What to look for in a digital transformation partner

What to look for in a digital transformation partner

Jack Gill

14 October 2021 - 6 min read

Digital TransformationWeb ApplicationsMobile Applications
What to look for in a digital transformation partner

Digital transformations are in full effect. Companies globally are collaborating with partners to improve performance, find new revenue streams, and provide compelling customer experiences that support their goals.

In fact, nearly ¾ of all business leaders believe that partnerships are the only way to ensure future success, with the majority of respondents putting partnerships as their main priority. 

Finding the right partner is crucial to achieving your objectives. Transformations take a lot of time, effort and resources, so it’s worth investing in a solid partner who can objectively review the needs of your users; someone who can enable your company to improve revenue and customer relationships by delivering fit-for-purpose, scalable technology solutions.

This article identifies some of the qualities you should look for in your prospective partner.

Laying the foundations 

20% of companies see a lack of technology partners as a common obstacle to achieving digital transformation success. Indeed, if your partner is someone who actively works with the organisation and compliments your business strategy, then their absence would certainly be detrimental to the success of projects. 

The best partners understand that each technology project is different and will alter their approach depending on the project management style that best fits your needs.

Initially, this means gaining a detailed understanding of your organisations’ current business processes. Further layers of this research might then include analysis workshops or user research meetings, both of which are designed for capturing and scrutinising requirements. 

How the project matures from here is, of course, dependent on your requirements and the discretion of your chosen provider. In projects, the overall transformation is often broken down into modular releases — ‘sprints’ — that enable users to continually refine and develop the product as it nears completion.  

If this is the path you want to take, it's critical to agree on time and resources required for each release so you and your partner can work together seamlessly. The strongest partners will maintain active communication with their clients and ensure that any modifications to the plan are communicated to them as soon as possible.

Technical expertise

If you’re an organisation looking for a digital transformation partner, chances are you’re looking for someone who can provide technical advice along your journey. Non-IT organisations, in particular, might be unsure of which tools are required to execute their transformation. 

Partners who do not perform sufficient research or lack senior-level knowledge may not be able to adequately assess an organisation’s digital transformation needs.

Ask whether a partner has a team with the skills relevant to your projects; whether they have a proven track record of providing secure, reliable, and strong business-critical digital transformation to a diverse range of clients.

It's critical to make sure that a partner's technical competence is a good match for your requirements. As you gain an understanding of your partner's expertise and approaches to working, you’ll be better equipped for crafting a watertight strategy. 

Finding a consulting firm with a variety of areas of expertise will be beneficial in this case. Having experience delivering a wide variation of projects means that partners will be able to draw on the best practices and approaches for delivering the solid outcomes based on your company’s requirements and goals.

A partner, not a provider 

A specific area to emphasise is that the relationship with your partner should be akin to a two-way partnership; consider them not a service provider but, rather, a collaborative partner.

A technology partner is a company that becomes a part of your organisation, rather than just providing you with a service, such as data storage, network security, or email. This partner not only provides you with the technology that you need to achieve your objectives, but also stands by you when you need to scale operations or alter your services. 

Your collaboration should be based on honesty and transparency; find someone who isn’t afraid to challenge your ideas. While having someone point out your competitive weaknesses may seem daunting, this diagnosis will be critical for designing your transformation approach. This process will uncover weaknesses that can be addressed and quick wins that can be achieved in the short term. 

The most successful projects are those with buy-in from both product owner and client; with people who dedicate time to review progress and provide feedback at key stages. 

Future-proof partnership

Digital transformation has no end date. Sprints and projects may have deadlines, but the overall process of ‘going digital’ should be continually improving. For this reason, it’s important to work with a partner who is just as invested in the future of your digital transformation as they are in current, ongoing developments.

An end-to-end service is like quality control; both are essential for delivering an effective product, in line with the expectations of your customers. 

And with one study finding that projects with excellent change management had a 94% chance of succeeding, it’s clear that transformation success is tied to effective leadership and partnership.  

Checklist for success 

Your partner should be more than a technology provider; it should be a cutting-edge digital transformation company with a proven track record of delivering successful transformation projects. 

Based on your present goals, they must be able to develop a well-rounded digital transformation strategy and execution plan.

They will deliver an end-to-end service that ensures consistent success, with the appropriate  support system to deal with your projects before, during, and after they are completed.

Perhaps most importantly, and what distinguishes a partner from a provider, is their commitment to continuous support. Should issues arise, you should be able to rest assured that your partner has an experienced technical team who are ready to assist where needed. 

Audacia is a leading digital transformation and software development company based in the UK with extensive experience delivering digital transformation strategies and technology projects for industry leaders. From commodities trading platforms for one of the biggest agricultural companies in the world, to systems to manage people across the biggest offshore windfarms in the world.

Want to find out how Audacia can support your digital transformation projects? Talk to us on 0113 543 1300 or at info@audacia.co.uk

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Jack Gill managed digital content at Audacia from 2021-2023. During his time at Audacia, he wrote on a number of industry topics, including technology trends, leadership and digital transformation.