Keeping up with the pace of technological change isn’t just an obligation in today’s rapidly changing business environment—it’s also the key to creating a powerful strategic advantage. Digital transformation doesn’t just represent ground you can’t afford to lose; it’s one of the best ways to gain ground and put distance between you and your competitors.
But one thing that can prevent you from achieving that strategic advantage is the insidious gravitational pull of the status quo. It’s easy to grow complacent and become so focused on the challenges of the present that you fail to envision the future. As the saying goes, you’re working in the business instead of on the business.
By the same token, it’s all too easy not to notice when business arrangements that are familiar and comfortable have become counterproductive, holding you back and stifling growth instead of delivering value that propels you forward, toward new goals and opportunities.
Staying Ahead of the Game
The reality is that business technology needs are continually changing. It’s a little like playing chess: if you’re not thinking several moves ahead, you’re already falling behind.
In addition to keeping up with the latest innovations driven by AI and machine learning, you need to be prepared for unforeseen disruptions caused by events like the COVID pandemic, natural disasters, political upheaval, and economic turbulence, as well as labor shortages and transformative trends like the shift to remote work.
That’s why having the right tech partner is crucial. You need a partner who can not only manage your present needs successfully, but one who can visualize the road ahead and help you continuously prepare for ongoing growth and success in the future. A partner who can provide guidance, insight, and the kind of expertise that comes from deep knowledge of the changing tech landscape across multiple industries.
So how can you tell if your tech partner is slowing you down instead of accelerating your progress?
Signs You Need to Reevaluate Your Tech Partner
- Your systems and software aren’t meeting your business needs. If your team members are losing valuable time to dealing with slow, glitchy systems and software, your tech partner may be part of the problem.
- You’re not getting clear guidance on how to take advantage of everything that current technology has to offer. This is a big one. You likely already know that there have been tremendous advances in AI-enabled systems, IoT, and cloud-based analytics that can improve everything from forecasting and planning to supply chain management and customer retention. You may also know that automation can help free up your team members from repetitive, low-level tasks so they can focus their talents on achieving higher goals. If your tech partner can’t tell you how to harness these new capabilities and guide you through the process to the payoffs, they’re not meeting your needs.
- You’re not getting timely responses and resolution of issues. Are your team members frustrated at the difficulty of getting support when they need it? Do they languish in limbo after submitting a support ticket? Do the same problems keep recurring day after day because superficial quick fixes and workarounds are being substituted for genuine solutions? If the answer to any of those questions is yes, you can do better.
- Your business goals aren’t being met. One giveaway that your technology is inadequate is that you’re falling short of the goals you set for your business. Having the right systems and software in place will put wind in your sails and help you overcome the obstacles that hold you back.
- Your customers are dissatisfied. If your customers are unhappy, your tech may be a big part of the problem. The available tools for maximizing and maintaining customer happiness are better than ever. So, if your systems are inadequate and out of date, causing delays and unfulfilled obligations, it’s time for a change. The right tech partner can help you better track and analyze customer behavior, respond and resolve issues faster, and even detect which customers you might be most likely to lose so you can take action to keep them in the fold.
- You’ve got poor user adoption. It’s not enough to invest in new systems if your team members aren’t motivated to use them and take advantage of all they have to offer. Getting a full return on your investment requires user adoption. And ensuring user adoption requires good communication with stakeholders throughout the organization so they understand the direct benefits of the technology, as well as ongoing training so they understand how they use it. If your tech partner doesn’t know how to achieve organization-wide adoption, find one who does.
- Your tech partner has trouble staying within established budgets. This is a big red flag. If you’re dealing with repeated cost overruns for tech projects and support, that’s a sign of poor planning, management, and communication.
- Your tech isn’t scalable. When new opportunities come your way, you need the ability able to scale up rapidly to respond with agility and efficiency, which means you also need a partner who can make sure your systems and setup are always ready to meet your needs, regardless of scale.
- Your partner doesn’t understand your industry. There’s no substitute for a partner who knows the specific imperatives and unique challenges for a business in your industry— and who has the experience to recommend tech that can ease your pain points and turn weaknesses into strengths.
What to Consider When (Re)evaluating
Here are a few important things to pay attention to, whether you’re reevaluating a current partner or scrutinizing a potential new one.
- The ability to set clear objectives and criteria for success. Potential partners should be able to tell you not only how their process works, from planning to completion as well as ongoing support, but also how they’ll measure and ensure success.
- Track record. As noted above, experience matters. With a more experienced partner, you’ll start out closer to the finish line and hit fewer bumps in the road. Questions to ask: How many implementations have they done? What have they achieved for their clients? And perhaps most importantly, what do their clients have to say about them? Ask them if you can talk with a few of their current and long-term customers to find out what they have to say. Also, ask to speak not just with sales staff, but with members of the teams who handle implementation and ongoing support.
- Support: Availability and responsiveness. Questions to ask when evaluating support: How big is their support team? Are they available 24/7? What’s their standard timeframe for responding and resolving an issue? This is an area where it’s especially helpful to hear testimony from existing customers.
- Adoption. They should have a clear plan to maximize adoption and energize stakeholders throughout your organization, based on clear communication and insight into the needs and challenges of team members at all levels.
- Versatility. Potential partners should be able to demonstrate broad and deep knowledge of the available tech options across industries and verticals. They should be able to discuss the pros and cons of multiple platforms based on direct experience.
- Vision. Ask them not just where they can take you in the present, but in the long term as well. Talk to them about specifically how they plan to maintain systems and keep them up to date after implementation.
For Your Consideration: Sikich Tech Partner Support
When you’re evaluating at support options, be sure to take a look—or another look—at Sikich’s 5-star award-winning NetSuite support.
With Sikich by your side, you’ll stay ahead of upcoming product upgrades and understand how those changes can affect your business processes. Offering everything from solution optimization to helpdesk services, training and events, Sikich’s NetSuite Support services has your organization covered, throughout the life cycle of your solution.
Want to learn more about how Sikich can help you harvest the benefits of the latest technology, now and in the future? Reach out to us today.