Do not select an outsourcing company; select its customer base
Companies that are more and more outsourcing their IT activities know all too well that this increases the dependency on their outsourcing supplier. They, justly, pose the question how the continuity of their service can be guaranteed. In other words: how do they protect themselves when their supplier is in trouble or worse, goes bankrupt? Because then the harm is incalculable. What company nowadays can do one day without automation?
Currently, one often sees companies forcing a supplier to look for an affluent party that will vouch for him. It all sounds logical; a mid-sized outsourcing supplier that is supported by a large financial institution, a software or hardware giant. The question is: does this offer real security? I think not. To start with, the outsourcing supplier has to succeed in finding a large party. Subsequently, the question remains how far a large party will go to guarantee continuity. All in all, this approach offers only a false sense of security. Because when push comes to shove, the question is if guarantees are indeed solid guarantees. The consequence being, that in many cases companies choose a larger supplier for the outsourcing of services. This in spite of the trend to do more business with smaller specialized parties, who’s services optimally dovetail with the requirements of the commissioning party.
There is however another way. By making an inventory of the parties that have services delivered from your potential outsourcing partner. If these are healthy companies, that depend just like everybody else, on reliable IT support and continuity, an ecosystem of customers emerges. This ecosystem simply cannot allow this service to stop. This group of customers offers considerably more security than that one big, moneyed party in the background. When continuity is in danger, then the client base is easily capable of preventing the outsourcing supplier from crashing and to buy time. Compare this with a country that nationalizes a large bank to prevent it from going bankrupt. Whoever is looking for an outsourcing supplier, should first look at its customer base. Who are they? How big are they? Do I fit in? Contact a few of those customers to talk about their experiences. If the worst comes to the worst, then you’ll have real security.
Léon van den Bogaert