Should I assess the technical knowledge of my vendors?

Should I assess the technical knowledge of my vendors?

Jobs in the field of technologies have become extremely demanded in the labor market. These capabilities have become a fundamental source for any organization that has ambitions of winning in this digital area. According to a study by Computer World, jobs in the IT area will grow by up to 22% by 2020. This means that getting good technology specialists will be challenging because of the competition of companies over the available talents in the market. With this circumstance, it is essential to have a good number of tools at hand in order to successfully select candidates that have the appropriate knowledge to perform the job requirements we are hiring for.

What is currently happening to vendors? According to the IDC Latin America IT Services Tracker study, IT outsourcing has an annual growth rate of 9.3% worldwide. Any organization would have an important part of it that uses the services of one or more technology providers to some extent. There are different reasons for this. Some organizations look into vendors for the possibility of extending their technological capabilities flexibly. Some would consider it as a potential source of cost savings. Others, on the other hand, would rely on the technical capabilities of vendors to incorporate additional services into their organization that is specialized in technology and difficult to acquire.

Whatever the reason is, all of these organizations place an important part of the success of their technological strategies in the hands of these vendors. It is for this reason that having vendors with the right capabilities have the same level of relevance that the hiring process of a new professional. I explain the reasons here:

  1. Many companies move the problem of dealing with the hiring of professionals to vendors, seeking flexibility. The problem remains the same since every provider expects that the cost of each professional is always funded. For this reason, they maintain minimal teams and go out to hire whenever a client demands greater capacity. Even, there are organizations that have completed outsourced projects based on very narrow time commitments (3-4 months) and where this effect is strongly manifested. Given the above, it is very common that the team given by the provider is composed of a mix of experience levels and would also have a significant percentage of professionals who just recently joined the provider’s company. As a consequence, some of these professionals may not really have the level that we expect.
  2. If the reason for outsourcing a service is for cost savings, it is important to bear in mind that if someone focuses too much in this direction, it is highly probable that the provider’s service will be executed by a team with low levels of knowledge and experience. It is rare to find knowledge, experience and low costs in the same place which means in medium or long term, cheap can end up being expensive if the speed and quality to execute a technological strategy is important to the success of a company.
  3. Finally, if what we are looking for is to provide non-existent technological capabilities (upskilling), it is essential to take into account that it is very likely that our organization will not have the ability to evaluate whether or not our vendor provides a professional with actual skills and knowledge for our job requirements. For example, If I am looking for a team of Angular Front-end Programmers and my organization is used to developing in Java or PHP, I will have difficulty in knowing if the professional endorsed by the provider has the knowledge to develop that kind of technology.

Therefore, just as how important it is to have hiring tools that allow us to evaluate the technical knowledge of the candidate that we plan to hire into our organization, it is equally important to apply the same hiring tools to test our providers as part of our technological strategy. We invite you to make an exercise and evaluate the costs on a critical project if we have to replace any outsourced technical specialist regardless of the reasons stated above. These costs could be relevants and involves tasks like: going out to look for another professional, onboarding of this person to the team's dynamics into your company  and transferring business knowledge.

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