Not all technology partners are created equal. The best run companies attract and retain top-notch talent and the on-staff management team knows how to see a project through to success. Lesser companies simply want to cash checks.
By following the eight considerations when selecting a partner below, however, you’ll greatly increase your chances of finding a high-quality technology partner that can deliver.
1. What needs to be done?
First, make sure you understand your project. Many companies and executives have a vague idea of what they are looking for. However, you want more certainty when writing an RFP and reviewing potential partners. Breakdown as many details, features, and functionalities as possible. Consider the user journey, integrations, and future needs as well. Make sure you include all of the above in your RFP. Loop in your on-staff technology and software experts to source their feedback.
2. Put forward a clear and comprehensive RFP
For many companies, the journey to finding an excellent technology partner starts with the Request-for-Proposal (RFP). This document outlines what you need and who you are as a company. You want to provide enough details to give companies a clear sense of the project and scope without bogging potential partners down with unnecessary or redundant information.
3. Price is just one factor
Price is an important consideration but one of many. Make sure you examine other aspects and ensure that no matter the price you pay, you’re getting a good value. Also, make sure you know the “true cost.” Some vendors quote a given price but end up going well over budget, and you may have to pick up the tab. Others tack on costs, like implementation and support. Understand the total costs of the project before signing anything.
4. Deadlines and timelines
Ask the business for a reasonable estimate of the timeline. Don’t simply take their word for it, however, and also ask about projects in similar scope and how long they took to complete it. Further, inquire about projects that went over initial timelines and what happened. What caused the delays and how did they resolve it? Remember, however, quality is often more important than speed. A hasty project may result in poor software that you have to grapple with for years.
5. Ensure that potential vendors are transparent
You want to work with vendors who are honest about their resources, time management, and capacities. Additionally, ask for a clear roadmap with deliverables and goals that the partner feels is reasonable. On your end, the roadmap should be clear and easy to decipher.
6. Review customer testimonies
Great partners can usually offer a lot of testimonies. Past clients, employers, and partners can vouch for their skill and success. Ask for a portfolio and a list of past clients you can contact. When you contact clients, dig deep and inquire about short-comings, hiccups, and more.
7. Check for a warranty or guarantee
Great companies often stand behind their products as a point of pride. It’s a good sign if a company offers extensive warranties, guarantees, or other assurances. On the other hand, if a company offers no guarantee, be wary.
8. Look for social good
This is about converging profit and purpose. At Premikati, we believe every business should be engaged in creating social value. Do we believe we can accomplish both our business goals while empowering society’s goals? The answer is yes, and this is one of the reasons why we partner with SAP.
Invariably, every industry must decide whether to put values over profit. As a female-owned business, Premikati wants to add values and ideals to every choice we make to ensure socially responsible decisions. As the saying goes, “Birds of a feather, flock together.” SAP continues to make a commitment in service of local and global communities. SAP believes every individual brings a unique set of skills, talents, and experiences to induce a truly dynamic workforce. In fact, they have pioneered the effort to promote neurodiversity in the workplace by starting their Autism in the Workplace program in 2013. This program has had major success in hiring employees on the autism spectrum, with a 90% retention rate, to help ensure a much more inclusive workplace for all.
Moreover, SAP supports communities in many ways by contributing to a wide variety of organizations, by supporting employee volunteerism throughout the year, and by partnering with non-governmental organizations (NGOs). For instance, SAP offers a “Dollars for Doers” program with matching gift grants, dollar for dollar, for active employee volunteers to the organization of their choice.
Take-Away: Diligent effort now can prevent future mistakes
There’s no way to guarantee that you’ll find the perfect technology partner. Still, by considering all of the above, you can greatly increase your chances of success. Choosing the right partner is a vital step to ensuring a good project outcome, so take your time, examine things closely, and find the partner who aligns with your values and objectives.