The success of IT outsourcing is highly dependent on good and clear communication between the involved parties. But how does a development team shape outstanding communication structures? And what are the most important do’s and don’ts when it comes to communicating with your customers? We will show you by giving you 7 valuable recommendations.
1. Set common targets
Setting common goals is an important priority if you want to develop a highly successful partnership. A lack of clarity surrounding company goals or different points of view regarding the pace in which certain applications or new IT developments should be implemented can be very annoying and deconstructive.
To establish a solid partnership, the development team has the obligation to regularly discuss the most important goals of the collaboration with the partner organization. This allows you to evaluate the course that you have embarked on. An open discussion allows collaborative action. This mode of operation also gives you the opportunity to timely adjust certain aspects of your company policy. Outsourcing tends to widen the distance between IT and business. The solution to this potential problem is the formation of a consultative group. This advisory body can realign company wishes and customer desires with specific digital solutions and innovations. It helps to hold regular meetings, where team members share information on what they’re working on – their development successes, challenges and creative solutions.
2. Quality management
Although IT outsourcing is often a great way for companies to realise their most important business goals, you definitely need a good management strategy to get the desired results. Therefore, you should always make crystal-clear agreements about the management of the development process as early as possible.
If you are an external supplier, it is always important to analyse the organizational and directional structures (for example when it comes to service, management and contractual affairs) that your partner firm has in place to guarantee business continuity. Respond accordingly after you have recognized these structures. How do you achieve maximum coordination? And what is the shortest road to success when dealing with a specific organization? These are important questions that should always be asked.
3. Maintain the balance between control and flexibility
At first sight, control and ultimate flexibility appear to be contrasting values. But you still need both of them when it comes to IT outsourcing. An approach that is too rigid can smother the process of development and innovation. Nevertheless, a certain degree of control is needed to make a project succeed, especially when you are dealing with big projects that require a broad scope.
a well-functioning development team knows how to keep the balance between control and flexibility. A company’s overarching objective should be to maximize flexibility and control so that it can pursue different options as it learns more or as its circumstances change. So make maximum use of standard solutions that fit in with the desires and needs of your customers. You can also make selective use of customized options, but make sure that you don’t overplay your hand in this departement. Too much customization can lead to needlessly complicated workflows and time delays in the developmental department.
4. Invest in your relationship with the customer
IT outsourcing is not that different from many other forms of positive and constructive human contact. A pleasant and mutually beneficial partnership is built on trust, transparency and open contact. Use the first meeting to show what your development team has to offer. Be open about your core values and mode of operation. By doing this, your partner immediately knows who you are and what you bring to the table. This also makes it easier to critically evaluate the partnership as time passes.
To retain a high level of cooperation and forge a successful and long-term outsourcing relationship, it is wise to have frequent formal review meetings. Your development team should periodically analyse and evaluate the partnership and services delivered on a strategic (board of the company), tactical (management) and operational level. Always keep in mind that changing dynamics between different parties can lead to shifting desires and alternate core business values or processes. So be sure to continually manage each other’s expectations!
5. Make customers feel important
Small clients often feel unimportant when they outsource their IT services to a large company that treats them like they are just the next one in line. An understandable and totally justifiable reaction. Treating every customer as an equally important one, even if you are running multiple projects at a given time, is therefore worth the effort. Delivering a personal touch adds value to your services, which is profitable in the long run because it often leads to the formation of sustainable and long-term partnerships. Apart from that, placing the client at the centre of your attention also eases the development process. People and organisations tend to flourish when they receive a healthy portion of extra attention and commitment.
6. Devise a clear exit strategy
Even the best marriages don’t always last forever. This is also true in the world of IT outsourcing, where even excellent partnerships are likely to end eventually. Parting ways becomes a lot easier if you devise a clear and transparent exit strategy and draw up a set of conditions in the early stages of your collaboration. Clarity will prevent unpleasant goodbyes and judicial tugs-of-war. Additionally, you still keep open the option of a renewed partnership in the future.
7. Adjust communication methods to the recipient’s preferences
Not every person shares the same communication preferences. Some people are best served receiving an email that clearly outlines all the necessary information. Other employees prefer a phone call or personal talk when you want to inform them about new developments. As a development team, you should acknowledge these differences and fine-tune your means of communication to people’s personal preferences.
Starting with IT outsourcing
Good communication skills are at the heart of many things, including IT outsourcing. Mastering the fine art of communication gives you a head start on the competition and significantly eases the execution of a project. By adopting clarity, transparency and the wishes of your customers as your primary benchmarks, you pave the road towards a successful communication strategy. This strategy will serve as an important building block for a sustainable and fruitful IT outsourcing partnership.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.