ZDNet published an article “Ten mistakes to avoid when working with tech partners“, summarized herein by specifying what a company should do:
- Don’t treat all tech partners the same.
Each of your tech partners have different functions, styles, and backgrounds. They each contribute to your success in a different way. You cannot manage them in the same manner. Each needs to be groomed, stroked, and polished to make your organization shine.
- Your requirements and goals should be clearly defined.
If you don’t clearly define this to your tech partners, how can you possibly expect them to meet your expectations? This is a strategic, long term elucidation. Your tech partners will then be able to properly recommend and shape products and services for your company.
- There is no silver bullet.
An individual tech partner lacks insight into your company structure and, as such, cannot resolve every problem you have. Set realistic expectations and then hold your technology partners accountable. This is a tactical, short-term definition.
- Separate business from technology.
Product selection and deployment must be based on the the business process, not merely deployment. There are plenty of ways to address business processes. If you want a partner to be a one-trick pony, then you’ll always see one trick.
- There is no substitute for communication.
Your tech partners need to be partners, not just vendors. Let them know what’s working and what’s not working. When you see a problem, promptly put in writing. Ambiguity is failure.
- Seek a cultural fit.
Your tech partner should be a solid relationship. As such, there are going to be bumps in the road. As pointed out in the article, “the definition of success is not the absence of issues, but how organizations work together to resolve issues“.
- Always be backwards compatible.
Companies should always demand that their partners deliver continuous, uninterrupted upgrades with 100% backwards compatibility. Upgrading one system while breaking another is not progress.
- Be open to new solutions.
A business should set the foundation for what needs to be done and engage companies that can offer you a new perspective. Technology changes at a rate that most organizations can’t handle naturally. Don’t stifle or micro-manage creativity.
- Stick to a common agenda.
Your business should set business goals and communicate them to all vendors and technology partners. As your business’ complex relationships with multiple partners and vendors evolve, have a meeting with all your partners and explain your company’s goals. Everybody wants to be able to contribute to your success. That is a healthy relationship.
- Be cognizant of internal staffing needs.
As technology within your business evolves, your staff may be ill-equipped to deal with it. Learning new technology and systems affects your staff. If your business is not prepared, then any solution will fail. Where internal resources are overwhelmed, work with your tech partners to simplify the process.
These are incredibly simple tips. Let your technology partners contribute to your success!