No matter the size of the organization, small business or Fortune 50, most successful companies will come to a point where they need a technology and business solution partner to optimize processes and move projects forward.
In today's disruptive business world, you may have furloughed employees or lack resources for critical functions. There may be no better time to hire an Atlassian Platinum solution partner, especially if you can’t afford the project to be fumbled.
However, choosing the right partner can be difficult. All vendors claim to be the best, have impressive client lists, and work with smart people. Where should you start?
First, understand the consequences of a poor decision. Lost opportunity costs, money wasted, boss disappointment, ruined long-term growth, damaged reputation, and careers devastated - maybe even yours. Scary thoughts, indeed.
A much more pleasant exercise is to consider if the project goes well. If you use company resources well and with a good result, you could be seen as the rising star and be assigned more complex and important projects. With this recognition comes upward career mobility, peer respect,...and a raise!
Make sure these factors are part of your Atlassian solution partner selection process.
Your solution partner is happy to tell you about their successful projects, but after they give you their initial pitch, ask some hard questions such as, “What is your Net Promoter Score (NPS)?” NPS is a widely accepted measurement of customer satisfaction and woven into the culture of companies that take the customer experience seriously. The higher the score, the more satisfied the customer is. If they don’t know what NPS is, or they don’t track it, it gives you a good glimpse into their business practices. You will find that companies with a good NPS, want to let you know about it early in the process. Christian Lane, Praecipio Consulting founder says, “It’s one of the first things we communicate to soon-to-be clients. We want them to know that with an NPS score of 70, they are in good hands, especially since the IT consulting industry average is 31. Setting high expectations for our sales and delivery teams ensures we focus on customer success and continual improvement to our delivery model. This helps earn trust so we can talk next about speed, execution, and value.”
Other good questions to ask are:
- Tell me about your change order volume as a percentage of overall revenue.
- What is your change control revenue as a percentage of overall revenue?
- If something goes wrong in the client relationship, what is a typical reason?
- What does the discovery process look like?
Be sure to ask about their methods and how they execute during an engagement. IT projects can be complex, and it takes a focused effort from the solution partner and the client to get a good result. Ask about how both teams will stay on track and what the regular cadence of communication is. Do they have a method that marches you toward success? Or do they rely on you to assign tasks? Ask them what quality controls they have in place so that no detail goes unnoticed. Lane’s best advice? “Get a comfort level with reliability and consistency.”
Great partners sell solutions, not just blocks of hours.
Consultants or operators
No one solution partner has a monopoly on the smartest people, so don’t let the number of certified Atlassian engineers be your sole decision driver. What’s more important is how the talent communicates. Do they simply fix your problems and wait for the next one? Or do they take a more consultative approach and advise on things like, how your projects will connect to your existing infrastructure or the cost-benefit of creating features. Lane summarizes it best when he says, “Consultants help you look through the windshield and see where you are going.”
Ease to do business
Some operators keep a minimal US team and outsource across the world. This could be problematic due to the differences in time zones slowing down the work, or having a language barrier that requires more middlemen. “It’s an opportunity for error,” Lane says. Don’t let your project be the one that they use to get through a learning curve. All of these factors contribute to how easy it is to do business with the solution partner.
Getting complex projects off the ground or stalled projects across the finish line is hard enough to do even with the right solution partner. Failing to spend enough time and energy on the vendor selection process can have catastrophic results with major repercussions. However, choosing the right solution partner can get you recognition and bring the rewards that a superstar deserves.