What’s the most effective approach to outsourcing: the partner model, or the direct model?

1.6k views1 Upvote5 Comments

CIO in Software, 501 - 1,000 employees
When I was building out my applications team in India, it took a long time for me to find a leader, but it was such a critical hire.  You need someone with the right level of maturity, who you can communicate with, and feel like you see things the same way. They are going to be on the ground during your night and you have to be able to trust them.

Eventually I found someone good and now, in turn, he can start hiring a team there. A good portion of our company is in India, so I want to take full advantage of the talent out there. I’m thinking about a model in which you have a business analyst who is closer to some of the business folks here in the US, and has a counterpart in India who is more of a techno-functional person. They can work together and either one of them can cover for the other. This is the first time I've ever direct hired. But the more I learn about it, the less it intimidates me. You need to hire ahead of your need, because you need to have some slack in the system.

In the past, I've always worked with a partner and now I really appreciate how much they were doing for me behind the scenes. When you are the person who has to deal with replacing someone who's leaving, it can be very painful. If I had a choice, I would continue doing what I did before, which is call my partner and say, "I need a person." And they would have a bench to choose from. I don't want to oversell the partner model, but I've had good experiences. The key is to be very engaged: I wasn't hands-off and I interviewed everybody who joined the team. If you’re doing it yourself, there's just some extra work that you have to be ready for.
CEO in Services (non-Government), Self-employed
I’ve worked for large multinational organizations all of my career, so I have done this a few times using both models. I worked with partners at first but then I decided to do the hiring myself. I switched to the direct model because although these were talented workforces who spoke perfect English, their understanding of North American vernacular and timing were different. So you need to have a bridge. Once the presence of the CIO is known to the workforce and you get to understand their mentality, they are like gold.

When I worked through partners, I had less than great experiences. There were lots of promises, but they were very lackadaisical on the actual timeline and delivery. And in both scenarios, I added 20% to 35% to my timeline. I would ask whoever was doing the RFP to build-in an extra 20% in time, and an extra 10% in cost, for example. For some parts of the world, I couldn't be as hands-on because of time zones. And you can't work 24 hours a day.
1 Reply
Board Member in Healthcare and Biotech, 1,001 - 5,000 employees

I’ve also had bad experiences with a partner, when we outsourced a certain number to work in India and Ireland. It bombed so badly that we lost millions of dollars in that deal. But that was a learning. Now we make sure we have a checklist for every new project or outsourcing deal, to make sure we don't make the same mistakes.

CTO in Software, 2 - 10 employees
You should think about remote outsourcing division, we operate as a part of you, not a contracted third-party vendor, scaling division tailored to each customer. With a pool of thousand developers in different technologies, our superior capacity can help you scale any team size (within your project plan).
CTO in Education, 11 - 50 employees
1. If it is a project-specific outsourcing, then Partner model suits best. They hit the ground fast and start moving.

2. If the need is long term, then direct would be the way to go. However, in this model, like Karl Mosgofian  explained, first leadership hiring is critical. This is a relatively slow process.

3. The other alternative would be to find a partner to run the show in a Build-Operate-Transfer model.  You get your critical mass of team much faster.

Content you might like

An EA certification17%

Several years of general EA experience72%

Experience with a business similar to yours10%


2k views1 Upvote1 Comment

MBA / Master's Degree73%

CISSP / Comparable Certification26%


6.7k views1 Upvote16 Comments