A few days back I posted a blog on “The Decision of Whether to Develop or Outsource eLearning”. Now, if you have decided to go with the outsourcing, I’d like to touch upon 5 key criteria you should consider when selecting an eLearning outsourcing vendor partner.
The 5 key criterion are:
3. Track Record
4. PM and Processes
Pedigree: Make sure that your vendor-partner is training and learning company with proven expertise in Learning Design and in-house Instructional Designers. Also ensure that while being able to provide learner-centric solutions, the vendor also can keep the overall business goals of your organization in mind. You need a vendor who has teams that can align their skill sets despite being from widely diverse functions. The more knowledgeable / specialized the team is, the more productive the project. Ask for the profiles and experience of the team that will be working on your project.
Clientele: When selecting an outsourcing vendor-partner, ensure that the vendor has considerable experience working with Fortune clients and is comfortable working with global audiences. You need someone who has a proven track record in handling projects successfully within your cultural context. Check how comfortable the vendor is working across time-zones and languages. This will help address your concerns around cultural differences and cross-cultural communication.
Track Record: Look for a provider with a proven track record of success. Conduct a reference check and ask for samples before you take any decisions. For those of you who have concerns around confidentiality – I think the fact that sensitive industries such as banking, the US army etc. have been outsourcing critical operations involving highly confidential data speaks for itself. Check out your potential vendors’ references and ensure you select a vendor-partner that you can trust.
Project Management and Processes: Get a thorough understanding of the vendor’s project management expertise and production processes before you make any commitment. Use those service providers with streamlined production processes and strong project management. This will also address your concern of managing a remote vendor. You need to be more than satisfied that the outsourcing partner has a robust project management methodology and process in place. This helps in avoiding unnecessary delays and rework, which in turns affects implementation costs, and time-to-market. Having vendors with dedicated project managers also helps you get what you want and on time. It is also important to make sure that the vendor has formal review and quality control processes in place.
Cost: The biggest consideration, cost! Other things being equal such as skills, quality, and turnaround time, I’m sure you’d agree that cost is the bottom-line deciding factor for developing eLearning in-house or outsourcing it. Outsource to reliable and competent vendor-partners to cut down on development costs.
Thus, for successful e-learning development and deliver, these are a few of the essential factors you need to focus.