Outsourcing Associations

Finding outsourcing vendors is not a trivial task sometimes because it’s just too many to chose from, sometimes because you just cannot find any that fit a particular criteria.  Over the years I found that generating a list of prospective vendors can often be done with a help of organization that unite offshore vendors in some manner.  As it turned out it’s not easy to find these organizations is not to easy as well, so I started a list that should be of help. So far the list is not to big and I was only able to find 20 some organizations, I hope that with your help the list will grow fast.

The list below includes top 5 associations based on Alexa Global rating.  Click here for the full list sorted by Name, here for the list sorted by Alexa Global, and here for the list sorted by Alexa US.   If you know of a site, directory or service with is worth including please comment on the page and I include in the list, feel free also email me at krym2000-po @ yahoo . com as well.

Name PR Alexa Global Alexa US Description
The International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP)
5 313,474 168,529 The International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) is the global, standard-setting organization and advocate for the outsourcing profession. They claim to be the leading professional association for organizations and individuals involved in changing the world of business through outsourcing, offshoring, and shared services with a global community of more than 110,000 members and affiliates worldwide.
The Outsourcing Institute (IO)
5 423,525 246,289 Founded in 1993, the Outsourcing Institute (OI) claims to be the world’s biggest and most trafficked neutral professional association dedicated exclusively to outsourcing with a network of more than 70,000 professionals worldwide including qualified outsourcing buyers. Their specialties include: outsourcing, sourcing, thought leadership, state of the industry, marketing, promotions, RFP, vendor selection, relationship management and governance.
National Outsourcing Association (NOA)
5 893,216 27,276 Founded in 1987, the National Outsourcing Association (NOA) is the UK’s only nonprofit outsourcing trade association and claims to be the centre of excellence in outsourcing. Their services are focused on delivering education, excellence and collaboration and they are involved in all areas of outsourcing, including ITO, BPO and KPO.
Russian Software Developers Association (RUSSOFT)
5 902,435 55,451 Established in 1999, RUSSOFT Association is a nationwide association of the technically competent software developing companies from Russia and Belarus. It aims to represent Russian software development companies on the global market, to develop marketing and PR activities of its members, and to promote their interests in their countries’ governments.
Sourcing Interests Group (SIG)
4 1,010,363 271,503 Sourcing Interests Group (SIG) is a membership-driven organization comprised of sourcing and outsourcing professionals. They claim be acknowledged by many as a world leader in providing an ongoing forum and services to assist companies in strategy development, the improvement of goods and services sourcing, and the implementation and management of corporate services through outsourcing, offshoring, insourcing and shared services.

Top ten mistakes in selecting an outsourcing firm

A few days ago James McGovern, an Enterprise Architect from HP, asked a question on LinkedIn What are the top ten mistakes a CIO makes in selecting an outsourcing fir? Needless to say that this is not a new question and many people have answered it over the last decade (see for example “Outsourcing: 10 Crippling Mistakes IT Departments Make.” yet it set off a discussion with more than 30 people pitching in. There is no surprise here, outsourcing remains an integral part of most IT organization and many mistakes are made in every step and in every aspect of its utilization.

The thought of joining the discussion on LinkedIn naturally crossed my mind, but I realized that my contribution would be better if I put together a summary / highlight some of the most significant points brought in by others (and maybe add a few of my own) and do it here, in my blog, where this discussion naturally belongs. Also I noticed that many answers on LinkedIn went far beyond selecting the vendor and concentrated on mistakes people make when executing the contract /engagement. Great info, just not relevant to the question. Anyway, here is my list of top mistakes I’ve seen CIOs and other technology executives make when selecting an outsourcing vendor –

1) Outsourcing for the sake of outsourcing. The most significant mistake is using outsourcing to solve problems that could be addressed with other often more effective tools and measures. Outsourcing is a powerful tool, but it has its place and its drawbacks. Used without appropriate knowledge it can misfire and create a lot of collateral damage. Before you even consider selecting vendors you need to define goals and objectives you are trying to accomplish by outsourcing and only then turn to selecting companies that can support your objectives.

2) Ignoring basic rules. I covered these rules in an old post, take a look, and remember ignoring these rules is akin to ignoring gravity ;)

3) Inadequate process. Vendor selection can be a complex multi-step process or just a short project posting on a freelancing marketplace. Appropriate process must fit the task at hand, organizational culture, and available funds. Needless to say winging it or building a rocket launcher to kill a woodpecker will get you nowhere. Part of the process is defining selection criteria, see some ideas in this post.

4) Wrong focus. It’s all too often organizations take a myopic view on outsourcing and focus solely on the cost saving it can provide. Big mistake. First, outsourcing doesn’t guarantee savings, more so, it takes money to save money so chances are you will need to increase your burn rate before you can decrease it. In vendor selection excessive focus on $$$ is likely to drive you towards wrong vendor, proverbial “you get what you’ve paid for”.

5) Lack of commitment. Organizational commitment, executive sponsorship, team buy-in are key components of any initiative. Lack of commitment to selected vendor, or insufficient buy-in by stakeholders is a disaster waiting to happen. The worst case of lack of commitment is a “hands-off vendor selection” where is the team / person in charge of selection is merely involved in the process (see this for the difference between “involved” and “committed” :))

6) Technical (skills / experience / background) mismatch. The best cook on the planet is not necessarily the best pilot. Same goes for vendors – some companies are great for ERP implementations, some for iPhone development. So, back to the first point – match vendor technical capabilities to the task (objectives) at hand, and don’t expect one-fit-all providers to be the best (or any good) at the same time. And if you have complex initiative, consider multisourcing, supposedly not putting all eggs in one basket has its benefits

7) Personality mismatch. In the key to success of personal relationships is often a personality match. Same goes for vendor selection. This topic is complex and a voodoo of sorts, never the less it’s extremely important. In my book (due for publishing sometime late this year) I plan to cover this topic in more details. Fill out this form if interested, I will be happy to let you know when the book is ready.

8) Master / servant mindset. Selecting a vendor is selecting a partner, not a disposable pen. Whether it’s abusive RFP process or ruthless negotiations treating vendors poorly is likely to setup the relation for failure in the long run.

9) Lack of transparency. Many organizations hide their intentions from vendor, often to gain an upper hand in negotiations. Funny enough, this approach is unlikely to provide any advantages in the negotiations and instead is likely to mislead vendors and/or the vendor selection team. The more clarity is given to prospective vendors the higher the chances of find that illusive Mr. Right.

10) And last but not least, not talking with me. Just Kidding, at least partially. The point I decided to save for last is simple – read up, learn about vendor selection process, reach out to friends who’s done it, hire outsourcing advisor. Jumping into vendor selection process without appropriate knowledge / experience / background is the biggest mistake of it all.