Our experience: IT outsourcing for retail chains

For several years now, our company (a network of retail stores) has been actively using the services of outsourcing companies in the field of IT. In this article I would like to share my experience in working with IT outsourcing with colleagues.

Since 2011, the network of our stores has doubled, many stores have opened in the regions and we began to attract outsourcing for the repair and prevention of computer equipment. Almost all of the schemes described below have been tried on their own experience.


A little classification

Customer companies can be divided according to the geographical principle and size of objects. Customer objects can be large / medium / small, they can be scattered throughout the country or concentrated in one city.

Specifically, in our case, we have large objects in Moscow and St. Petersburg, many small objects in Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as many small objects in Russia (no more than 5 in one city).

Outsourcing companies can also be divided according to the geographical principle and payment scheme. Outsourcers may provide services in only one city / region or be federal. According to payment schemes, there can be a regular subscription, payment only for incidents, or mixed when a limited number of incidents are included in the subscription.

How was it with us

When the facilities across Russia began to open, we began to attract local companies according to the scheme of incidental payment. With the increase in the number of regions, it became more and more difficult to administer this network of local companies, since it was required to conclude a separate agreement with each organization, monitor its relevance, verify mutual settlements, etc.

Next, a contract was concluded with a federal contractor for subscription services. At first it became easier, but the contractor turned out to be very dishonest: we got convenient administration, but almost all the incidents required tight control on our part, it was impossible to contact the manager, or those tasks were incorrectly transferred to the final executors. After some time, we simply called the manager, received on-site contacts from him and spoke directly with the performers. As a result, with a small scandal and mutual claims, the contract was terminated, and we rolled back to the previous scheme.

When the 2014 downsizing wave began, the IT staff was reduced due to the crisis. The issue of administering a developed network of contractors arose again, and as a result, we returned to a single contractor

To date, having tried several other large federal outsourcing companies, they settled on two. An agreement has been concluded with both. In both cases, we pay only for incidents, no monthly fee. One specialist is more qualified and more expensive, we call them to difficult tasks. Another specialist, to put it mildly, is simpler (once explained to a person on the fingers how adsl differs from wifi), but they are cheaper. We attract them to simple work (re-cable, replace the network card, etc.). Basically, when diagnosis is not required and the root of the problem is obvious.

If you have large objects or many small objects in one city, then it is much more advisable to have full-time specialists. Outsourcing is profitable if you have many small objects scattered in different cities.

Only part of the second technical support line was given to us for outsourcing. As shown by the practice of Megaphone - the first line should be your own. If you give the first line to outsourcing, then about 80% of calls will be redirected to the second line due to the high turnover in the call center and the low qualification of the operators. Money will be thrown to the wind.


  • Small local companies - often do not work on weekends or after 18:00. They have the unpleasant property of breaking quietly without informing you of this. As a rule, they insist on a 100% prepayment of any equipment.
  • Federal companies - their services are more expensive, although in fact people from the same local firms often work. There may be delays in the execution of work due to the long coordination of the actions of the branch with the head office.


  • Local companies - their services are cheaper than federal companies, the quality of specialists is usually very high.
  • Federal companies are less prone to ruin, they work late at night and on weekends, they are easier to administer (only one contract, easier with mutual settlements, etc.), they can deliver equipment without waiting for 100% prepayment.

Based on the experience gained over the years, I can confidently say that the most profitable outsourcing option in the regions is direct contracts with local companies. If you have the administrative resource to maintain such a scheme, then you will get highly qualified specialists at very modest prices.

If you don’t have administrative resources, don’t listen to anyone’s promises that they will save you all IT problems from a subscription.

Only accept payment upon delivery. There were breakdowns - we pay. Nothing broke - do not pay. We requested prevention - we pay. Do not ask for prophylaxis - do not pay.

Otherwise, you will try to achieve prompt execution of applications for your money and listen to all sorts of manager's excuses.

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