5 min read

7 Non-Negotiables When Choosing an Atlassian Business Partner

By Katie Thomas on Dec 8, 2020 2:25:00 PM

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Ask any project manager what the number one contributor to a successful project result is, and they will tell you that it’s having the right people on the team. That goes for vendors too. Because behind every consulting gig are people making decisions that influence your company’s future. 


The decision to select an Atlassian Business Partner is a big one. The stakes are high, with perhaps millions of dollars and people’s careers hanging in the balance. A bad vendor decision could haunt you for a decade or longer. 

The process to choose a vendor usually starts with a referral or by viewing the Atlassian Partner Directory. However, with over 50 Platinum Partners distributed across the globe, it can be overwhelming. After visiting a few of the partner websites, you may be no closer to a decision.

Christian_Lane

Christian Lane, CEO of Praecipio Consulting, an Atlassian Platinum Partner, offers his thoughts on how to approach the partner selection process to ensure your project is delivered on time and within budget. 

 

He starts by sharing his recommended list of “must-haves.” In his opinion, any vendors not having these should be immediately disqualified. 

Look for relevant experience

To be approved as an Atlassian Partner, you must have smart people. All companies can easily add up the years experience among their people and come up with an impressive number. But that’s not the differentiator between firms. Don’t accept a general numerical answer. Dig deeper and ask for specific experience in your industry and what the scope of those projects were. 

Executive involvement

There is nothing more frustrating than dealing with a person that isn’t empowered to make decisions. You want top levels of management to be familiar with your project and understand its strategic value. This way they can apply their leadership and senior experience to add value. You want them to ask questions about workflow, reporting, integrations, and how it relates to the overall goal of the project.  

Rate of repeat business

As the saying goes, “The best predictor of future success is past behavior.”  Ask the vendor about their rate of return business. It’s perhaps the clearest indicator of a company's performance and customer satisfaction. Lane adds, “72% of our business last year was from repeat clients. Any competent firm should be able to tell you their number. If they don’t know it, that's a red flag in itself.” 

Percentage of revenue from change orders

Avoid the bait and switch. Managers want to deal in absolutes when it comes to money and time required to get the job done. You don’t want to fall in a trap of working with a vendor only to be told that your request wasn’t included in the original scope. For example, at Praecipio Consulting, we have a defined process to expose any and all needs of a project. By clearly defining the work from the start, you avoid missed expectations and expensive changes. For our team, this process starts with defining the problem in the sales process and includes engineers and other technical people. If there are any limitations or features to add for the solution, they contribute to the conversation. All parties move in lockstep, and a delivery commitment is made. The process has proven to work, as only 2% of our revenue last year came from change orders. Lastly, pay attention to how much value is delivered before the signed contract. 

Listed in the Atlassian Partner Directory

Only choose a partner from the official Atlassian Partner Directory. These companies have demonstrated their expertise and willingness to dedicate themselves to the software. They have to make an investment to be included, and their business model revolves around partner support. Using any other firm not vetted by Atlassian should be approached with extreme caution and is not recommended. 

Platinum Partners have the most experience and have been doing this type of work the longest. They have been recognized as the best and have inside knowledge about new products, features, and beta testing. For example, our leadership team members have participated in panels, councils, and have had an influence in building the software and program itself. 

What do they stand for? 

Commonly referred to as mission, vision, and values, look for what drives the vendor beyond earning revenue. Do they share your same morals and values? Besides words on a website, do they walk the walk on issues like social justice and environmentalism? Lane says he has seen more customers comment recently on their social injustice stance and Praecipio Consulting's commitment to the 1% pledge initiative. “We’ve always been socially aware and decided to build a company that leaves the world better than we found it. I’m proud of our ideals. As part of our hiring process, we want to make sure employees can get behind our causes and work toward the greater good. When clients recognize our efforts, it fuels our fire to want to do more.”  

Net Promoter Score

Ask vendors what their Net Promoter Score (NPS) is. NPS is a commonly accepted simple score of how likely customers are to refer you to their peers.

  • 0-6 are detractors, meaning they will tell people to stay away from your firm and NOT hire you.
  • 7-8 are passive promoters, meaning they will praise you when asked
  • 9-10 are active promoters, meaning they will go out of their way to tell peers about your good work 

Praecipio Consulting holds a lifetime NPS score of 71 (for context, the industry benchmark for software and tech companies is 28). Our team is proud of this score because they put so much heart into every project and seeing their clients' delight with their work is the ultimate payoff. 

Lane adds that the less quantifiable metric is “Ease to do business with.” Entering an agreement to work with an Atlassian Partner is a big commitment in terms of time. Are they responsive and U.S. based? Are they flexible and adaptable? And do you enjoy working with them? There has to be good chemistry to get the best result. Lane concludes, “Business is hard enough as it is sometimes. Don’t spend your valuable time working with difficult people. Control all the variables you can and make the most informed partner choice you can.”

 

Topics: do-good pledge-1% nps atlassian-solution-partner social-justice
4 min read

How and When to Choose the Right Atlassian Solution Partner

By Christian Lane on Jun 18, 2020 11:44:49 AM

2020 Blogposts_How and When to Chose the Right Atlassian Partner Support

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 partner selection process.

Research 

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 LanePraecipio 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.”

 christian-lane

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?

The method

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.

Read more about the different tiers of service here.

Topics: atlassian atlassian-products nps atlassian-solution-partner

Praecipio Consulting is an Atlassian Platinum Partner

This means that we have the most experience working with Atlassian tools and have insight into new products, features, and beta testing. Through our profound knowledge of Atlassian environments and their intricacies, we can guide your organization as you navigate these important changes.

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