“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is a success.” Henry Ford
As IT departments increasingly evolve with the strategic needs of their organisation, so too is it incumbent on your technology partners to do the same. So, when considering technology partners, how do we ensure that “working together is a success”? While organisation’s all have unique challenges in this arena, there are some consistent themes that are integral to establishing a strong strategic partnership:
- Are you clear on your short, mid and longer term goals? Whether it be a comprehensive IT strategy, or a simple list of road mapped transformation projects. Are you clear on the why, what, how, who and when?
- Have you shared your plan/roadmap with your technology partners? Full disclosure is key to enabling your partner to not only deliver their products/services more comprehensively but encourage pro-active thought leadership (if you limit the view, you limit the partnership).
- Are there clear and structured engagements with your partners to allow focus on your strategic initiatives? Too often, BAU/Tactical activities consume our partner engagement. By prioritising time for your strategy, you ensure that your partner does as well.
- Have you established internal partner reviews to align with your roadmap? Partner reviews too often only occur when the contract is up, an annual or bi-annual review of the relationship (typically when refreshing your plan/roadmap) will provide opportunity for your partner to meet and understand current (and/or evolving) expectations.
Ultimately, a strategic partnership is defined as two parties working towards a mutually beneficial outcome. In that way, by defining and communicating your desired outcomes, you set the path towards genuine strategic partnership.