Running a small business is nothing less than a challenge. You have to manage several things without spending a fortune on a big team. Outsourcing makes a wise option as it empowers your organization with expertise without burdening your budget. You need not stress about hiring resources, training them, providing them with infrastructure, and making efforts to retain them for the long haul. Small businesses can do better by outsourcing several processes, and IT is one of them.
Collaborating with experts for specific projects and solutions is sensible when you do not operate in a tech domain. Likewise, even tech businesses can consider this model if they run with a small team. While the benefits of such collaborations are immense, you must do some things right to make the most out of it. Here is the best advice IT outsourcing small business owners can rely on.
Understand your limitations
Assessing your current team gives you the best start because it enables you to understand your limitations. You must do it even before finding an outsourcing partner. Consider the skills and competencies of your team members to identify the skill gaps for your organization. Visualize the present and future technology needs of your organization to know how these skill gaps can affect the operations. You will have a big picture of your outsourcing requirements, so it will be easy to pick a partner and the relevant model according to your needs and challenges. Making apt choices is crucial for small organizations because there is hardly room for error amid the time and money constraints.
Define your goals upfront
Small businesses can get more with less by clearly defining their IT outsourcing goals upfront. The goals vary from organization to organization and project to project. You may want to outsource for greater efficiency, quality improvement, cost savings, or augmenting skills. Identifying your goals early gives you a head start with selecting the right partner and agreement. Moreover, you have better chances of getting the outcomes you expect. Besides deciding the goals, you must also define the performance metrics for your vendor before committing to a relationship. The success of a collaboration depends on both goals and metrics. So ensure setting a clear view on both fronts for your partner.
Look for a reliable partner
This one is a no-brainer because you cannot expect IT outsourcing to work without a reliable partner. Choose the relevant hiring model first, whether you prefer a team-based, process-based, or augmentation model. Small organizations do the best with staff augmentation because of the flexibility and scalability of the arrangement. Luckily, you can find several reputed Staff Augmentation Companies with diverse IT expertise. You may even consider collaborating with an offshore partner from the LATAM region because the area offers high-value tech talent on a budget. Do check the areas of expertise and reviews of the company before sealing the deal.
Ensure viable collaboration
Finding the right IT partner for your small business is only half the work. The more critical aspect of making the association successful is ensuring viable collaboration. Check the process and tools the provider has in place for client collaboration even before hiring them. Look for one with systems that blend with your operations seamlessly. Since staff augmentation service providers deal with diverse clients, they know what it takes to work remotely with in-house teams. Ask the communication questions before signing a contract for the long haul.
Manage things at your end
Besides checking the provider’s side, you must be ready with someone to manage the relationship full-time from your end. Outsourcing requires oversight, and you cannot leave things to chance. There has to be a responsible person to provide detailed, explicit instructions to your partner, answer their questions, and sign off on things to keep the project on track. Since IT solutions require rework and testing, the project manager must do the needful and communicate with the outsourcing partner. The role of this person is that of a bridge between the in-house team and augmented resources. So you have to choose wisely.
Stay ahead with documentation
Small business owners often go slack with documentation, and it is the worst way to handle your outsourcing relationships. The last thing you should do is proceed without a written contract defining the scope of work, costs, timelines, and schedules. Likewise, you cannot leave your code or product in the hands of an overseas company. You will surely land in a fix if something goes amiss with your product later. You may even lose your code and have a tough time regaining control. Look for a service-level agreement with the partner and define how performance will be measured and monitored. Seek comprehensive documentation and data ownership throughout the project and a smooth closure when the agreement is terminated.
Prioritize data security
Data security is another area small businesses tend to overlook during IT outsourcing. But it should be a priority, considering the growing number of hacking attacks and security breaches. Remember that thefts and attacks may happen despite the best intentions of your partner. But strong cybersecurity practices and measures keep them on top of your security expectations. It is vital to go the extra mile in this context because the loss of client and company data has dire implications. It can hit your reputation and cause damage to customer trust. Your small organization may end up with a hefty penalty and legal nightmare. Look for an IT partner that prioritizes the security of your data and applications as much as you do.
IT outsourcing is essential for small companies that cannot afford to hire and retain a tech team for temporary projects. Luckily, it is easy to find a staff augmentation partner you can rely on for addressing your needs without breaking the bank. Finding a reliable one gives you a great start. But you must do your bit to get the best from the partnership in the long haul. Follow these tips to maximize the value of staff augmentation services for your small enterprise.
About the Author
Darcie Smith works with Outreach Monks as a Senior content writer. She specializes in tech and business niches. Darcie aims to promote business and tech strategies with larger audiences to help them grow. So, she chooses her words wisely so that her audience can easily understand them.