Businesses want a technology partner they can rely on. One that'll stand behind their word and help your business in multiple ways. But from the outside looking in, how do you know whether or not the partner you're considering is a partner who will deliver?
Look for these key things:
1. They Listen
Whether a relationship is personal or professional, you can’t overstate the importance of communication. Clear, thorough communication is essential to partnership, and when it comes to a technology provider, the importance is clear. Sometimes, it can seem like technology providers are speaking an entirely different language. I mean, have you ever stood by while two IT experts have an in-depth conversation?
A great technology provider knows how to explain things on different levels — even highly complex concepts can be broken down and understood by a non-technical individual. It just requires some time and effort. And figuring how to break down concepts so others understand? That is where listening comes in. When you hear someone out, it’s much easier to determine where they’re coming from and meet them where they’re at.
2. They Believe in Your Technology Goals
In a partnership between a business and a technology provider, there are two sides with their own expertise. The business is an expert within its industry and the products and services offered. The technology provider is an expert in, well, technology. It’s up to the technology provider to determine how to best apply their services to support the business. And that conversation begins with goals.
There are near-endless options and strategies when it comes to applying technology solutions. There truly is no one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, it depends on what goals the business brings to the table. When both parties have a clear understanding (and excitement!) about your business goals, it’s a good indicator that your prospective technology provider is a good fit.
3. Their Offerings are Built to Scale
Now, when a business reaches their goals, what happens? They experience success, there’s a little something to celebrate and growth occurs. When a business grows, things tend to change. They might outgrow their existing infrastructure and need to look at how they can support themselves in the coming years, as growth continues.
One thing you don’t want to outgrow is your technology provider. Sometimes, smaller outfits lack the depth of staff and resources to meet the needs of growing organizations. If that’s the case, consider partnering with a technology provider that’s poised to grow with you.
4. They Maintain Long-Standing Client Relationships
One way to get a feel for how a technology partnership will work for your business is by inquiring about their existing client relationships. How long do their partnerships tend to last? Do companies stay with them for three years? Five years? How about 10+ years? The length of a technology provider’s client relationships will provide insights into the longevity you can expect if you choose to partner with them.
5. Their Services are Inclusive and Offer What You Need
Although the relationship components are extremely important, it’s always going to come down to whether or not a provider has the services your business needs. Taking the time to inquire about a given provider’s support desk structure, approach to strategic planning, technology assessments, 24/7 monitoring, disaster recovery services and security services will pay off in the long run.
After all, the last thing you want to do is enter into a technology partnership that isn’t capable of meeting your unique needs. By looking for these five key things, you’ll set your business up for success with its next technology provider.