Ferrer: It depends on what area you are talking about. If you are talking about the standardized functionalities like e-mail and helpdesk, efficiency should be very high because it's basic. But the problem with that is nobody recognizes it, because it's a given. They only realize you are doing something when something goes wrong. We do measure it but it's not something we brag about, because it's already a given, it should be happening. For getting the efficiency on areas where expertise is need, getting the data from the past and the present will help you measure the present conditions against historical data. One problem with SLAs is the commitment on meeting efficiency. Usually, if they don't meet it, they pay an amount. Although, we all hope that they just meet it, because the amount of money they pay back is only one-tenth of the original cost, which is practically nothing. Efficiency is a major issue, because if they are not efficient, there is actually nothing to gain.
Ferrer: In most cases, people start looking at outsourcing as a solution to specific areas. But the way we do it is having a concerted effort, a real plan to move into outsourcing. That's where it really makes sense, because you get your people prepared for the scenario. We started that almost two years ago, which was when I joined the company. And the first step was to have a three-year plan to take out the development function, and get the developers to start implementing projects. If you actually look at it, it's going to be hard to start outsourcing your development if it's just on a permit basis, because you would still have your people replaced. They will not have anything to do, and so there will be some resistance because that is their job you are sub-contracting. So the first step of outsourcing is to have a concrete plan on what to outsource and what to do with your people. Now, selecting vendors is not as hard anymore, because of e-mail. You just have to send a message to your colleagues, asking them who the expert on a certain area is, and you would actually get replies for that. So, it's not a matter of price anymore, it's experiences with other people. To be able to network with your peers, that's the best way to really select the best vendor, and sometimes, even the best price.
Dela Cruz: Apart from that, another effective way would be to look for examples of their implementations. Basically, you go for a provider that is already known in the industry and has been there for the longest time. But then again, those are not foolproof qualifications. To me, sometimes, it could be gut feel that when I speak with the vendors, you somehow see the technical expertise. If your questions were not answered fully by the big vendor, and then you talk to a smaller provider which answers most of your requirements, then you would most likely go for the latter. It's a balancing act when it comes to selecting providers. There is no correct formula, but to me the bottom line would be the gut feel.
Trinidad: For us, we look at the clients of that particular vendor and see how big they are, and what kind of institutions they are handling. Our company has been in the Philippines for quite some time now, and I think there's no other provider who can provide that kind of service, because most of our