How to Choose a Technology Partner?
You have discovered the need to enlist the help of a technology partner, doesn’t seem like it should be too difficult to find, just Google it, right?
The dizzying amount of results that this simple search returns will put a kink in your plans to have a list of potential technology partners to your boss by this afternoon. There are a lot of things that need to be considered when picking your technology partner and a lot of criteria you should keep in mind when making this decision. Seize the opportunity to turn this decision into a strategy to stay ahead of your competition.
First, let’s define what a technology partner is and how a technology partner is different from any other technology company. Technology partners offer technical expertise to assist you with your technology needs. A technology partner works alongside your team, taking the time to learn your business and educate you on the technical options available to you. Rather than just waiting for the end product, a technology partner will communicate and collaborate with you throughout the entire project so that the final product meets your needs, saving you time and money. Now that we have defined what a technology partner is, there are considerations that need to be addressed prior to choosing the right partner for you.
You have discovered the need to enlist the help of a technology partner, doesn’t seem like it should be too difficult to find, just Google it, right? The dizzying amount of results that this simple search returns will put a kink in your plans to have a list of potential technology partners to your boss by this afternoon. There are a lot of things that need to be considered when picking your technology partner and a lot of criteria you should keep in mind when making this decision. Seize the opportunity to turn this decision into a strategy to stay ahead of your competition.
BEFORE YOUR SEARCH:
Before you even begin searching for a partner you need to consider your budget, internal resources, your intended market, and role of the new software. You should know where your company stands on this project and how much your company is willing to spend on this project. These are all important things to understand yourself before you engage potential partners.
It is important to ask yourself a few questions about the project itself. What will you need the software for? How intuitive do you need the software to be for the end-user? Is there something on the market already that would fit your needs? After you have answered these questions you will be able to see the extent of the project and have a better idea of the resources that you will need from a technology partner. With a better understanding of the project itself and how your company will handle it, you now have to determine what attributes are important in a technology partner.
When it comes to making the decision on which company to partner with on your project it is important to take multiple factors into consideration. Your company is investing a lot of money into this one project so it is important that the project is set up to succeed. This decision can make or break your projects success so you need to take your time and do your research to find the company that is the best fit for your company and your project. You will want to see a track record of a potential partner’s level of customer service. You may have to obtain referrals and references from past customers in order to prove the level of customer service they have provided. Past projects are telling of what you can expect from the companies on your project.
To have a successful project you need to hire a company that has an understanding of your business or a company that makes understanding your business a priority. A lack of understanding in these situations can result in a project that is disjointed from your company and your message. Although companies might have an excellent level of technical expertise it will do no good if they produce a product that does not look like yours. One of the reasons that you are in search of a technology partner is likely because your company is similar to many others out there and resources are hard to come by. Make sure that potential partners have the resources you need. This information can be validated by asking for referrals, references, and looking at a portfolio of projects the company has completed. Another great way to find this information out is to ask what technologies the company uses and ask to see examples. This is one area where it will pay off to do your due diligence.
To confirm a company’s experience you should ask for a timeline of projects they are currently working on and the projects they have worked on in the past. This will be helpful for you to see if they have worked on projects similar to yours in the past which will demonstrate if they have the ability to complete your project. A timeline will also be helpful because you will be able to see if they have worked with teams and companies of comparable size.
One of the keys to a projects success is the ability to meet deadlines and make the release date. Responsiveness is a big part of being able to complete the project on time and you want a company you work with to respond to you when you have questions or changes that need to be made. You should be able to tell if a company will be as responsive as you expect from early on in your engagement.
It is important when hiring a consultant to work on your project that they are objective. You want the potential partners to be able to give you objective advice about technology. This can be an issue when some companies are only willing to work in one technology. You want to use the technology that works the best for your project and will be the most beneficial. Make sure before committing to one company that you ask what technologies the company works in and you should be able to tell from their answer their willingness to work in different environments.
Making sure your business style will work with the company you choose is important. If the company has an informal business style, but your company is formal there might be some issues. The level of professionalism should match, limiting the number of problems you might encounter. This might ensure the teams are compatible and will integrate well with each other.
Are these potential partners going to be available when you need them to be? Confirm with potential companies that they have more than one employee dedicated to your project. You may want to consider using a company that uses Project Managers or Engagement Managers to ensure that you will be able contact someone when you need to. Project managers are helpful as a single point of contact.
Chemistry and ease of doing business are important aspects to consider when choosing a technology partner. If the rapport between your team and a potential technology partner are off there will be issues that will be hard to overcome. You will get an idea of this from your initial look into the company, were they easy to get a hold of? Did you mesh well with the employees you have spoken to?
Does this project require ongoing support and do the companies you are considering offer the support you will need? Will the company prepare your own team to take over maintenance upon completion? You will have to consider what you need from the company after the completion of the project and then match those needs with a company that offers those services.