Outsourcing has the potential to reduce costs or improve performance, but actually achieving those benefits is another matter. Picking the right partner is no easy endeavor and requires exhaustive due diligence.Cutting Edge Information studied the outsourcing practices of more than 50 companies from a variety of industries for its report, "Outsourcing from Strength." The research offers insight into the key outsourcing strategies and tactics employed in leading organizations. Available at www.cuttingedgeinfo.com, a free executive summary to the report includes advice for identifying key outsourcing requirements and evaluating vendors against them.Here are some of the business intelligence firm's recommendations for choosing an outsourcer:* Identify current capabilities: Start with an internal review of what is being done and what needs to be done.* Create a roadmap for success: Have decision makers agree on a process for choosing the vendor and commit this to paper.* Develop a matrix: Create a matrix that includes requirements and outline a fair system for comparing vendors.* Gather information: Get the data you need from vendors, vendor references and outside experts.* Identify vendors: Parallel to the information gathering process, develop a small initial list of vendors and expand it as necessary to select the top five vendors within a short timeframe.* Issue an RFP: After you've narrowed down the list of vendors, assemble a request for proposal and send it to the listed companies.* Conduct site visits: Once you receive the proposal, visit each finalist's site.* Review and select: Make your final review and select the vendor, then have the team review the process to make improvements.The executive summary is available at no charge though registration is required. The complete 108-page report costs $1,995 and is available for purchase from the site.