1. Establish and implement standards
2. Consult on technology usage
3. Design a system to support business initiatives
4. Procure equipment to support the design
5. Implement a new infrastructure
Establish the base
During this period, standards will be put in place. Things like disparate operating system versions (e.g. Windows98, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista) will be whittled down to one easily maintainable version. Multiple versions of office productivity software (word processors, spreadsheets, email readers, etc.) will likewise be pared down to a common application set. Security measures such as firewalls, anti-virus, and anti-spam software will be configured, tested and installed.
Monitoring software will be installed to watch the critical components of the hardware and software. Alert levels will be established to determine if something is going awry, it can be fixed before it causes a failure. Computers that are unable to run the chosen operating system and applications will be replaced.
A new helpdesk system for reporting problems will be established and employees will be trained on how to use that system. This system will enable your service provider to begin to build up a knowledge base of the kinds of problems that occur most often. With that information, the vendors technical personnel will be able to identify the root causes of those recurring problems and fix them. That will lead to a more stable working environment for all employees and allow them to be more productive.
While the base infrastructure is being revamped to stabilize it, you should expect to spend a significant amount of time with your service provider partner determining what exactly you want your technology to deliver. This will allow them to design a future infrastructure that will support the initiatives that are a part of your business strategy.
It also provides you with a view of which initiatives are easy to implement, which are dependent on other applications or hardware and which are going to require significant investment.
During this stage of the outsourcing cycle, you will be presented with multiple options for implementing any particular business initiative. Your service provider will be able to explain the pros and cons of each of these options so you can make a rational decision on which would best meet your business goals.
Design and Procure
Once you have decided which initiatives are most important to your business. Your service provider in conjunction with your internal staff will set about building the detail design for the systems that will be needed to implement those initiatives.
It is critical that your internal staff be a part of the design team. Only your staff knows in detail what kind of work needs to be accomplished to successfully implement any new business initiative.
During this stage the service provider can be of great assistance in recommending technology solutions, but they cant know your business as well as you do, so dont expect them to design a system that will work just right for you if you dont give them guidance. Your partner will probably be able to procure the right equipment and services more cost-effectively that you can, so let them do that, but negotiate a budget with them and expect them to meet it.