5 things you should be looking for in a technology partner
posted by Ivan Dragoev on August 13th, 2014
If you are running a business that is looking for a technology partner, then you are probably wondering how to pick the right one, how to ensure your choice is right and will not jeopardize your business.
Usually you are faced with these two options:
- choose from a list of companies you were recommended (by a friend, someone from your network, etc.)
- search for a partner (web search, ads, freelance platforms, etc.)
In both cases what matters most to you is the attitude of the company: do they deliver on time, are they honest and responsible, could they fit your business needs, are they proactive, etc. But, while you can certainly get information about the projects done by certain companies and their workflow model, you may not easily figure out their attitude. Of course there could be testimonials and maybe this is the only way to assess the company but keep in mind that every project is different. Including yours.
The following list aims to help you clearly define your expectations and clarify what you should look and ask for when evaluating a potential technology partner. Again, this will be like a marriage – a long-term relationship in which you want to live “happily ever after”.
#1 Treating you as a partner, not customer
This, per my own experience, is the most important point – it defines the attitude you can expect. If you are ‘yet another customer’ you will most probably get just the necessary to keep you on board, no personal approach and pro activity a.k.a ‘going beyond the call of duty’.
On the other hand, if the candidate treats you as a partner and someone from the ‘family’ – you will get personal attention. Such companies know how important ‘investing in attitude’ is when communicating with potential partners and this is perfectly aligned with their long-term goals, not necessarily with the immediate ones.
#2 Dives into the project on the technical and business end
A perfect technology partner will deep dive in the project not only on its technical end but also on the business end. Understanding the business domain and the business goals of the project will help align the project planning and development with the business goals. Such partners understand that the goal is to solve a problem and make a business out of it and will keep the right balance between ‘perfect’ and ‘needed’ to ensure that.
#3 Resolving issues and proposing solutions proactively
Partners that keep in mind the business goals of the project can be proactive. Depending on the business goals – short or long-term and the milestones, they have the flexibility to pick the technology solutions that are right for the next milestone. At the same time, considering the further needs and goals they can find a middle way in order to prevent expensive rework in terms of time and money.
#4 Delivers on time, delivers with high quality
To deliver what you promise is crucial for every business. Therefore, it is extremely important for your technology partner to deliver on time what has been planned and keep their promises to you. The right partner will not only deliver on time, but he’ll do it with the required quality. Since this is your product and your brand, the quality of the deliverables is a major thing that your customers will be looking for.
#5 Flat structure, fast communication
Companies with a flat structure allow you to communicate more efficiently with all people involved in your project. Thus you have more than one contact person and, depending on the issue, you are free to talk directly to the expert who can solve it best.
Of course, you cannot see these things on a company web site or in a presentation. But if you agree that these 5 points are the key to a successful long-term partnership, then obtaining such information is your goal. Every email, phone call or meeting should aim at getting the answers you need. It is like knowing that you want to go to Rome: you know what questions to ask and you find the way. And don’t forget to trust your intuition, too.