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PODCAST: Listen to Kareem Tawansi and Brett Raven discuss how important it is to choose the right implementation partner when transitioning to the Cloud

Selecting a Cloud implementation partner in many ways is more of an intimate decision than choosing a Cloud Services Provider. This is an organisation that you will have continual interactions with and as such there are a number of factors that must be considered.

The Technical
Firstly, do they have the right technical capabilities? Are they proficient with your chosen technical stack – is it something the eat, drink and breath (so to speak)? Then, what is their track record like, not only in the technical domain but also in your market? Do they understand your market and your business, and can they add value for you?

The Cultural
And finally, and probably most importantly, how does their culture fit with yours? In fact, without cultural fit the other factors are meaningless. You need an organisation that works symbiotically with yours. People who get what you’re about and are always looking out for your best interests.

A Method To Their Madness
On top of this, they need a mature but flexible methodology. While there is usually a lot of information about best practice out there, implementing it well generally comes from experience. It comes from experimentation, including trial and error. It also comes from continuous improvement. And very importantly, while it does provide a level of governance it needs to be flexibly and modifiable (through the right approval process).

A Long-Term Relationship
A successful relationship with an implementation partner is likely to last for years. That is because software is not a stagnate animal; successful software is constantly evolving. As such you need to be constantly working with your implementation partner on how to keep your software fresh, maximally functional, and constantly giving you a return on investment. This is not an exercise in coding, it is an exercise in pragmatism, making sure that every dollar you spend is delivering maximum value. To do this requires them to be constantly questioning and testing your thinking. And to be able to do that in a constructive way requires some pretty decent communication skills.

Share The Pain
A desirable partner is one that recognise that their success sits on the shoulders of yours. As such, if you are suffering, they need to dig deep and help you through it. You might think this is obvious, but you would be surprised how many vendors will focus on the details of the agreed scope when you’re in a sticky situation and you need them to think outside of the box. At the end of the day both parties have to win from the relationship, so that may mean at times that the focus of the relationship will shift to one or the other of the parties.

Select Well and Trust
Further to this, if you have a truly aligned partner, they will not only understand your business objectives, but they will also align theirs to yours. To achieve this, however, you need to treat them as a true partner. If you have the right partner, then the more you share with them the better the outcome for both of you. If you are not comfortable sharing the big picture with them and feel compelled to give them only parcels of work, maybe they are not the right partner for you.

It’s Only Cheaper If It Works
And people too often mistake cheapness and value. If you shop around and choose a partner on day rate, I can guarantee you that you will be leaving money on the table. By that I mean that either you will not be getting the maximum return for your dollars spent or you will end up paying more for rework because a less-than-optimal approach was taken. As I’m often heard saying “it’s only cheaper if it works”.

So Let’s get it Right!
So, the takeaway is, make sure you select a culturally compatible partner that is experienced, competent and whose business objectives are aligned with yours. In doing so, make sure you shop on value and not price and remember that this is an ongoing relationship, so it has to work for both parties. With all that in place, success is there for the taking.

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