Your first boyfriend or girlfriend. You remember how that maybe ended badly? Should you have broken up earlier? There is something that keeps us bound to dysfunctional relationships when we are younger (hopefully we have grown).
In business, why do we repeat these relationship mistakes with our software providers?
Because, even as the relationship ceases to work for us, our optimism hangs in there in hopes it will get better. It doesn’t. This dysfunction often drags out as a co-dependent relationship that both you and your service provider cling to.
Dump it. You will be glad you did. But what are the lessons we learned? You want to avoid your past mistakes. To do that you need to understand you and your vendors responsibilities and boundaries in the new relationship.
And this is how you do it:
Over communicate. Your new relationship is a dance between you and your provider. You spend time together getting to know what you need and how they can help you fulfill all your requirements and wish lists. With most software providers the team that sold you the software is not the one implementing – making that dance even more important with a shifting team.
When we start dating, we shave, shower and put our best foot forward, right? It’s not different with a new software provider. Make sure your best people are a part of the implementation team. Ensure your team does its homework when it comes to current software and operational processes. Meet well in advance with your team to review the findings and map out what you want your future processes to look like before you even engage the vendor. Remember, software is a tool, its up to you how you use it.
You never show up late for the first date, do you? Well same goes here. Make sure you respect the project schedule and keep your word when it comes to action items.
But you are one half of this relationship. Your date (whoops provider) owns the other half. You know what a bad relationship looks like, so you want to be sure you steer clear of that. Here is what you should expect from your provider in this new relationship:
You are not looking for a one-night stand. You want a long-term relationship that will meet your needs. You need to be compatible. The new provider’s staff needs to be knowledgeable in your vertical and engaged in the implementation process. You will instinctively know right away if the assigned team won’t be a good fit. If it isn’t, speak up! Your new provider also needs to commit to project continuity. It is very important that your provider commit resources that will be involved for the entire lifecycle of your project. A revolving door of vendor staff throughout the life of the project will add time, expense and risk to your project.
To build trust in this new relationship your new provider must provide you accurate financial estimates about implementation costs. If they don’t your enmity grow like a relationship with someone who won’t leave the couch and their favorite bag of chips.
Make sure they are punctual. Meeting deliverables on time in the software world is one of the best ways to know you have found a reliable, ethical provider.
Finally, ensure your project has a champion within the software provider. This could be the an executive, sales rep or director of services. Keep this champion on speed dial. The minute you think things aren’t going to plan contact them. Hoping for the best never works out!
Okay, so what have we done here?
We established the ground rules for both parties, we engaged in a meaningful way to build a relationship, and we have created solid lines of communication. That will translate into a happy, healthy relationship where we learn from each other and you both are all stronger in the end.
And who doesn’t like a happy ending?
At Infolog, we believe the sale of our software is just the beginning of a long term, mutually rewarding relationship. Happy customers breed great success stories of the quality of our solutions. Contact Infolog today to find out more!