These days, technology is a base line requirement for all businesses. With new solutions hitting the market on almost a daily basis, there are more ways than ever before that technology can help your business. How does a small- to medium-sized business select and implement the best technologies to drive its profitability and growth?
Working with a technology partner is a cost-efficient way and gives you the freedom to focus on the strengths of your business. But to get the most from your partnership, you need to carefully choose your IT solutions provider.
Here’s a list of qualities to look for when engaging an IT company for your business.
1. Strong business acumen
Good technology partners have years of experience in helping clients achieve their business goals. They understand that their job is to make their clients more successful. Discussions around client challenges should initially focus on productivity and process improvement, not IT. Your partner should have a broad awareness of your industry segment, your target market and how their tools can help your business grow.
2. Being able to translate a business need into a technology design
The best technology partners start with what you’re trying to achieve from a business perspective. They then focus on how you’re going to measure success (metrics) and the process improvements required to achieve the outcome. Only then do they design a solution that leverages the most appropriate technology to get you there, and show you precisely how their solution will do it.
3. Ability to design a solution to a budget
A good technology partner can clearly explain which of its services works best for your needs and your budget. It is imperative to keep the budget in mind when building a solution and develop a strong foundation that the solution can grow from. By breaking the design down into manageable chunks, a client can go live with the initial minimal solution that fits the budget.
As the needs grow, the solution can then be built in manageable bite-size chunks. Working in a way that always builds towards the ideal system leveraging the solid foundation.
4. Proven delivery track record
Don’t be afraid to ask potential partners for references. If they’re good at what they do, they will be more than happy to have you talk to a couple of their customers. Focus reference questions on how well the partner interacts with stakeholders and how effectively they get the job done. Don’t worry too much if they haven’t delivered precisely the same project before. The fact that they have successfully delivered a variety of projects is potentially more important.
5. Good ecosystem set-up
It’s alright to work with technology partners that don’t provide the entire solution themselves. Most IT firms have vendor relationships to help them craft better technology solutions for their clients. Very few providers can realistically position themselves as a “one stop shop” these days so ask them about their partnerships, who they work with and how those organisations fit into the solution that they’re proposing.
6. Uses an Agile development methodology
One of the advantages of following the Agile development methodology is that you can get a working solution in production much more quickly than by using traditional “waterfall” techniques. Since the development of the solution is done in short sprints, you can review each phase, spot errors earlier, and add more features that weren’t previously included in the first sprints. This approach also gives you much better control of schedule and budget.
7. Transparent about their services’ limitations
As a client, you want to work with a company that knows technology. This means that your partner should be aware of their offerings limitations and they should clearly explain those limitations to you. They should be open and honest about what their solutions will and won’t achieve.
8. Ongoing engagement
Another advantage of working with an IT solutions firm is that they can offer ongoing support after developing your new system. This includes monthly maintenance to ensure that operations are running smoothly. An exceptional partner understands that the systems needs to keep pace with your business as it evolves. How do they propose to engage with you once the project is complete?
Working with a technology partner is one of the best ways to grow your business. However, choosing the right partner is no simple task. You will need to invest time to prepare and ask the right questions so you can meet your business goals. Keep these guidelines in mind and you’ll surely meet the right technology partner for you.
To learn more about effective technology solutions for your business, visit www.ecleva.com today.