This article was originally published on npENGAGE.
When you decide to integrate new technology in your organization, you may have a good idea about what you want that technology to do, you may even have leads about who makes it – but how can you be sure you’ve found the perfect partner to initiate and implement new solutions for your organization? In a sea full of options, the seven characteristics below will help you identify a reliable partner who will help you reach your goals.
- Stability – You can find a lot of pop-up shops on the market. You may really like what they have to sell – especially at that great price – but there is no guarantee that they will still be around in a few months. You may get started with this partner, but will your bargain partner be there to see the project through to the end? Make sure you take into consideration the stability and market longevity when you select vendors to work with. If your potential partner is a publicly traded company, check out their financials. Where are they investing their time and money? Will they still be around when you need them?
- One-stop-shop – Some say that we can’t find everything we’re looking for in one person. That doesn’t have to be the case when looking for a partner to implement technology. Instead of a variety of siloed teams working independently – look for one cohesive team working together for you. It’s also not too much to ask to have a specific point person assigned to you and your organization. When things go wrong you only have one number to call, and when things go right you only have one big hug to give.
- Invested in your success – Any good partnership is about give and take. When looking for someone to work with, make sure they are more invested in your success than they are in fulfilling their own sales quotas. Find a partner that looks at your success as a measure of their own.
- Proven track record – No one wants to get stood up or stiffed with a bill. Make sure you are selecting a partner with a record of success. Don’t be afraid to do your homework to know who you’re associating with. Ask for references and look at their past project successes. Also look at their failures – this tells even more about how they’ve handled and resolved tough issues so you know what you’re getting when you enter into a partnership.
- Deep arsenal of best practices – Practice makes perfect; the longer you work on something, the better you get at doing it. The same is true when it comes to implementing technology solutions. You may only go through a project like this once or twice, but your implementation partner should have done it hundreds of times. Look for a partner who has refined their approach over time and brings a wide knowledge base informed by past successes. Your ideal partner should have a defined methodology and should be willing to adapt to the specifics of your organization’s needs.
- Open to collaboration – If your organization has a standing relationship with other vendors, it’s important for a new partner to know how to incorporate that relationship into their work with you. Find out if your potential partner is open and willing to collaborate when needed. They’ll need to be able to work with any additional partners that you may have to help make your organization’s vision a success.
- Reliable and supportive – It’s easy to maintain a partnership when times are good, but the best relationships are those you can depend on even in the worst of times. You should expect that any vendor you purchase from will stand-by and support their solution with an in-house body of experts. Then, you can rest easy knowing that you will get the support you need when you need it, from the very beginning. But most importantly, the relationship you build shouldn’t end when your project goes live. You need to feel confident that your partner is in it for the long haul and will be there for you as your needs change over time.
In your next search for a great partner, ensure a successful implementation by keeping these seven characteristics as benchmarks for a partnership that will be sure to please.