Have you noticed that selecting a partner to provide technology implementation-related services is like trying to figure out whom to date?
What qualities do you look for? Where do you start looking? Whom do you ask for advice?
If you are like most clients, you start with the software company that you’ve selected, asking them for recommendations.
You ask your new best friend if they have “any friends” that they might set you up with. You know the drill.
There is an ecosystem in play here that has an inherent flaw—a conflict of interest. Most clients are unaware of this quid pro quo. The unspoken agreement between software providers and their implementation partners goes something like this:
- I (software provider) will bring you (implementation partner) qualified leads. You then sell my software that I’ve just recommended you to implement.
Even when implementation partners claim to be “technology agnostic,” more often than not most will get religion very quickly when they have a high-value implementation hanging in the balance.
For you the client, in most cases, there will likely be a few get-to-know-you sessions before you commit. During courtship you may get a few free dinners as the relationship blossoms.
What questions did you ask at dinner? As one bottle of wine turns to two and dessert arrives, were you too enamored with all the attention to recall?
Do yourself a favor and do some research. Turn a few stones. Just like dating, you should google them, check out their media sites (website, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.), but don’t settle for those carefully crafted façades. It’s all just makeup anyway.
As one who has been around the block a few times, here are my recommended questions, but there are likely others:
- How many developers on the implementation team have the relevant technical skills or qualifications?
- Can the delivery team implement the vision the sales team sold?
- Can they customize the software to meet our organization’s specific needs?
- What is their implementation strategy?
- How many implementations has their team been a part of?
Like dating, there are, of course, several negative outcomes of selecting the wrong partner:
- Failed Implementations
- Cost Over Runs
- Starting Over
Until there is an app, like Match or Tinder in the romantic world, that allow you to rate implementation partners, you may want to consider an independent evaluator to sort through the many would-be suitors. You need a matchmaker. Similar to running a background check, getting un-biased recommendation from an industry expert may stop you from a bad decision and point out potential pitfalls along the way.
These thought leaders can help you focus on the larger picture of how you and your partner will need to co-exist in a new relationship, such as:
- How will you define success (internally and externally) and what items factor into that definition?
- What qualifications does your partner have to guide your potential customers through the maze of customer experience?
- What is your product roadmap and what services need to be in place to support your future needs? When will those things be needed?
Unfortunately, not all matches are made in heaven. If you end up having second thoughts, make sure you have an exit strategy so that both parties can walk away with closure. Sometimes, a clean break will involve a difficult conversation, but often will result in mutual relief and, if you’re lucky, an almost instantaneous closure for both parties.
So, it’s time to pick your implementation partner. Will it be a swipe left or a swipe right?
Contact Tahzoo to learn how our smart, happy team can help get your implementation right.
Photo by Conny