8 Considerations for Evaluating Outsourced IT Providers
Whether launching a new fund or enhancing the operational efficiency of an existing firm, choosing an external provider to which to outsource your IT needs is an important decision that should be made only after careful consideration of all options. To help with the evaluation process, we have compiled a list of eight factors to keep in mind when selecting which outsourced technology provider is a best fit for your organization.
1. Breadth of Solutions
Does the IT provider offer all of the solutions and services necessary to encompass all aspects of the technology foundation required to help your firm operate effectively and efficiently? These can vary depending on your firm’s specific business requirements, but may include such solutions as public and privae cloud, managed voice solutions, disaster recovery, backup & recovery services, email & IM archiving, application development, consulting and project management.
2. Depth & Quality of Staff
When selecting an outsourced IT provider, it is crucial to understand who you will potentially be working with. Is the organization led by a seasoned, reputable management team? Do they employ a skilled technical staff of engineers and analysts to assist with all stages of your infrastructure build-out and maintenance? What pertinent technical certifications do they hold?
In addition to ensuring that the provider has a top quality team, it is also important to note the depth of that staff. In other words, do they have a team of engineers and analysts that is large enough to ensure that someone will be available to assist you 24x7x365 if necessary?
3. Experience in Deployment
Does the service provider have deep experience in deploying these types of solutions and services in an investment management environment? Do they have experience working with funds of all sizes, from small start-ups to large, well-established firms? There are numerous outsourced IT providers out there, but be sure to select one that is experienced in deploying systems that are specific to your industry and has a solid understanding of your business environment.
4. Project Management Experience
Will your firm receive the benefits of a dedicated project manager and accompanying staff to ensure that your initiatives are coordinated, designed, and implemented to your exact unique requirements? For instance, if you choose to relocate offices, does the provider have the expertise and experience to facilitate this process?
5. Public & Private Cloud Infrastructure Options
Cloud is the preferred IT delivery model but not all solution providers are the same. Look for a provider that offers a robust, scalable and secure cloud infrastructure model - ensure that the managed cloud services includes layers of advanced security protections. Also, ensure that the service is managed and monitored by a team of highly trained and certified professionals with experience in financial services operations.
6. Disaster Recovery Policies & Procedures
Does the provider maintain contingency plans or disaster recovery plans with proper risk controls designed to allow continued performance and availability at all times? How will the provider ensure that your data is secure, protected, and accessible even in the event of a disaster?
7. Vendor Relationships
Does the organization have strong vendor relationships in place that will allow them to leverage the benefits of best-in-class third party providers on your behalf? Strategic partnerships with top-tier technology companies are crucial to maintaining a world-class IT environment for your firm.
8. Geographic Reach
Does the provider have offices dispersed in different areas of the country and around the world? Do they employ staff in different time zones to ensure that assistance is available to you 24x7x365? If your firm has multiple offices, or is considering opening more in the future, ensure that you will be able to use that provider to service all regions, thereby streamlining costs and increasing efficiency.