If you are considering outsourcing your Web content management (WCM) system, you have probably come to the conclusion that your business’s system does not have the capability to take on the content management task alone. It needs help. Or you may require professional expertise to assist with a mission-critical deployment.

There are competent providers that can fill your needs. However, you need to consider a number of issues as you research and select your outsourcing partner.

An important consideration is security. When researching companies, find out how they prevent security problems from plaguing a WCM system. How do they avoid problems when someone logs into the system? How do they protect the system from attacks? Do they analyze the system regularly to identify possible problems and then do what is necessary to fix them?  Make certain that you can influence how the outsourcing company secures your system. You’ll also want to determine who would be the main point of contact if something were to go wrong. The last thing you want to do during an issue is deal with multiple people or vendors.

You will also need a good understanding of how the outsourcing enterprise manages, changes, and controls your WCM environment.  Never forget that the ultimate responsibility for any type of change is yours. So be certain that the outsourcing company complies with some type of control policy standards.

Consider This

Because you will be entrusting an outside company with the support, management, and maintenance of your system, you need to be certain that it has the capability to provide you with what you need at an affordable price. Therefore, when researching, interviewing, and selecting your outsourcing partner, keep these concerns in mind:

Price. Don’t select a company based strictly on who offers the lowest price. Determine what each provides and then compare.

Area of focus or expertise. I cannot emphasize this enough. We have become a specialized society. So, it should not be surprising that companies that provide Web hosting services specialize in particular things. When researching companies, investigate their specialties and select the one that fits you best. Make certain that they understand your needs and specialize in your area as opposed to focusing on “everything under the sun.”

Tech specs and limitations. Before starting your search, perform a concise analysis of your site, decide what you want it to do, and then discuss it with potential partners so you know that they can supply what you need.

Tech support. If you experience problems, can the outsourcing company provide you with the tech support you need when you need it? Make certain that there are several ways to contact it for help and that help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. During your research, investigate the company’s reputation for customer support. Check whether it will be the main source for resolution.

Features and add-ons. Successful outsourcers usually offer something special that other outsourcing companies do not. What do they offer that sweetens the deal for you—multiple data centers, energy-saving practices, data backup, free domain privacy? Select a company that offers more than servers.

Hardware. What kind of hardware does the outsourcing company use? Are they state-of-the-art machines or are they an assortment of old, outdated ones?

Customer reviews and company reputation. Find out what the company’s customers are saying about it. You can do this by performing a Google Blog search for a particular company or by contacting an analyst or research firm.

Room to grow. Finally, select a host that can grow with you. You should not only be concerned with the present, but you also need to be certain that the host can continue to meet your needs in the future.

It is up to you and your company to do due diligence when selecting an outsourcing company for your WCM system. You are trusting it to protect key information about your company as well as to perform proper maintenance to keep everything up and running.  Take your time and cover each of the points I’ve discussed and you will find a good, long-term partner that will help to ensure that your business remains on the road to success.