Understanding your network environment is critical to the success of any outsourcing engagement.
During the bid cycle, your outsource partner will perform discovery tasks, with the goal of gathering data to support the solution & pricing of the outsource package. It's critical your outsource supplier has sufficient data to build an accurate service model early in the bid process.
Discovery data may consist of device & location inventories, service catalogs, diagrams, run-books, org charts etc. The actual artifacts will depend on the services subject to outsourcing.
Gather detailed discovery data prior to supplier engagement, ideally before the first round of any solution development or pricing. If necessary, initiate an IT Service Management (ITSM) initiative to gather discovery data prior to the engagement of outsourcing suppliers.
If governance is a driver for outsourcing, you will likely find that accurate network services documentation is non-existing, outdated and/or fragmented at best. In addition, the source of any existing data may be held in "resource silos" not written into the outsourcing Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA).
Poor discovery data will lead to service requirement and volume gaps that will only be discovered during Service Transition and/or post Service Commencement Date (SCD). Retroactively filling these gaps can prove extremely costly.
Associated issues can be compounded by resource attrition and result in service disruption, placing the Enterprise in an extremely poor negotiating position should additional services be added to the outsourced agreement scope.
Assumptions can be used to fill discovery gaps, and there are key non-technical data points (such as location types and user counts and profiles etc.), that can be used to guide them. However, these are "assumptions" and appropriate risks should be assessed. Be aware that any bid solution is subject to price pressure, this can lead suppliers to use assumptions that drive the price down rather than up. Therefore it is critical the Enterprise fully understands any assumptions baked into the solution, which should be documented in the contract.
Sweep clause. A client I worked with actually had a sweep clause written into the contract. This clause obligated the outsourcing supplier to "in-scope" any network services not identified during discovery. This reduced the risk of having "orphaned" services disrupt the Enterprise, but of course did not mitigate the cost of adding such services to the scope.
Thorough discovery, data gathering & interviews. Your outsource supplier should be actively pursuing the Enterprise for discovery data, and following up aggressively to fill any gaps. Part of this process should include supplier driven interviews with key resources written into the outsourcing NDA. Therefore it is critical that "trusted" key resources are involved early in the process. Any indication that your supplier is not aggressively pursuing these resources should raise concerns.
There's no substitute for accurate network services data. Unfortunately, governance constraints may limit your capabilities in the acquisition of such data. In such cases, risks can be mitigated with the application of intelligent assumptions supported by thorough risk management.