As firms across industries look to modernizing their internal system to become more efficient or to transition their product line to mobile devices, choosing the right technology partner is becoming a more important decision that involves more potential risks to future growth and success. A technology partner works alongside your team to learn the ins and outs of your company to create technical solutions to help your business run smoothly and efficiently. While this relationship may have its up and downs, you need to find the partner you are willing to work with for the long haul.
CIOs and decision makers responsible for workplace efficiency may be concerned with hiring an outside partner because of costs or apprehension around certain unfamiliar technology. However, they do understand that technology is a key component to business growth and selecting a company to support your technology growth and systems is one of the most crucial factors for your organization.
Whether you’re looking to expand your product line onto mobile platforms or adjust internal systems, finding the right technology partner can be challenging. You have to consider your budget, internal resources, and the role of new software in your business. We’ve assembled some tips that should help you evaluate potential technology partners and find the right one for you.
Understanding Your Business
First and foremost, your technology partner needs to understand your business inside and out. Technology solutions cannot be created in a vacuum. A skilled consultant will be able to review the intricacies of your business and find ways that technology can improve efficiencies, reduce costs, and add value for your customers.
Oftentimes technology partners are selected based on price rather than experience. In reality, experience is more important because seasoned experts will understand how technologies interact with existing systems and can provide a more realistic plan for your company. To assess a company’s experience, do a little research. Can they give you references and show clear examples of projects that they have completed that are similar to what you need? If you search for the company online, what do you find? Has this company won any awards or received any recognition for their work? Identifying these credentials will help you make an informed assessment about the company’s experience and level of expertise.
Make sure that you can quickly and easily communicate with the company. During any project, there will be some amount of collaboration so it is important that you feel able to speak with your technology partner freely. Also, make sure that the company is able to communicate complex technology ideas and topics in a way that is easily understood by non-experts.
There is more to a business partnership than “you pay money, you get our services.” The right technology partner will be invested in helping your company succeed with your project.
In other words, the right tech partner will seek to understand how you intend to benefit as a business, and will work to make sure the technology solution helps accomplish that goal, rather than just checking off a list of requirements. The company should understand that in order to “win” you both need to benefit. For any integrated technology to work successfully, you need ongoing support from the company, as well.
Long Term vs. Short Term
Technology partnerships can be short term, such as a single project, or long term, like building out a mobile product line.
Ideally, you want to find someone that you can use as a long term technology partner, even if you don't expect to need technology services in the foreseeable future. Why? Because you will almost inevitably need a technology partner again in the future. This can also benefit you on future projects as the company will already understand your business, will be able to better meet your needs, and be available for quick technology advice.
Services and Resources
It is important that your technology partner has a depth of resources and are able to offer a range of technology services. The ability to provide a broad range of services often means that they can help you find the best solution using the best technologies, rather than being stuck trying to use one technology to solve all challenges.
As technologies like servers, web browsers, mobile devices, etc. change, the software and app which run on those platforms must also change. Software support ensures that your systems run efficiently and small bugs are quickly fixed in order to maintain a good user experience. While extended support services are usually an optional addition to your partnership agreement, general warranties and implementation support should be included as a part of the basic project package, whenever applicable.
The Final Word
Choosing the right technology company is no simple task. It takes time and research to identify a company that will help you achieve your technology and business goals. While business leaders may be doubtful about which technology partner is right for their company, they can be certain that by assessing these qualities, they will find the fight fit. Ultimately, the best choice will be one that leaves you with few (or zero) doubts about their ability to work with you and accomplish your goals.
Jonathan Fries provides continuity for an exceptional client experience throughout a project at Amadeus Consulting. He manages internal development priorities on an engagement level to ensure internal processes align with client agreed-upon outcomes. He leads the entire development organization from project management through software support and maintenance. Jonathan holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Iowa and has been a valuable member of the Amadeus Consulting team since May 2007.