If you’re shopping for software, that often means shopping for an implementation partner as well. This can be difficult because, unlike the software, partners don’t often come with specifications, comparison guides, or lists of features.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the last 30 years, choosing the right-sized technology partner is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. It’s so critical, in fact, we wrote a book about it which you can download and read at your convenience.
Why is choosing the right technology partner so important?
In addition to the cost of the software solution itself, the decision-making, implementation, training, and ongoing support all represent their own cost of both money and time. And on the flip side, choosing a partner that’s not the best fit can result in wasted time, poor financial insight, and expensive lost opportunities.
Maybe you prefer a large, global company. Or, perhaps, a more personal or local software partner like Express would fit your company’s needs and culture better. A right-sized technology partner with a high-touch approach is able to get to know your business on a deeper level so you ensure you select the right software, enjoy a smooth implementation, utilize the software effectively, and take advantage of continuous market opportunities that enable your business to grow.
What should you ask when looking for a software partner?
There are many questions you will want to ask, but these four key questions should be at the top of your list to choose a technology partner who will add value to your solution and navigate your business towards financial success.
- Does the partner have expertise in the technology solutions I might need?
A “one-size-fits-all” approach simply doesn’t work when it comes to accounting software – different solutions are best for different markets. The partner you choose should have experience implementing software that’s a good fit for your business. A partner who doesn’t specialize in solutions that meet your specific needs may not be able to offer personalized service at a good value.
- Does this partner fit with my specific business, size, and industry needs?
In addition to understanding the solution you want, a right-sized technology partner should have a good understanding of what issues might be unique to your size, business, and industry. When you’re considering a partner, ask them if they’ve worked with other companies like yours. In addition to having prior experience with similar businesses, the partner should demonstrate a willingness to learn more about you specifically, which leads us to the next question…
- Is the partner personable and attentive, with a culture that aligns with ours?
Do they show an interest in the problems your business and employees are facing and display a true desire to solve them? Do the partner’s values match up to yours? Finding a partner whose culture aligns with your own will make communication and goal-setting easier, and will help you achieve the best possible outcome.
- Will the partner prioritize my business’s success rather than their bottom line?
This goes hand-in-hand with finding a partner who’s personable and attentive. Do you trust this partner to recommend the best solutions for you, even if they won’t make as much money in the bargain? Do you fully believe that they’ll pay attention to the right details, but not drag out the implementation just for the sake of their revenue?
Finding the right partner is just as important as finding the right software solution. You need to trust the team that will be helping you transform your business operations. You can receive tremendous value from a right-sized technology partner, just as much as you can lose money by working with a partner who’s not a good fit.
While these 4 questions cover the basics, here are a few more to put on your list:
- Do they offer a support plan that’s a good value for your business?
- Will they prioritize your implementation timeline even if you’re not their largest client?
- What training options will you have for ongoing learning and onboarding new employees?