Leslie Wilcocks, Sara Cullen and Mary Lacity have written an excellent report titled, "The CEO guide to selecting effective suppliers," which provides great advice for how to approach the selection of a service provider for work to be outsourced. You can download it here.
LogicaCMG sponsored the 28-page paper, which makes two points that really stand out.
1. Get your CEO involved. That person, write the authors, is "responsible for shaping the four pillars of strategy, process, relationships and people… Organisationally and strategically, the CEO is the ultimate pivot of bargaining power and must be involved in forming and utilising this power."
2. Don’t focus on strictly on supplier resources (such as the people making up its workforce). In spite of the fact that "these are highly visible on site tours, balance sheets and resumes," what really matters is the vendor’s ability to turn those resources into capabilities.
Good read. Plenty of practical advice. A couple of interesting case studies.