With conversations around digital transformation picking up across industries, technology has become the core of every business. So, one cannot discount its use within the organization. Even small businesses need technology for their day-to-day functions.
But the one thing that leaves a small business owner in the lurch is choosing between setting up an in-house IT team or partnering with an experienced technology vendor. A dedicated in-house team might seem like an ideal solution. However, it might not be the right one if the organization does not have the budget to hire experienced technical experts or the capability to choose the right technologies to scale their business functions. Also, if IT is not the core function of the organization, then it makes business sense to outsource it to their technology partner.
Collaborating with an experienced technology partner will enable the organization to focus on its core capabilities instead of stressing over IT functions and allows them to save costs on hiring specialized resources or on costly software or hardware. Plus, they don’t have to worry about security or scalability as the partner takes care of these needs.
However, what matters is that the technology partner should be a perfect fit for the organization.
Here are a few things that small businesses must look for in their technology partner.
4 Things to Look for In Your Technology Partner
Small businesses may be working with limited budgets. They may be cautious about their spending. So, if the budget is not as per the partner’s expectations, they might not provide the kind of support the business seeks. Conversely, if the budget is almost 10% of the partner’s total revenue, they may become dependent on the business to generate revenue. In some cases, they may discontinue their services or go bankrupt if they are dependent on a single client. That’s why working with a partner of the right size is important. Try to reach a midpoint where the partner is approachable and gives priority without over-dependency. Ensure that the partner considers the small business’ best interests over its interests. It’s that level of commitment that will enable the business to scale higher and eventually benefit the partner through more business and revenue.
Technology keeps evolving at a rapid pace. Choose a partner who upskills its teams to keep them updated about the latest technologies and trends in the industry. Besides this, the partner must have a talent pool of highly skilled and experienced testers, developers, designers, project managers, etc. They should have worked with organizations that are from the same or similar industry so they can start working on the projects immediately without spending too much time on onboarding. The easiest way to evaluate the team’s expertise is by checking their credentials. For example, the organization can check if the team has industry-recognized certification and the knowledge to undertake a complex IT project.
Shared Vision and Passion for Innovation
A partnership will fail if the partner does not understand the business. Sometimes, the partner may not resonate with the vision of your organization, or they may not be willing to innovate. In such cases, there could be misunderstandings, and the expectations of the organizations may not be met. Hence, ensure that the partner understands the business expectations well before signing a contract. Take out time to explain the objective behind developing an offering and how they can help in turning it into a reality. More clarity, the better. The partner need not necessarily be as enthusiastic as the organization about its innovation. However, they must be capable enough to understand what the organization wants and be flexible to adapt the processes according to their vision.
Proven Track Record
Every vendor will pitch the best services to organizations. Some may overpromise and under-deliver, and vice-a-versa. The only way to choose the right partner from the rest is by checking their track record. Here are some things that an organization can check:
- Have they worked with peer companies in the industry? Is there any proven evidence of improvement or growth in business?
- Do they have authentic testimonials, case studies that showcase their capabilities?
- What is the feedback on third-party review websites? Some reviews could be biased, so be objective in assessing them. The aim is to get an overall understanding of their credibility.
- Are they willing to provide references with whom you can speak and get more clarity?
Check with multiple sources before zeroing in on the right partner.
Finding the right technology partner takes time. For example, a partner may have a good track record but may not have worked with a small business before, so they may not share the same vision or passion for innovation as the owner of a startup. However, half the battle is won when the partner turns out to be a perfect fit for the organization. The partnership can eventually be nurtured and could culminate into a long-term relationship. So, take time, assess the vendors carefully, and ensure that they tick all the boxes of an ideal technology partner before entering into the partnership.
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