Should You Use the Same Implementation Partner for Different Projects?

Should You Use the Same Implementation Partner for Different Projects?

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Author: Sarah Pultorak

Coordinating multiple software implementations is challenging, even if they are spread out over time. There are hundreds of decisions you will need to make for each implementation and your most important choice is which software implementation (SI) partner you work with for each project. 

On one hand, you may consider contracting a different solution specialist for each implementation. Alternatively, you may work with the same partner for multiple projects. 

At Canidium, we work with clients to implement multiple different software solutions. We have developed long-term partnerships with our clients, helping them navigate their digital transformation successfully. We take pride in being a full-service SI partner dedicated to providing a wide range of innovative and customized solutions. Our diverse range of services allows us to address each client's unique challenges and requirements, ensuring the optimal integration and functionality of their technology systems. 

In addition to our comprehensive integration services, we offer strategic services aimed at providing our clients with the insights and tools they need to thrive in a competitive landscape.

Based on this experience, this article explains why working with a long-term partner is often more beneficial than seeking specialization by going over the following topics:

 

Risks of Relying on an SI Partner for Multiple Implementations 

When entrusting a single Software Implementation (SI) partner with multiple implementations, several risks must be considered:

  • Lack of Specialization: One of the primary concerns is that your long-term SI partner may not always have specialized expertise in the specific software solutions your projects require. Specialization is crucial in complex implementations where deep technical knowledge can significantly impact the success and precision of the project.
  • Skill Gaps: While an SI partner familiar with your business processes and systems brings many advantages, they might not possess the cutting-edge skills or up-to-date knowledge needed for every new technology or software solution your company wishes to implement.
  • Dependency Risks: Over-reliance on a single SI partner can create a dependency that might limit your flexibility in responding to new market demands or technological advancements. This dependency could also pose a risk if the partnership deteriorates or if the SI partner's business stability is compromised.

Despite these concerns, the benefits of maintaining a long-term partnership often outweigh the potential limitations of specialization. The value of a trusted relationship built over time can be substantial. Long-term partners become deeply integrated with a company's operations. They are uniquely positioned to understand the technical requirements and the strategic business objectives that drive technology decisions. This deep integration allows long-term SI partners to adapt to new challenges effectively. Even if they lack immediate expertise in a new area, their commitment to the client's success and their proven track record of acquiring the necessary skills make them reliable. 

Specialization Vs. Partnership

While specialization is crucial, the holistic benefits of a long-term partnership, such as deep business integration, commitment to client success, and adaptability, provide more comprehensive value. This history often makes long-term partnerships more valuable than switching between specialized vendors for various projects.

 

The Benefits of Bundling Implementation Services

There are numerous potential approaches to implementing multiple software solutions. You may choose to work with various vendors for different implementation services. However, one strategy that has gained prominence is bundling implementation services through long-term partnerships with a single SI partner. This approach not only streamlines the management of technology projects but also leverages the profound advantages of having a dedicated partner who deeply understands the nuances of your business.

The benefits of bundling implementation services with a trusted SI partner encompass commitment, accountability, trust, and process familiarity. These elements work synergistically to enhance the overall quality of service delivery and project success. 

A committed partner is more likely to invest in the success of each project as part of a broader relationship, ensuring they deliver value that extends beyond the immediate requirements. Accountability is heightened as the partner maintains a keen interest in sustaining a positive, productive relationship. Trust, built over multiple engagements, allows for open communication and more effective problem-solving. At the same time, process familiarity ensures the partner can efficiently navigate your company's unique operational landscape, predicting challenges and tailoring solutions to meet specific needs.

In the following sections, we will delve deeper into each of these benefits:

 

1. Pre Established Trust

When selecting a software implementation partner, trusting a well-established relationship can be more beneficial than focusing solely on technical expertise. Imagine you are running a company that needs to implement various technologies. The traditional approach might be shopping for vendors with the best resumes. However, consider the advantages of working with a provider you already trust, even if they lack specific experience in the area you need.

Choosing a trusted partner means working with a team whose primary commitment is to do right by you, the customer. This approach is deeply embedded in their operational DNA—they are dedicated to ensuring your needs are met, even if it means venturing into uncharted territory. For instance, if you tasked your trusted software partner with a new project they wouldn't shy away. Instead, they would leverage their skills in gathering requirements and managing projects to determine your needs. They would find the right experts to fill gaps, ensuring the project's success.

This flexibility is crucial. Your trusted partner is committed to finding solutions that fit your needs and your company culture, distinguishing them from other vendors who might give up if your demands exceed their immediate capabilities. With a trusted partner, you're not just another project but a long-term relationship they value. They are prepared to make commitments and stick to them. This dedication to going beyond the transactional aspects of business and focusing on genuine, mutually beneficial relationships can lead to better outcomes for your projects.

On the other hand, when you choose to use a new implementation partner, you must go through the vetting process. You also will be taking a gamble on the quality of the partnership rather than turning to an implementation services provider you already trust to champion your best interests.

When you choose a software implementation partner you trust, you invest in a partnership prepared to adapt, learn, and grow alongside your business. This approach secures your immediate needs and fortifies your strategic capabilities for future challenges.

 

2. Process Familiarity

Process familiarity between a software implementation partner and a client provides significant advantages. The collaboration becomes more streamlined and effective when both parties are well-acquainted with each other's methods and expectations. 

One key benefit of process familiarity is the efficiency of requirement gathering. An implementation partner who has worked with your company will deeply understand your business needs, workflows, challenges, and systems. This allows them to quickly and accurately determine what needs to be delivered without the lengthy exploratory phases typically required with a new partner. Their insight into your business means they can anticipate problems and tailor solutions that align closely with your operational goals.

