How to Evaluate an Indian Outsourcing Firm
You are convinced that outsourcing a few of your business functions to India can help your organization cut down on cost, get access to skilled resources and save on time to market. But now you are faced with the challenge of hiring an Indian company to outsource your services to. The key to finding the right Indian service provider lies in thoroughly evaluating prospective Indian vendors before finalizing on one Indian outsourcing firm.
It is important that you do not choose an Indian outsourcing firm solely on a few impressive brochures, sales presentations or the company web site. Before you finalize on an Indian outsourcing firm, visit the service provider's premises to understand and evaluate the Indian company better.
Using SEI/CMM levels to judge a company in India is a good metric to evaluate a company, but it is not the only one. So what are the parameters that you should use to evaluate an Indian company? Here is a list of key evaluation parameters that you can use to evaluate a prospective Indian vendor.
Key evaluation parameters
Evaluating an Indian outsourcing firm against key evaluation parameters can give you a better understanding about a service provider's credibility, experience, quality standards, processes, areas of expertise and organizational structure. These fundamental questions can help you judge if a prospective service provider will suit your company's needs. The following are the list of areas that need to be evaluated while searching for the right outsourcing company:
- The SLA (Service Level Agreement)
- The credibility of the company's management staff
- The recent accomplishments of the company
- The collective experience and skills of the company's employees
- A list of the top 10 customers of the company and feedback from these customers
- The quality process followed
- The organizational structure for escalations
- The work culture and work ethics followed by the company
- The company's domain and technical expertise
Questions that your RFP should contain
Once you have evaluated prospective Indian outsourcing firms and narrowed down on a list of Indian service providers that you would like to partner with, you have to prepare and send them a Request for Proposal (RFP) with a list of questions. Also ask these Indian vendors to send you brochures, sales presentations or solution offerings of their companies.
Based on the Indian service provider's replies to these questions, you can objectively compare potential outsourcing companies. The following are some questions that you can include in your Request for Proposal. You may want to add questions based on your type of industry or specific outsourcing needs.
- What are some of the key processes / methods used by your company?
- Provide information about the background of your company.
- Why should my company select your business firm for outsourcing our services?
- Is your company SEI/CMM certified? If not, what is the collective experience of your employees?
- What are your company's key differentiators?
- Provide information about your delivery models, process models and project management methodologies.
- How does your company's approach to outsourcing differ from other outsourcing vendors?
- Provide information about the organizational structure followed, the varied escalation levels and the ownership for key deliverables.
- How do you ensure that deadlines are maintained?
- Will you provide support during the execution of the project and even after the completion of the project? If yes, for how long will support be provided?
- Do you offer a guarantee or warranty for your services?
- Provide information about the credentials, experience and skills of the personnel who will be involved in the project.
Questions you need to ask yourself before outsourcing
After reviewing the Request for Proposals from prospective vendors and deciding on the Indian outsourcing firm that you want to partner with, take a moment to ask yourself the following questions before you start the outsourcing process:
- Are you convinced about the Indian outsourcing firm's capabilities?
- Do you feel comfortable about communicating, coordinating and working with the company?
- Are you management staff and other employees happy with the chosen Indian service provider?
- Were the answers given by the prospective Indian vendor in line with their sales presentations, brochures and web site?
Start the outsourcing relationship only when you are fully convinced about the Indian vendor. You can pay a visit to the vendor's premises to understand their way of working and check their levels of security. You could also meet the project manager and employees who would work on your project.
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