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The 10 Factors You Must Consider Before Choosing an IT Contractor

Posted on Jan 12, 2018

You have a big IT project. Its success is critical to your company’s performance. You know you don’t have the resources in-house to complete it. Outsourcing is an excellent alternative. But how do you choose the right IT outsourcing company? Here are 10 important guidelines you can use in evaluating potential contractors for the project.

1. Consider the size and experience of the IT provider.

  • Determine whether their company is large enough to handle a project of your size.
  • Check that they have a good resource base with software development centers in different regions.
  • Assess their availability with regard to other projects it may currently be handling.
  • Find out if they have many successfully completed projects.
  • Ask for information on similar completed projects and evaluate their technological characteristics, focusing on qualitative performance indicators.
  • Evaluate the relevance of the contractor’s technological stack to your needs.

2. Read reviews and project descriptions of prior work.

  • Take into account basic indicators: years in business, portfolio, number of implemented projects, certificates, ratings and recommendations.
  • Evaluate whether they have experience in implementing similar products, solutions, and services.
  • Interview the IT provider’s clients who gave references.

3. Determine the contractor’s potential for effective remote collaboration.

  • Ask about the IT provider’s business expertise (in addition to their technological expertise), particularly in offering services and solutions via a remote model.
  • Assess whether the corporate culture is adequately focused on project implementation by distributed teams.
  • Take into account their experience, speed and ability to build a quality remote team. Check that they have the infrastructure in place for providing services of remote project implementation.
  • Ask about their quality management system as well as their stability, business models, maturity, and transparency of project management and processes.
  • Gauge potential communication efficiency between the provider’s technical specialists and your team.
  • Ask to see the resumes/CVs for the provider’s engineers and check whether they have remote project experience.
  • Determine whether the provider offers a warranty for quality and support of developed solutions.

4. Organize the project and establish a budget.

  • Formulate your project goals clearly.
  • Write a detailed project specification.  
  • Evaluate future cost savings  through investments in the current business analysis.
  • Remember, more expensive doesn’t always mean better. A good service provider helps keep customer costs reduced.

5. Consider factors for which it might be worth overpaying.

  • Domain expertise, including expertise in business solutions and technologies, is extremely valuable and well worth the expense.
  • A fixed price project might initially seem expensive but could prove to be cost-effective for a project with a large scope.
  • Look long-term. A one-off saving can lead to additional costs for support and rework of the project down the road.
  • Spell out the expected result to avoid having to pay for additional work because the service provider lacked a clear understanding of your expectations for the final product.

6. Ask about their quality management system.

  • Look for an ISO 9000 certification. This international quality management standard will help you minimize project risk. In comparison to other certificates (for example, CMMI), the ISO certification must be confirmed each year.

7. Do this before signing a contract and starting development.

  • Minimize your project and legal risks by composing a detailed description of project requirements and implementing practices of agile development methodologies (for example, SCRUM).

8. Follow this course of action for drawing up a contract.

  • Make sure that the agreed-upon terms are adequately reflected in the contract as well as a description of the parties’ rights and responsibilities.
  • Remember that a flexible dialogue and the parties’ intention to move toward each other are critical to success.
  • Take into account specific features of the legislation in the countries of the IT provider’s operation.

9. Think ahead to maintenance of your completed project and growth of your business.

  • Request a warranty with elimination of defects for a sufficient period of time.
  • Ask about paid services for project support and enhancement after the warranty period.

10. Consider the country of the IT provider for project development.

  • Give preference to international outsourcing providers that are present in key markets, such as the U.S. and Europe.
  • European countries are a good choice, providing an excellent level of technological expertise and specialists’ knowledge.
  • The Gartner analysts marked Belarus as the top outsourcing location.
  • Cultural proximity significantly reduces communication costs.
  • Apart from the relevance of the technological expertise and delivery model, pay attention to the time zone of the team to minimize the time lag in communication.
  • Take into account the specialists’ proficiency of communication in your language.

Choosing an IT provider is similar to choosing a business partner. You want to work with people you trust and who share your dedication to creating a quality product.

IT contractors with relevant experience can be worth their weight in gold, increasing efficiency at every stage and adding value to your project along the way. Furthermore, if they have the people, systems and processes in place, they can hit the ground running.

Keep all of the above factors in mind when evaluating outsourcing providers and you’ll be successful in aligning your company with the right information technology partner for your next project.

Need more information about outsourcing your IT project? Contact us today!