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Opting to outsource your web development is simply the first step in what will hopefully be a long and mutually beneficial relationship. The fact of the matter, however, is that you have to actively build a strong relationship with development outsourcing partners, rather than simply sitting back and expecting the relationship to develop.
The first and possibly most important aspect of this process involves choosing the right outsource web design company in the first place. If you choose correctly then the company in question will be as dedicated to fostering an effective company client relationship as you are. The key to this relationship lies in a mutual adherence to an entirely open and transparent working method and a joint commitment to delivering the best possible results.
In simple terms, the web design company you choose should be as determined as you are to deliver the very best for your customers, and if these basic building blocks are in place then you can concentrate on your core business activities while trusting the outsource web design business to deliver the online presence you’re looking for. The following tips should be borne in mind when building strong relations with development outsourcing partners:
The nature of effective web development generally tends to be based on incremental development; ideas are suggested, implemented, analysed, tested and improved, in repeated cycles until the right answers has been arrived at.
Open lines of communication between you and your web outsourcing company are vital if processes of this kind are to move forward effectively. In the majority of cases it will be useful to appoint your own Project Manager to be in charge of handling communications with the outsource company, and the company themselves should have a single point of access for communication, thus ensuring that the message is always clearly transmitted in both directions and no confusion arises as to the steps being taken.
Make use of tools such as Slack, Zoom and Microsoft Teams to ensure that the lines of communication are always open. Even if the chief point of contact for the web outsource company is not available at any given time, somebody should be on hand to answer any questions and deal with any concerns you might have.
It could also prove useful to set down a formal communication policy or plan at the start of a project. As well as relying on open two-way lines of communication, this would involve setting out a framework of tools such as regular review meetings at which the current status of the project should be set out and any relevant questions asked and answered.
When embarking on a project make sure that you establish firmly exactly what services the outsource company is able to provide. Many companies advertise themselves as full-service companies only to reveal, once the project is fully underway, that they actually specialise in only certain services – such as web design and coding – but have much lower levels of expertise in aspects like project management, marketing and on-going support.
If you’re only looking for web design and development then this won’t be a problem, but finding out exactly what the skill set of a company is at a later date could be hugely problematic in terms of a cohesive partnership. You may decide to work with more than one outside vendor in order to access the full range of services that you need, or instead to keep looking for an outsource web design business that can offer all of the services you need.
There are numerous web development companies in all parts of the world, but only a certain percentage that specialise in delivering outsourcing work for other marketing companies. An outsource web development company of this kind will have a wealth of experience when it comes to dealing with issues such as working across time zones, setting up open and transparent lines of communication and dealing with the cultural differences which companies in different parts of the world might bring with them.
A specialist company of this kind will also have an ingrained ability to analyse the ethos, working methods and objectives of every company that comes to them and to deliver results which fit comfortably within all these parameters. When you build a strong relationship with development outsourcing partners then you’re not simply taking on a hired hand to provide a service for you – no matter how expert that hand may be – you’re taking on board genuine partners in every sense of the word. Their experts will become your experts, just as your objectives become their objectives, and a specialist outsourcing company will appreciate this expectation from the first moment you get in touch with them.
Virtually all of the steps outlined above can be boiled down to a single word – trust. When you develop a partnership with an outsource web developer then you’re putting some of the most vital aspects of your business future directly in their hands. An effective online presence is now more important for each and every business than it’s ever been, and you need to be able to trust your partner to deliver everything that you expect of them.
At the same time, the trust needs to run two ways, so that the outsource partner knows that you will give them all of the information they need, will be on hand to answer their questions throughout the development process and will work closely with them to deliver a joint initiative.
Perhaps the best indication of having developed the right levels of trust will take the form of your outsource development partner feeling able to offer the benefit of their experience in business terms, advising as to the wider strategy your company is pursuing as well as helping to shape the digital strategy.
Perhaps the most important aspect of any successful journey involves knowing exactly where it is that you want to be travelling toward. Having decided to work in close partnership with your outsource provider you need to sit down and set out in clear, unambiguous terms exactly what the shared goals of the project you’re embarking on are. By deciding on these goals in unison and setting them down in writing you will not only be creating a solid framework for the rest of the development, you’ll also be providing a reference to point to look back to if any problems or issues arise in the future.
Any risk of drift in the project can be allayed by giving a clear timeline for every key stage of the desired goals – not only what you expect your partner to deliver but exactly when you expect it to be delivered, with dates chosen in partnership with the outsource company. The targets being set should always be clear, unambiguous and easily identifiable, so that the question of arguments over whether they’ve actually been met shouldn’t ever arise.
Security lies at the heart of virtually all online provision, with even some of the biggest companies in the world finding themselves victim to issues such as hacking, data leaks and cyber-crime. Although mutual trust, as outlined above, should be at the centre of your relationship with your outsource web developer, the development of this trust will run much more smoothly if it is based on practical, concrete measures.
One of these measures should take the form of a confidentiality agreement which sets out the type of information which you wish to keep confidential and the consequences if this doesn’t actually happen. A signed agreement of this kind makes it much easier for your company and employees to share information, strategy and forward planning with an outsource developer, comfortable in the knowledge that such commercially sensitive information will remain completely confidential.
No project comes without its own fair share of risks, so it’s vital that you know your outsource partner has strict risk management policies in place. Simply being reassured that risks will be considered and mitigated against isn’t enough, however, as the provider should have a formal risk management policy which they can refer to in the event of any problems arising.
In addition to this, they should be able to detail projects from the past during which problems have arisen and the steps which they took to deal with these problems, as well as the manner in which such steps have now been embedded in wider policy. A company which claims not to have experienced any problems may be trying to impress you but, in reality, they are either showcasing the very small number of projects they must have been involved with or being less than 100% honest.
When you set out to build a strong relationship with development outsourcing partners then you’re actually setting out to make your own business as strong as it can possibly be. The right outsourcing partner will become an integral part of your team, and will increase and improve the service which you, in turn, are able to offer to your own customers. Not only will a partnership of this kind deliver one-off successful project results, it will also cement a long-term relationship which enables you to plan for the future with a degree of certainty around exactly what you’ll be able to deliver.
As outlined above, fundamental principles such as trust and communication lie at the heart of such a relationship, but the building blocks of these fundamentals take the form of numerous smaller but vital practical steps. These include aspects such as a confidentiality agreement and a clear set of defined and mutually agreed goals and, together with making the right choice of partner in the first place, should help to ensure that the web presence you create in partnership is designed and built to take your business to the next level.