Vendors vs. Partners: How to Work with an Outside Delivery Team
Purchasing software is complicated.
Meeting with each vendor is time-consuming.
It takes time to get a feel for the product.
Not to mention the day job you probably have on top of being responsible for acquiring new software solutions.
But when you do meet with each vendor, don’t just look for features.
Look for partners
If you want a tool you’ll replace in a couple of years after investing countless hours implementing it, then, by all means, don’t take my advice.
However, if you want to shore up an issue and resolve it, invite the Professional Services team to be your partner.
This is far more than using “partnership” as a matter of convenience when you want a discount or need additional help. But, of course, that is obvious and annoying to vendor partners.
A partnership is being open to the idea of discussing value with your vendor. It is about working through solutions that may not be directly related to the software but may be indirectly involved – like an ancient business process.
A strong partnership requires trust. First, the customer needs to be willing to open the kimono (ugh – I wouldn’t say I like that phrase). It then requires the vendor to truly get to know the customer’s business so that they can present new value propositions to consider – as their software evolves.
If you can discuss and pursue value together – it will help you and your partner deliver a quality solution. You’ll be able to easily justify the cost of the vendor by demonstrating quantifiable results. And the vendor will be rewarded with a long-standing relationship.
Conversely, if you treat your outside Professional Services teams like vendors, that is what you’ll get. You may find it easy to blame them, but your results will be all on you. But, of course, that trick only works so many times.
Inviting Professional Services teams in will get you there much faster and for much longer — if your goal is to get results.
References and Resources
Robert Bernshteyn – Value as a Service: Embracing the Coming Disruption
Birdhouse in Your Soul by They Might Be Giants
People Everyday by Arrested Development
Originally Posted March 15, 2018