plans (documentation and knowledge migration) to back up assets. Assess whether your providers can use or allocate resources between locations or services in case of a shortage.

Develop disaster mitigation plans for different outsourcing use cases

What if the networks at the outsourcing destination go down quickly, for example, under high loads?

Can the provider offload critical operations to local facilities and load balance across different services?

Reallocate resources to important projects

Work with your vendors and business partners to identify and prioritize technology solutions crucial to the business and its customers, such as critical patient pathways in healthcare systems or inventory and supply chain analytics for retailers.

Ask your providers to find out if there are generally accepted “industry” solutions that you can use. Consider reallocating resources from projects that are no longer a priority to those that are.

Adopting remote work also allows tech leaders to accelerate the transition to new operating models. The ability to work with talents anywhere can enable teams to 

  • work successfully without face-to-face communication, institutionalize agile application development methodologies for distributed or remote work at scale, 
  • create support models with the flexibility to scale up and down quickly across locations.
  • potentially increase outsourcing of non-strategic and support services.

 

In some cases, it also makes sense to work with outsourcing providers that can accelerate important digital transformation and innovation programs, such as the transition to digital channels or the development of new business models.

Bottom Line

Whatever the path, tech decision-makers will need to work closely with their outsourcing partners to transform technology service delivery to overcome this crisis and grow the business.

Looking for a technology partner?

Let’s talk.

Related Articles