Startups who look for a technology partner and settle for the high-priced ones, don’t necessarily make a smart move. There is always a risk of their project getting delayed by months, or ending up with a lackluster product.
Strategies to discover the right technology partner has changed, and even the considerations.
The perfect technology partners deeply care about an idea and its realization. They don’t shy away from disruption and innovation. It sounds simple, but you really need to dig deep and communicate with vendors to the core, to evaluate them on these parameters.
You must look for a team having high-functioning, seasoned developers who can technically adapt to different products.
Following are some of the considerations while zeroing on your technology partner:
Your RFP (Request for proposal) should stand out
If your social or professional network doesn’t have technology partners, then certainly you don’t have any inroads.
In such a scenario, the quality of your RFP matters a lot, to get the best of responses from different vendors.
Your RFP needs to be crystal clear in the way it explains your requirements. Vendors should be able to understand your idea in one look.
Here are the 4 key things that you must consider while preparing your RFP:
Organizational view: Try to give vendors a peek into your organizational structure. They must know about your motivation and vision as a company. Then only they can write a relevant proposal.
Deliverables and specifications: Don’t see your RFP like an initial interaction, as then you may end up putting forward your requirements in a broad manner. So don’t have that approach, and be as upfront and detailed as you can.
Project goals: Specifications tell half of the story only. Technology partners must understand what you want to achieve with your project? The intangible aspect of your project. The philosophy behind your project. If they know your project to that extent, then they can tell you various implementation tactics.
Vendors past: Successful vendors won’t hesitate to share their past engagements with you. So freely ask for case studies in your RFP. This will filter out the less serious vendors.
If your RFP is good, then vendors can better align with your expectations and deliver quality solutions. They can estimate the budget and timelines more accurately.
The other side of the coin
There are vendors who give “template response” to RFPs, due to lack of resources. Such responses may have little to do with the solution you want. So be aware of such templates.
The role of technology partners is to improvise on the knowledge you provide them. Don’t see them as empaths or psychics who can read your minds.
Explain your product to them, and they will help you built the best version of it. They will innovate for you and will solve your problems. But first, you need to explain your product.
Break down every feature and functionality, the workflow, the user journey, etc, and include all this in your RFP.
This way you can evade those “template responses”. By creating a comprehensive RFP, you will come across as a knowledgeable and serious entrepreneur. So vendors who aren’t that serious and don’t really care much about your product, won’t respond to you, as they know their bluff will be called.
If Price is the only barometer for you, then you are at fault
Great technology partners focus on creating product’s USP. They focus on creating something relevant and meaningful.
They have a passion for solving a problem and understanding whether the product will work in the given socio-economic paradigm or not.
Therefore, you too must assess technology partners on other parameters and not just on pricing. It’s a complex discovery and a lot of communication needs to be done.
Choosing a technology partner is not like shopping on an e-commerce site.
Take testimonials seriously
As mentioned above, top technology partners don’t shy away from sharing case studies or flaunting testimonials on their websites. They have done wonders for their clients and have all the right to do so.
Do read their case studies and testimonials with utter seriousness, but do some background check. If they aren’t shy then you shouldn’t feel shy either, to ask them about their past projects.
Get in touch with their happy customers and learn about their expertise, capability, and trustworthiness. Try to know how innovative were they in the entire process, or whether they brought something new to the table or not.
See how deadline-friendly a vendor has been
This is an extension of the previous point.
While discovering about your potential technology partner, try to know how open they have been to agile methodologies in the past, or how flexible have they been to accommodate iterations and quickly solve the problem at hand?
Try to know how deadline-friendly they have been.
In case there were delays in delivering the expected, what were the reasons for that?
Although speed may not be the right indicator of someone’s ability to take on big projects, it can still tell how responsive and proactive someone is.
The one who is transparent is your best bet
You need to have an honest and to the point discussion with vendors, who are in line to become your technology partner. The one who transparently put forward everything should be your go-to vendor.
You should discuss each other’s goals for the project, and each other’s expectations from the project. It’s important that you learn about your technology partner’s resources so that you can set reasonable deadlines.
Look for someone who has a mechanism to keep you updated at all times regarding the tasks assigned, and has a straightforward roadmap of project accomplishments, broken into milestones and sprints.
The journey from ideation to fruition is a long one. Therefore, putting forward your expectations and understanding your technology partner’s approach towards product development is paramount. Otherwise, a communication breakdown will be around the corner.
It’s important that you like each other as professionals, and the way to take on challenges. If you choose a technology partner having a different culture than yours, then do read of our write-up on tackling the cultural issues with your business partner.
Hope you like this write-up. All that we have written above is nothing but our experience as a technology partner. We have been into this role for many years now, turning so many ideas into successful products.