Today, I had a long call with a client.
It was a meeting to discuss solutions to navigate this crisis. It was long, but it was incredibly productive for both parties. Communication was crystal clear, expectations were clearly set, and there were no ‘bad vibes’ at the end of the call. As the conversation ended, my client parted with these final words. “Glad to have you on board, mate, you’ve been a big help,”
Besides, leaving me glowing with pleasure, the compliment got me thinking about the importance of having the right software solution partner.
I truly believe that the crisis has only amplified our existing business relationships. If they were good, then trust remains strong, if they were bad, then the relationship would just fall apart during these trying times.
Now more than never, it’s important to know how to select the right software solution partner, a company whose skills perfectly complement your needs.
Selecting the right software solution partner
Consider your technical capabilities
Arguably, one of the most important things you can do is assess what you need from a software solution partner. Naturally, you need a partner to complete a project, but you need to figure out details. Do you need someone who can do front-end work, back-end development or both?
The search starts by conducting an internal assessment of your own technical capabilities. Do you have your own IT department? If you do, then it is going to change your requirements.
Your IT department would already have preferences in languages and technologies. So, you need to find a partner that works with what your department is already familiar with, otherwise, the relationship will just fall apart at the seams.
However, what if you don’t have your own IT department? Then, your requirements are going to be different. You need a software solutions partner who not only provides technology and services but can also take on planning and strategic responsibilities.
Your ideal software solution partner should be able to do conduct technical and functional analysis for attributes like the number of users, multi-language support and security levels, as well as advise you on the best way to implement the solution.
Price should not be your determining factor
It should go without saying that price should not be your determining factor when selecting your ideal software solution partner. Yet time and time again, I have seen a lot of people turn their back against a company that would have been a good fit for them because of the price.
While it’s understandable why a lot of businesses are concerned about price, you also need to consider what comes after you have signed on the dotted line. You need to consider the work processes because more often than not, the cheapest software partner also delivers the worst results.
Several clients have told me that they have worked with organisations who are cheaper but proved to be a headache and a waste of time. While they saved a bit of money in the short run, they lost a lot more in the long run due to wasted time.
What I would advise you to do is look at the value beyond price. Software projects are long-term affairs that require a lot of collaboration. There’s going to be a lot of problems to solve, and tons of back and forth over technical and business strategies. You should be able to trust your software solution partner to deliver their services and the advice they give you, which is difficult to determine through price alone.
Company structure, values and size
At first glance, it’s incredibly tempting to choose a large company that’s been around for years. After all, these are the companies with the greatest brand recognition, often described as leaders in their field. But are they right fit for you and your project?
Depending on your budget, project scope, company culture and the size of your own company, you may want to reconsider just who you are looking for. In my experience, the best partners are organisations where the structure, culture and values are much similar to your own.
After all, most software projects require a lot of back and forth between you and your software solutions partner, working with a company that is bigger than you can completely throw off the dynamic and create a lot of friction in the process.
Finding the right partner, the right way
You may have noticed that I did not discuss the search process. That’s because I am sure you already know about the importance of testimonials, customer stories, online reviews and websites where you can review a software company’s service quality.
Instead, I choose to hone in on the three key areas you need to find the right the software solution partner for you. Anyone can find a software company, but I wanted to focus on the essential qualities that make the software company a perfect fit for you. After all, with the right software solution partner, you are assured of peace of mind even during tough times, just like the client with whom I met.