When the software partner is familiar with the client's processes, they are better equipped to manage projects smoothly. They understand the typical hurdles and know how to navigate your company's bureaucracy or any unique aspects of your organizational structure. This familiarity reduces the risk of miscommunications and project delays, making the implementation process more predictable and less prone to error.

The established trust and process knowledge become even more crucial when the required solution falls outside the partner's primary expertise. The partner's proficiency in managing projects and ability to recruit and vet the right talent to fill gaps ensure they can still deliver high-quality outcomes. They are not just relying on their existing knowledge; they are also capable of effectively extending their capabilities to meet your specific needs.

From the client's perspective, knowing the SI partner's implementation stages and methods adds a layer of comfort and predictability. Clients can better prepare, align their internal resources more efficiently, and have realistic project timelines and milestone expectations.

Overall, the benefits of process familiarity include faster project initiation, tailored solutions that reflect an in-depth understanding of the client's needs, and smoother execution with fewer surprises. This synergy enhances the project's effectiveness and reinforces the long-term relationship between the client and the software partner, paving the way for future collaboration.

 

3. Greater Accountability

A long-term partnership with your implementation partner fosters a deep sense of accountability, translating into numerous benefits for your company. When you engage with an SI partner over multiple projects and years, a unique dynamic of trust and responsibility develops. This established relationship streamlines the collaboration process and ensures that your SI partner is profoundly invested in your success.

A long-standing SI partner has "skin in the game." They have a vested interest in maintaining the trust built over time. This investment drives them to be direct and honest about their capabilities and more committed to meeting your needs. They are less likely to overpromise and underdeliver because they understand that their relationship with you and future business depends on their performance now.

At the same time, an SI partner who is deeply integrated into your business can also more effectively recruit and vet the necessary talent to fill any gaps for specific projects. This ensures that capable hands handle all aspects of a project, whether those skills were initially available in-house or not.

A long-term SI partnership results in a mutual commitment to success. Your SI partner doesn't just see each project as a standalone transaction but as part of a continuing relationship. They are more likely to go above and beyond to deliver results, even if it means making financial sacrifices. This commitment can lead to better project outcomes, fewer surprises, and a more robust, strategic partnership that can adapt to new challenges.

 

4. Enhanced Commitment

When an SI partner is intricately familiar with your business through long-standing engagement, they are significantly more invested in your outcomes. This investment manifests in a proactive project management and solution delivery approach, ensuring they meet and often exceed your expectations. For instance, when faced with a project in an area outside their core expertise, a trusted SI partner is likely to leverage their relationship with you to take on new challenges confidently. They prioritize finding practical solutions and delivering results, knowing that their success is tied directly to your satisfaction and the continuation of the partnership.

A committed SI partner also understands the importance of continuity in service delivery. They know your history, systems, and people, enabling them to provide consistent and reliable service. This consistency is crucial during project rollouts, as they offer managed services and support. They are better equipped to handle the complexities of your business because they have a comprehensive understanding of how various elements within your organization interact.

The enhanced commitment of a long-term SI partner leads to more tailored service delivery, quicker adaptation to project needs, and a readiness to go above and beyond to ensure project success. While most of this focus is on project implementation and adaptation, the same level of commitment naturally extends into managed services, where their deep understanding of your business environment allows them to maintain and enhance your software systems over time effectively.

 

Real Client Perspective on SI Partnership: Trust Over Time

Several years ago, Canidium implemented an SAP Commissions solution for a client. The success of the implementation and the ongoing support provided through the partnership led the client to trust Canidium as a resource and associate.

The client then asked Canidium to bid on their Pricefx implementation project even though, at the time, we had not yet developed our pricing team. Still, the client trusted in the long-term partnership they had established with our team, and we successfully designed, configured, and implemented a robust pricing solution for the company. Now, we practice Pricefx implementations with a dedicated team of experienced solution specialists and experts, showing that committed SI partners can quickly expand their skill set to meet new client demands.

Now, Canidium is actively implementing SAP's Territory and Quota Management module for this client. As with the Pricefx project, the decision to invite the same partner was primarily driven by the trust and operational familiarity that had been established. Despite not having prior experience with this module, Canidium was considered because of our proven adaptability and commitment to understanding and meeting the client's unique needs.

This real-world experience exemplifies how fostering a long-term partnership with a dedicated SI partner can be more beneficial than engaging a new specialist vendor for every new solution.

 

Determining if Choosing the Same SI Partner Is Best for You

A good software services vendor isn't just a provider but a strategic ally genuinely invested in your success. They will not only meet your immediate project needs but will also align with your broader business objectives. This means they should actively seek to understand your challenges, propose solutions in your best interest, and be willing to learn new skills when needed.

A true partner can forge a mutually beneficial relationship where both parties are committed to each other's success. Suppose a vendor does not ask for a fair and respectful relationship or show a commitment to long-term collaboration. In that case, it might indicate they are not the right fit for your business needs. 

When choosing a software implementation partner, prioritize those willing to invest in a relationship that grows and evolves with your business. This strategic approach ensures that you benefit from technical expertise and a partnership that contributes to sustained business success.

These relationships foster a deep-seated commitment from the partner, ensuring they go above and beyond contractual obligations to support your objectives. They also bring heightened accountability, as the partner is more invested in delivering consistent, high-quality results to maintain and strengthen the relationship. Trust builds through repeated successful engagements, creating a foundation of confidence that the partner will handle new challenges effectively and with your best interests in mind. Finally, process familiarity means the partner comprehensively understands your business workflows, systems, and challenges. This enables them to anticipate needs and tailor their approaches more precisely, leading to smoother project executions and adaptations.

Now that you understand the benefits of choosing the same SI partner for multiple projects, your next step is to develop a long-term partnership. Read more about selecting a long-term software implementation partner.