The concept of IT offshore outsourcing is no longer new, but there are some things that remain true in this industry, and those things are worth repeating. To select the right offshore outsourcing services, it is critical to take the time to develop a detailed set of requirements and to ask the prospective service providers specific questions about their services and their service level agreements (SLAs). The following list of factors is, by no means, complete, but it will give you a starting point from which you can work to design your own detailed requirements:
Cost: How does the offshore outsourcing company measure up to the competition in terms of the cost vs. value of services? Are you paying a premium for less experienced team members? Is the pricing model flexible to accommodate long-term and short-term needs and increasing or decreasing needs for resources and services? What type of contracts, licensing, and fee structures and pricing does the vendor offer or require?


Delivery Models: Does the IT partner provide flexible, proven delivery models that include offshore, onsite and hybrid models that can accommodate changing requirements and service needs in the short-term and in the long-term? Can the vendor work as a true extension of your staff as appropriate?

Support: Does the offshore outsourcing partner provide access to support to address your needs now and your needs in the future? Do they offer 24/7 support across all time zones for those who need it, or is their team available only Monday thru Friday from 9:00 to 5:00? Can the vendor provide support for multiple languages?

Communication and Reporting: Can the service provider support your team with chat, email, phone support, face-to-face meetings and periodic reporting to meet management and team member requirements?

Skills, Knowledge and Proven Processes: Does the prospective vendor have the resources to satisfy your current and future needs with cutting-edge, world-class skills, and experience and professionals who add value and can work side-by-side with your team as required? Does the vendor supply resources that are trained in cutting-edge products, platforms and frameworks? Is the offshore outsourcing company certified in ISO 9001:2008, Capability Maturity Model (CMM), and other quality processes?

Resource Assignments: Will the offshore outsourcing company allow you to participate in deciding the types of resources you need, and which resources are appropriate for your project?

Infrastructure and Accessibility: Does the prospective partner have a dependable infrastructure that will ensure seamless accessibility and limit downtime? Is their business located in a country and city with a stable business, legal and political environment that supports the seamless operation of a facility with accessible, dependable utilities and services? Is the locale suitable for continuous operation without extreme weather conditions? Does the location support ease of access to airports and dependable travel options?

Stability: How long has the IT service provider been in business? What kind of case studies and references do they have? Does the vendor have a proven business model and proven processes that they have used in numerous projects and with numerous clients?

Global Experience, and Domain and Industry Expertise: Does the vendor have experience across multiple domains, industries, and markets? Can the IT partner work equally well in large, medium and small business clients? Has the IT vendor worked with clients in multiple countries, and across time zones, cultures and language barriers? Does the service provider have case studies and references to support their claims? Can they provide you with customer satisfaction and ranking statistics that span more than one decade of offshore services? Does the IT vendor have a partner selection and retention program that will adequately support clients in multiple countries by offering complementary services?

Services: Does the IT partner provide a comprehensive list of services to suit your needs today and tomorrow? It is often difficult for a business to anticipate its future needs but, no matter what happens, you need to know that you won’t have to change vendors to be assured that you can meet your needs five or ten years from now.

This article provides you a starting point and some the basic considerations for offshore outsourcing services, so you can begin the requirements planning and Request for Proposal (RFP) process. If a business is diligent in creating its selection criteria and in the interview and selection process, it can establish a fruitful, successful relationship with an offshore outsourcing company, and create a foundation for a long-lasting partnership.