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4 Tips on How to Select a Quality Outsourced Vendor

By: Lori Crooks, Managing Consultant at A-LIGN

As the popularity of outsourcing parts of information technology functions continue to grow, one common concern still remains: How do you know that you are partnering with a quality vendor?

Below are a few tips that we have learned from our experience, in auditing third party companies, that you should consider to ensure you select a quality outsourced vendor.

1. Check the quality of service and availability.

As part of the RFP process, you should consider asking for metrics to ensure that the vendor meets your expectations. Metrics are a good indicator of the quality of their service and availability. The metrics will depend on the type of service that you are outsourcing. For example, if you are looking for a hosting provider, you would want to look at their uptime.

2.  See if the vendor has an independent review of security and services.

An independent review should provide an unbiased view of the vendor’s security and services. Also, you will want to make sure that the independent review covers the service that you need. For example, ask for a SOC 2 if you are searching for a hosting provider, but if you were looking for a payment card processor, you would want to ensure that they are compliant with PCI DSS.

3. Ask for testimonials from current clients.

Another way to evaluate the service and quality of a vendor is to see what their current clients are saying. During the RFP process, ask for references of current and past clients, and then follow-up with those references.  Be sure to ask specific questions such as, “Did they meet the established SLA?” and “Is their responsiveness timely, why or why not?” Talking to other clients will give you a clearer picture on the services offered.

4. Find out about their customer support.

Lastly, it is important to find out during the RFP process when they are available. Are they going to be available all hours for you or just at certain times of the day? Then you will need to determine which option meets your needs. You don’t want to choose a vendor that you need 24x7 support from only to find out that their customer support only works 9-5.

Once you have a handful of vendors to select from, give each of these criteria, and any other criteria that you may choose, a value. In the end, you will be able to calculate the values to see which vendor has the highest score. There won’t always be a clear winner, but this process will help provide guidance for selecting the appropriate vendor. For example, say you decide to give each vendor a value of 1-5, with 5 being the best. See the example matrix below:

 

Vendor A

Vendor B

Vendor C

Evaluated Quality

4

3

2

Independent Review (1 – no, 5 – yes)

1

5

5

Testimonials

5

4

3

Customer Support

5

4

5

Other Criteria

4

4

2

Total

19

20

17

 

Choosing a quality vendor can seem like a daunting task, but when you break it down in to pieces such as these, it makes it a little easier. It’s important to do the work of evaluating their services since you will be outsourcing part of your business to them. You want to make sure that you have partner that you can trust. Hopefully these tips are helpful to you during your vendor selection process.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact one of our professionals at 888-702-5446 or via email at info@a-lign.com.

 

 

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