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Importance of references when outsourcing


Siddharth Sethi

February 08, 2009

There are numerous situations when clients who have outsourced to some folks in India, come back to us with a bad story to tell. These clients are often lured by the EXTREMELY low cost deal that some of these people offer. At the end of the engagement, they are often forced to cut their losses and start from scratch.

Why does this happen?

When outsourcing to a very small company or individual, one needs to understand that they might not carry the experience, expertise and redundancy that a relatively larger organization carries. Experience and expertise is something that all of us understand. However redundancy – the ability to replace a person when needed, the ability to make the organization process driven as opposed to person driven is something that can come only by experience. The eagerness to take care of one’s reputation is also important. Individuals might be not as driven to protect their reputation as an organization. Specially an organization that has presence in the US.

One option is to go to larger brand name organizations. But that is not a great solution for many situations. First off, you might not even get their attention. They are only interested in the multi million dollar deals. Even if they do work for a smaller project, they are not going to give you any ongoing attention. Such smaller projects become training grounds or fillers for their employees.

To make sure that you are outsourcing to the right individual or organization, background and reference checks come in extremely handy. Make sure that the people whom you are working with know what they are doing. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, but it might be too late after you have started actually digging into the pie.

I strongly recommend that one should talk to at least 2-3 references before deciding on whether to outsource to a certain organization. Ask about the responsiveness of the organization to problem situations. Do they just ignore your request or are they available to stand by you when you need them the most? What will happen if the person working on your project goes on a vacation? What will happen if the person leaves? Do they have some sort of procedure in place to maintain continuity? Will the resources assigned be working on just your project or multiple projects?

These and other such questions will help you make the right decision. Do not allow cost alone to dictate whom you outsource to. A few dollars here and there will not be detrimental if you have peace of mind and know that your project is being the highest priority.

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