Debashish Sinha and Rita Terdiman say we’ve come to the end of the days when service provider evaluations lasted for months. As they explain in Global Services’ article, “Overspending on Offshore Vendor Evaluations,” the period in outsourcing history when client organizations put together an RFI and sent it to a lengthy roster of potential vendors, then did onsite visits, followed by an RFP and oral presentations by a select few (in which the outsourcing team filled out an evaluation matrix for each contender) are no longer needed.
This may have been essential at a time when few companies knew few service providers; but now there’s a wealth of data about service providers available online, at conferences and through peer organizations. You can pretty quickly eliminate the companies you don’t want to work with.
The authors espouse a four-step evaluation process for service providers, a fast-track approach:
1) An internal assessment of the service requirement; 2) a short list of suppliers acquired from expert resources; 3) development of an RFP document and contract (which clearly lay out the service requirements, and other key terms and conditions necessary for approval) — sent out together to each vendor; 4) followed by a discussion of the solution, preferably conducted in person, at the vendor location, with a cross-functional team present from the enterprise.
Plan to apply the money and time you save by going with this approach on managing the whole outsourcing effort.