Yes, it’s the beginning of 2018 and they are all out. Global Outsourcing 100 this, Clutch.co that, Deloitte Fast Companies, and so many more.
These rankings are a bit like the Billboard charts for music: you may well find in there songs that you cannot stand, as well as pretty good tracks, worth listening to; on the other note, there are so many songs you love, but never see high on the charts.
The ugly part is that a bad song will eventually end after the 3’30’’, whereas a poor outsourcing provider will stick with you for as long as they can – and you will lose time and money in the process.
So what are the criteria the judges use for these awards?
Most often, it is a mix of previous certifications, size and growth, revenues, service segmentation and customer references.
It might be for market circumstances that a provider’s best and most innovative service (say Blockchain) has not yet had the time to count for much in the overall company revenue scheme – the bigger the company, the heavier the inertia of their previous service offering. This means that said provider will not make it onto any ranking of Blockchain nearshore (outsourcing) providers until next year(s), when another service line will be hot.
For customer references, any company still alive today has at least several accounts where it derives money from, for day-to-day operations. Personal (or contractual) relationships will ensure a nice reference e-mail or 5 minutes of good word-of-mouth over the phone. I have personally seen contracts where bad-mouthing the provider was a breach.
Previous certifications draw on the same mix of: number of full-time employees (FTEs) – of which some hold certain certifications, revenues derived from certain services and a possible (and hopeful) audit.
Should I use these rankings, or not?
Yes, you should definitely look into ranked providers on these tops, but do so with an open mind. Just because they are there does not mean they are outstanding, and just because they are not there does not mean they cannot help your organisation. Ask about the latest ended engagement, why it happened, and who you could talk about with in that company.