Choosing a Digital Transformation Partner

The technologies being used in a business setting have advanced rapidly in recent years. The current wave of technology being deployed in businesses focuses on improved daily operations, with companies improving their efficiency and level of output significantly. However as technologies such as cloud and VoIP become the norm, the way in which we work is changing also.

Companies often feel a reluctance to embrace these technologies due to an “if it ain’t broke” attitude or unwillingness to make a huge change to the running of the business that might prove disruptive in the short term. Many of the concerns surrounding digital transformation stem from a misunderstanding of how difficult the process is. A KPMG survey of 400 CEOs has shown an unwillingness to embrace digital transformation at board level, with CEOs acknowledging that they don’t trust the data presented to them from the latest wave of analytics applications. The most important step to beginning your company’s digital transformation journey is choosing a great partner to consult on the process of your digital transformation, and propose the solution that will best help you realise these goals.

So how do you go about choosing a digital transformation partner?

One step at a time

Firstly, digital transformation covers a huge amount of positive changes to your business and you shouldn’t attempt too many at once. Decide on the areas you wish to tackle before even beginning to choose a partner to help make them happen. Start with a few goals that will be the most beneficial to your workforce and a great partner will work with you on your project to make these happen. For example, what would make your employees more productive or benefit your business greatest in the shortest space of time? Have employees asked to be able to work from home or bring their own laptop to work? Has a need for cloud storage been raised by employees? Has a lack of communication or collaboration amongst employees been noted by management?

Understanding your needs

The partner you choose needs to understand your business inside out. They must be able to completely get to grips with what you and your employees do and how you do it as part of the process of digital transformation. By doing so, they will be better placed to understand what your business needs and what technology will have the most positive effects on your way of working. They should also fully understand the needs of the IT manager, as well as the overall business goals. A good partner will approach the situation like a blank piece of paper, listening to your needs and concerns whilst getting a feel for the company culture before meeting with managers and department heads to facilitate a workshop that will help assess what each person and department needs from the project. They’ll then work with you on a roadmap for your digital transformation, discussing the solutions they propose to help realise your digital transformation goals only when they know your business and its way of working inside out.

Proven track record

The partner you choose should have many satisfied long standing clients. If they’re going to help you change your business processes and ways of working positively through digital transformation, it’s only right that they’re able to show you evidence of them having performed the same tasks at other businesses.  Don’t be afraid to ask to see case studies or evidence of the work they’ve done for others and the positive affects it’s had for those businesses.

Partnerships and qualifications

A great partner will be accredited with the technology companies they use. This is important as it shows that the manufacturer, for example Microsoft or Fortinet, trust the partner not only to use their products correctly, but to also recommend the right solutions for the client’s needs. Qualifications from the manufacturer in question are also important to demonstrate that the manufacturer has trained the partner’s support team on how to use and troubleshoot the solutions they’ve recommended for you.

Managed support is essential

The partner who has deployed the technology should not only sell you the solution they recommend, but manage it for you too. This means the partner’s trained engineers will monitor the product remotely, check for any issues that may arise and resolve them as soon as possible. You should also have named contacts that you can call should you have any concerns or questions about your service.

A guarantee

A partner confident in their support service will offer a guarantee known as a service level agreement. This is a document that outlines the measures they will take to maintain your products, and the work they will carry out on the solution should there ever be an issue. If a company doesn’t offer this, you have no written evidence of what has been agreed as a satisfactory level of service from the company and its solutions, which may make things difficult should there ever be a fault with the technology they’ve deployed.

The right partner will make the process of adopting new technology an easy one, allowing you to focus less on the actual process of digital transformation itself, and more on what this transformation and your new solution will do for your business.