7 Steps to Start Outsourcing Your IT Department

Assemble the best possible team for success at your company when you use these hiring tips to outsource your IT department.

Key Takeaways:

  • Outsourcing your IT department cuts costs, increases efficiency, and gives access to a broader range of expertise.
  • Identify your needs, research potential partners, and then interview them.
  • Monitor progress with clear communication and properly calibrated milestones.

Looking to outsource your IT department? You’re not alone. Plenty of companies are hoping to save on the costs associated with growing their teams, and many are now looking into alternatives to staffing every position and department with full-time, in-house talent. Offshore software development hiring is expected to grow by as much as 70 percent this year, for example, and other industries are seeing similar expansions. 

There are many benefits to outsourcing your IT department – including lower costs, increased efficiency, and a deeper pool of talent – but actually finding and hiring qualified workers can be far greater a challenge for those new to the outsourcing world. Companies should expect to experience positives, but they also need to do the research, onboard their new teams, and be prepared for challenges. 

One of the most valuable aspects of outsourcing your IT department is availability. Your team gains valuable hours back during the day, and the worldwide nature of remote work means you can sometimes even get work done while you’re sleeping. A group of incredibly talented coders, developers, and engineers halfway across the world could be keeping your engine running at full speed even during your off hours. 

If your business is on this path, here is a roadmap of how to navigate this process.

Decide what you need

If you’re hoping to successfully outsource your IT department services, you need to first clearly articulate the function those workers will provide in relation to the rest of your team. Here are some questions to consider:

  • What is the scope of your current IT staff? What value do you want them to bring to your operation? Will they be a part of launching a new strategy, product, or service, or simply helping to maintain the status quo?
  • What brought you to this decision? A need to save money? Past mistakes, such as worker incompetence, frequent outages, or data hacks?
  • What projects do you want them to tackle? What are the strategies, deliverables, and timelines they need to meet? What are the limits – budget or scope of work, for example – placed on the project that they need to monitor?
  • Where do you see the company in five, 10, or 20 years from now? How will outsourcing your IT department help you get there?

The aim is to hand projects off to an outside team that is prepared to complete them with little to no supervision. Answering these and many other questions will point you  toward achieving that goal.

Do your research

The more thorough your research is prior to sitting down with potential partners, the more productive the hiring process will be when you decide on outsourcing your IT department. Narrow the field to the top three or four candidates and then get to work:

  • Dig into portfolios, reviews on sites like GoodFirms or Clutch, case studies, and online presence including website and social media.
  • What is their area of expertise? How deep is their experience in it? What technologies do they regularly use? What level of security are they confident they can reach?
  • What is their pricing model? Are they using the time-and materials-approach or fixed price?

Be sure to consider what your first contact was like. Were they open and honest, or evasive and sales-focused? It’ll become clear rather quickly which firm stands out from the rest. Ask each potential vendor partner for a proposal that includes services offered, timeline, and price.

Conduct thorough interviews

Research tells you a lot, but not the whole story. Nothing can replace looking someone in the eye. Here are some potential questions to ask when considering outsourcing your IT department:

  • What makes you different from other outsourcing firms?
  • Will the team be shared or dedicated?
  • When will they send project updates?
  • How do they regularly communicate amongst themselves and with their customers?

These questions all tell you how the firm will interact with you. Shared teams are often cheaper, for example, but sometimes lack focus and don’t make you the top priority. You want a vendor partner that is going to understand what your team needs and adhere to that structure. 

Start the onboarding process

Choosing the right outsourcing firm is a major accomplishment, but it’s just the first step. This process of onboarding your outsourced IT department will provide the agency with all the tools their workers need, acclimate them to your company culture, and make them feel like part of the family.

When onboarding:

  • Go over the scope of the project, deadlines, and any other issues that may come up in your initial conversations. 
  • Set your expectations and explain any previous pitfalls that you’d like the agency to keep in mind. 
  • It’s also worth being clear with how your organization communicates and shares information. 
  • Set up regular communication channels, such as email, Google Drive, Slack, Zoom, or some combination.

The better you get to know your outsourced team and the clearer you are with them about what you need and expect, the more they will feel like part of the company – and the better your results with them will be.

Write the contract

Contracts are key to a successful transition to a new team, particularly one that may live and work in another location sometimes thousands of miles away. It should clearly lay out the services, compensation, and timelines with which everyone will be working. 

You also should include provisions that tackle confidentiality – including a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) – as well as dispute resolution and internet provider (IP) rights. Finally, consider addressing the metrics used to define success and protocols for end-of-project handoff.

Follow the team’s progress

Once you’ve hired your ideal IT team, the next step is to encourage them to meet and exceed goals. There are a few tips and tricks to this:

  • Clearly define success.
    This varies widely from project to project and sometimes may involve deep strategic work. Other times it may include simply maintaining the current level of production.
  • Track their progress towards specific goals.
    Do this rather than tracking what they accomplish in a day. People work at all different rates, so a simple tally of their daily achievements may not tell the whole story.
  • Customize milestones for individual workers.
    Have the first milestone be easily achievable and then raise the stakes as you go. This allows you to see how individual developers work and then set the next milestone accordingly.
  • Be a good communicator.
    This is the bread and butter of any successful project. The more the team knows about your expectations and working style when outsourcing your IT department, the easier their job will be to try to meet them.

Once your outsourced team gets accustomed to your work style and expectations, it will be able to perform at a much higher level.

Expand your team, expand your horizons

If you’re considering outsourcing your IT department, you don’t need to tackle the process alone.

DOXA provides outsourced teams that allow local businesses to compete on a global stage by providing top-notch technological capabilities and resources. We treat people as assets, and that’s because we truly see them as worthy investments.

Our team is always on call when you need the best talent from across the globe. Send us a message to get the conversation started, because we’re ready to work with you.

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