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clipboard 280x300Now that the summer projects are (hopefully) coming to a close and regular term classes are back in session, you can review what you and your team were able to accomplish in just two short months. Whether it was standard room maintenance, general room upgrades, building renovations or new construction projects, there’s a lot to be done for a technology manager between May commencement and fall semester. Considering the scope of what had to be accomplished and the incredibly short timeframe in which to get it all done, many AV and IT teams choose to outsource some of the installation work.

Outsourcing temporary labor may help ease the burden of your team, but it doesn’t come without its headaches. In reality, you are increasing the size of your department by not just a little bit. You have more people to work with and more people to supervise. Your existing processes may be overlooked or overridden as a result of THEIR existing processes. Hopefully you have a few (or less) choice vendors you work with who are familiar with your campus, your standards and your guidelines. But technicians come and go and the learning curve may be greater than you anticipated. Here are some tips to help you evaluate outsourced AV and IT labor:

  • Were their goals outlined and understood prior to contract signing?
  • Were your expectations, standards and processes defined prior to and within the contract?
  • Was communication throughout the project consistent, quick and clear?
  • Did they hit their short-term and long-term milestones?
  • Were the employees on campus responsive to your demands and oversight?
  • Did they work well with your team?
  • Was the project finished on schedule?
  • Does the finished product meet your standards?
  • Is the equipment functioning properly?
  • If there is a need for follow-up, are they accessible and attentive?

By reviewing these questions, you will have a good idea if the service provider should be invited back on campus or not. While you may not be the ultimate decision maker in this process, the answers to these questions will give you relevant feedback when having this discussion. Clearly not all bad experiences will be followed up with another bad experience. Hopefully the vendor will want to win you back with some stellar work at affordable rates. But if the answers to any of these questions are consistently unsatisfactory, you may want to move on to more reliable help.

After finishing a project how do you evaluate your service provider? What are some defined situations that result in you “firing” a vendor? How often are your expectations met? Do you never hire service providers for install work due to bad past experiences?

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