Today, most companies rely on software in their daily operations, so it’s vital that businesses appropriately grasp the ever-changing IT landscape. Everything from data management and security protocols to communication efforts typically falls under the IT umbrella in one way or the other.
There are many reasons why a company might consider entering into an IT partnership. While some do so because they lack internal know-how, others want their software development team to stay focused on their core service. To accomplish the latter, they require extra help. An IT business partnership is the ideal approach for businesses to not just maintain their technology but also leverage the most relevant technological advancements for their industry.
Below, we will discuss what an IT business partnership is, what it can entail, and why you might consider it for your own business.
What is an IT business partnership?
An IT business partnership is a relationship with an external company that offers IT services and helps companies innovate by building custom software. The exact scope of the partnership differs per case, as it’s defined by the specific needs of the company and the competencies of the partner. Depending on the IT partner’s areas of specialty, they can provide a range of software development services (for example, building mobile apps and implementing AI-powered solutions), as well as consulting, design, or even product management.
IT business partnerships vary in duration – you can enter a long-term or short-term project.
Why is an IT partnership important for any type of business?
Using an IT business partnering model can offer a company diversity in a myriad of ways. For one, a strategic IT business partnering model introduces new skillsets, competencies, and points of view, all of which ultimately further a business’s potential. In terms of growth, an IT business partnership will offer solutions (and perhaps new avenues) to different problems. Their expertise in the various use cases of information technology is a great asset for scaling and growth.
For example, let’s assume that a fitness company is looking to build a fitness app, but they’re faced with the dilemma of being in a very competitive field. They begin searching the web for answers and run across a fitness app mobile development company offering their desired solution. They organize a scoping session, where they discuss the top features that should be included in the MVP version of their app, along with recommended platforms and technologies. After such a workshop, the fitness company decides to entrust the development company with creating the app (both the designs and the software). As a result, these two businesses become involved in an IT business partnering model.
Benefits of IT partnership
Before venturing into any partnership, it’s important to fully understand the advantages that it will bring to your business. Implementing an IT business partnership engagement model can certainly introduce benefits for virtually any industry. Here are some of the most common advantages:
An IT business partnership will help bridge the gap between certain areas of expertise within a business entity. IT pros might bring in knowledge to areas that a business lacks. It might also be a great solution if you have a team with the required skill set but lack the required headcount to build the solution internally.
With multiple projects come different technologies, and businesses are not always aware of the newest innovations out there – here’s where IT partners can help you grow immensely.
Wide skill set and experience
By working with a reliable, experienced partner, you can rely on their advice and follow the recommended best practices. Due to the services that they offer, these companies always stay on top of the newest developments in technology. For example, your business might not realize that it’s become prone to threats (such as the latest malware). Alternatively, you might also be unaware that there’s a risk of software failure – not until it’s too late. Tech partners have worked on many projects and know how to ensure everything runs smoothly. They can recognize the early telltale signs of potential issues and help you keep them from happening.
A fresh view on the project/business
An unbiased perspective is often the best approach for businesses that have experienced roadblocks or who might have tunnel vision. It’s so easy to act blindly and with a sense of urgency when tensions arise. A tech partner can introduce a new point of view and provide value that grows your business in ways you didn’t know were possible.
Easy scaling of the team
An IT business partner engagement model can help meet the demands of a project without the need to hire personnel for short-term contracts. According to the Society for Human Resource Development, it takes about 42 days to fill new positions and costs $4,000 per hire. This doesn’t touch the costly price tag that comes along with recruiting a software developer, which often spans between $100k-200k depending on their yearly salary. In-house recruitment alone is often above $20k. With that being said, having a tech partner saves not only time and money but also the headache of having to decide whether to later keep an employee that is no longer needed.
You have a partner that you can rely on
Companies can rest assured knowing they have an IT business partner engagement model in place for when they encounter technical issues. For instance, let’s imagine you’re looking to migrate your software over to the cloud but worry about potential risks such as incompatibility, data loss, and security issues. In addition, the process could take several weeks to months and you wonder whether end users will be affected. In this circumstance, you could rely on your IT partner to explain the cloud migration process. Even more, they could guide you through the entire process with the right competencies.
Tips on how to build a stronger IT partnership
So, what makes a successful IT partner? The foundation of any strong, successful relationship (both business and personal) is trust. In other words, companies should be able to rely on their IT partner to be there when they need them. With that being said, let’s look at a few ways to ensure an IT business partnership is operating at optimum strength.
When choosing your IT partner, make sure you’re on the same wavelength
In the same way that a company wouldn’t want to hire an employee that might not work well within their culture, it’s important to make sure IT partners are an ideal fit. Once a trustworthy IT partner is found, it’s crucial to make sure they are aligned with the company vision, goals, growth plans, etc. Effective communication is key here.
Start with workshops to plan the project’s roadmap together
Projects, especially digitized ones, can be complicated. Introducing workshops is going to help everything run much more efficiently by keeping an open line of communication about the project’s scope, product roadmap, current or potential issues, target audience, etc. Overall, project workshops are going to help set up development stages and build trust between team members.
Be engaged in the project
It’s important that open communication exists between a company and its IT partner. IT pros are very knowledgeable, but they’re not all-knowing, i.e., they may miss the domain knowledge. This is especially true when it comes to the policies and procedures of each business. Problems will arise and, when they do, be there to support your IT partner. After all, they are there to be a partner. Internal involvement is just as essential as external IT partners.
Be honest and transparent
Some topics might be hard to communicate, but it’s important to lay all expectations out on the table from the beginning. If a business requires frequent updates/communication efforts, they should be sure to let their IT partner know when/how to submit updates (e.g., email reports, spreadsheets, etc.) Always remember, that it takes cooperation from both parties to facilitate a strong partnership. Honesty and transparency are vital factors in the overall strength of a partnership.
Let’s say product requirements changed after gathering feedback on a prototype, and some features must be removed while others have to be added. As a result, the IT team needs to start working on the 1st product version a little later than expected. It’s important they remain updated on the project status and fully understand the situation, as well as all potential outcomes.
Open yourself up to brainstorming
It can be hard to accept external advice on how to manage issues, but it’s ultimately an important piece of effective collaboration efforts. By opening yourself up to brainstorming, you can leverage other companies’ expertise and allow them to steer you clear of mistakes that they’ve encountered in the past. The ability to brainstorm ideas with your IT business partner is a valuable asset.
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Shape your future with the right IT partner
There are plenty of reasons why working in an IT business partner engagement model might prove beneficial to your business. By cooperating with the right company, you’ll gain quick access to new competencies and knowledge and fill any skills gaps within your tech department.
A trusted IT partner will also bring in new perspectives. Getting that fresh point of view could defer you from making common mistakes or predicting outcomes you would not have otherwise been aware of.
With all of the above in mind, it’s safe to say that betting on a reliable IT partner is a smart choice – particularly given the ever-changing user requirements and technological landscape.
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