Everything You Need To Know About….New Business Software #3
Avoiding the Mickey Mouse Partner
So, you know you need new software and you’ve decided on your shortlist of business software solutions. That’s only half the battle. Next you’ve got to go to market and start talking to suppliers. There’s a lot to consider at this stage. Choosing a good implementation partner is at least as important as picking the right software. You don’t want to end up spending a lot on good software then hiring a Mickey Mouse partner.
Your choices are four fold:
- Use the software providers implementation team
- Use a channel partner (or VAR (value added reseller)) of your chosen software
- Use an independent software implementation team/expert
- Hire a team to work in house
There is no right and wrong way to approach this, although typically each choice will be driven by a different motivation. For example, people who use channel partners often do so because they want to work with someone who is local to them and who can be very responsive to their needs. And those who hire a team in house usually have very lengthy and complex implementations. Hiring dedicated resource under these circumstances can be more cost effective.
Whatever you decide, a good implementation partner will:
- Be impartial
- Spend time understanding your business and what’s driving the need for the project
- Offer you the best advice for YOUR business (not theirs)
- Introduce you to the “real” implementation team from the preliminary discussions (we often hear that the people introduced pre-implementation are often not those carrying out the work)
- Help you scope the project – even if it’s standard functionality being deployed
- Be on site where possible
- Be as involved with your people and processes as with the software itself
- Stay with you until the end (and often beyond as you roll out other phases of the implementation)
Creating an RFI for potential partners could help you to test the business case for the software and give you a good basis for a point by point comparison between one team and another. Plus, the way a partner engages with an RFI (request for information) can often be indicative of what they would be to work with.
At the very least you will want to interview all the potential partners by getting them to demo the software solution to you. Look for understanding of the software, sure, but more importantly look for a willingness to understand your business. This is often more important for the long term success of the project. The size of the team or company is less important than their bandwidth to cope with your project. In fact, smaller organisations often have more skilled people and a greater desire to make the software sing for you!
Look for a partner who is a good cultural fit for your business. You’ll be working together for a few months, so at least make sure you get along!
The next blog in the series will examine the “interview” process in more detail. To read the last in the series “What Solution?” click here
Written by Emma Stewart – Sales and Marketing Director at Cofficient