Here are some tips on finding, vetting, and working with the right partner for success.
Go to any software, hardware or network infrastructure vendors, system integrators or consulting firms, you’ll find digital transformation a key part of their pitch along with their take on how they will help you attain digital nirvana. But having been in the industry long enough and having worked with various implementation partners you are already aware that things can something go awry even with partners who have the best credentials, and projects may get derailed resulting in cost overruns.
Traditional wisdom still helps when choosing an implementation partner for your digital transformation journey. But there are a few additional factors you need to consider before you zero in on the right partner, as digital is mostly work in progress and an area where people are still predominantly experimenting.
Your vision for digital and business outcomes
You know your legacy best and you have a vision for digital. Is your partner on the same page with you on this? Do they clearly understand what it takes to deliver the business outcomes you are looking for? This is critical if your partner will handhold you throughout the digital journey.
Customer and industry insights
The digital transformation needs and goals of every enterprise are different. Some industries are highly regulated and need to comply to various regulatory regimes, while others have unique customer requirements to cater to. Does your partner understand your business and its unique needs? Have they worked with companies in similar businesses to implement digital projects? Testimonials should help in this case.
Skills and domain expertise
Digital technologies translate to skills across a variety of areas, including cloud, big data, analytics, mobility, IoT, AI and ML. Additionally, they require project managers adept at successfully implementing projects that integrate all or most of these capabilities. Does your partner have them?
With almost every vendor offering some sort of digital solutions around their platforms, you come across many players whose expertise is limited to certain hardware or software platforms. If you have legacy apps that run on different platforms, integration is cumbersome and comes with a price. Your partner has to be able to offer you choices that are most suitable for your needs, while being cost effective and scalable. Evaluate the choices carefully before you settle on a partner.
If you are a large organisation with a global operation and multiple offices you would be looking to roll out the solution company-wide. In order to do that your implementation partner should have an organisational footprint that matches your requirement. This does not mean the partner should have men on the ground in every location you are present, but rather the capability to address issues remotely or otherwise as and when they crop up during the implementation.
Implementation and roll out of a new solution is only part of the story. Teething troubles and post-implementation glitches are common even in the most well executed projects. Quick response and remedy is even more critical after a digital solution is rolled out, as lost time could result in negative business outcomes, including loss of revenue. Your SLA should ensure that your partner is available post-implementation whenever the need arises.