First, ask 'why are you doing this?'

For many chief executives, outsourcing IT functions is seen as a way of cutting costs during tougher economic times. But the decision on what to outsource has to fit into a broader corporate strategy, based on what is crucial to the success of the business and what is routine. The Financial Times interviews some key decision-makers on their views, including Jo Standford, Group IT Director at the De Vere Group.

Vendors can offer a fantastic price, but you need to drill down to the after-sales care that they provide and get references from other customers. This is a connection that requires more than the traditional supplier relationship. De Vere's web-based booking system is hosted by Claranet, a provider of managed IT services. Jo Stanford, Group IT Director, De Vere Group