When you announce that you’re turning to an outsourcing company, your IT team might be understandably concerned. They’re probably wondering what this means for them. Are they being replaced? Will people be laid off? Even if the worst-case scenarios don’t come to pass, will they have to deal with an outside company stepping on their toes?
IT outsourcing companies can be a godsend, helping you work through a complex project or dealing with the work overflow. But this arrangement shouldn’t come at the expense of your in-house IT team. In order to maximize the potential of your working relationship with your outsourcing team, you must ensure that they are compatible with your in-house team.
Have a Clear Picture of Your Workflow
Before you discuss more detailed plans with your IT provider and your in-house team, map out the workflow, determining who will do what. This will allow you to better “sell” the plan to your employees. You might even draw an actual picture of how you expect the relationship and workflow to go to enable everyone to realistically visualize the plans and assignments.
Use specific examples to illustrate the evolution of specific projects and how they will be completed by the IT outsourcing team and your in-house team working together in harmony.
Define the Scope of the Project
Before you engage an outside team, you must first determine how involved the project will be. This will allow you to hammer out the details of how to bring both your in-house IT department and the third-party provider into the work. It will also allow you to get the resources you need in order.
Your employees can be a part of this process, too — it’s part of ensuring that they’re closely involved, even if they’re not working on the project exclusively.
Look for Specializations You Don’t Have In-House
Of course, one of the main purposes of outsourcing is to leverage talent you don’t have within your company. Once you find these specializations out-of-house, you can combine them with the skills you have within your own company to fill in all the gaps and create quality work.
Because an experienced outsourcing partner will have worked with many different organizations, they will also be able to integrate with your staff seamlessly, blending the skill sets toward a common goal.
By the same token, take stock of the specialties you already have within your own team and make sure they are being used well as a complement to the outsourced team.
Communicate With Your Staff and Outsourced Team
Your staff may be anxious about this arrangement, and that’s only natural. Be sure to communicate with them every step of the way. From the very beginning, explain why you’re outsourcing and what that will look like for the team. Listen to their questions and respond as best you can. Describe the process and the part they’ll play in it. Update them regularly. You should listen to their fears and any opposing perspectives but assuage them.
Similarly, have a communication strategy when it comes to your IT provider, too. Make sure they are communicating often in a planned, strategic way with your own team so everyone is kept in the loop.
Designate Roles and Point People
Roles, as they pertain to your project, should be clearly defined. You should also designate point people — specific individuals the outsourcing team should contact for different issues that arise. This will help streamline matters and reduce confusion for both the external team and your in-house employees — everyone will know where to go with questions, feedback, concerns, and updates.
Leverage Project-Management Tools
In order to keep everything straight, including roles and workflow, use a project management tool that both your employees and IT provider can access. There, you can assign different tasks and due dates, visualize progress and see the big picture of how everything’s coming together. Many of these tools are fairly simple to use, but it’s a good idea to give employees a rundown before you implement it to make sure everyone is comfortable with it.
Remember Why You’re Outsourcing in the First Place
At the end of the day, you need to keep a clear head about why you’ve decided to outsource. What was the reason? That’s your priority, the thing that should take precedence over other matters. If your employees are uncomfortable with any aspects of the arrangement, remind them about why this is important to the business and them, as part of the business. This will help everyone focus on why this matters.
Outsourcing IT is an enormously beneficial strategy, but it will only work if you successfully integrate your provider with your in-house team. You must ensure that everyone involved understands their role and purpose in the project. These tips can help you navigate the waters of making both parties feel comfortable about the work and how it correlates with your overall business strategy.