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.