Taking the time to identify the best partner for you is definitely worth your while. A well-suited partner gives you valuable business insights, helps your project succeed and stands by your side in the future, too.
Start with preliminary screening
You can start looking for your new software partner by listening to the company grapevine, asking for advice from your social networks and, of course, turning to Google. At this point, you are likely to get more than a dozen companies.
When looking the companies up online, ask yourself the following: how established is the company and is their brand considered reliable? Do they have references that show previous experience from your particular business? Does the company provide services for your exact needs?
Once you have a shortlist of 3 to 5 companies, it would be tempting to write down your needs and requirements and send identical calls for offers to all candidates. Here’s where we highly recommend an alternative approach, however.
Time to open dialogue
A great software partner is all about matching chemistries. Instead of a well-specified request for quotation, reach out to your shortlisted companies and ask for a meeting with a fairly open agenda. Use the meeting to open a dialogue on your needs and what you are looking for. Allow the service provider to ask questions, throw ideas and present alternatives.
When you engage in open personal dialogue, you will quickly get a feeling about your candidate. What is their level of engagement to your problem, how customer-oriented are they and are they able to speak on a level that you understand? Do you feel you can trust them - do you feel that you would want to work with these guys? Going forward, these are critical factors that can either make or break mutually beneficial cooperation.
Remember that the service providers are experts in their field. Instead of simply reacting to your list of requirements, they should be able to suggest best ways of working and scoping the project. Let them do some of the thinking for you and take the opportunity to learn from them.
Toward a fruitful cooperation
Dialogue with your candidates will most likely result in added value you would have missed had you sent out identical calls for offers.
For example, a company might be able to give technical recommendations that make development faster, more cost-efficient and ensure a longer lifecycle for the solution. Or, another candidate might be able to split a huge project into smaller, more manageable phases.
When you finally ink the deal with a partner, all the interaction before the deal helps pave the way for a successful project.
"Understanding the need is the key for proper solutions. Quite often Partner comes up with out-of-the-box suggestion that enrich Customer's thinking. This is best achieved by transparent information sharing between the parties." - Harri Vuolle, Head of Sales, Insta Digital