Picking your Technology Partners for the long term

Polonious have 50+ partnerships with organisations, we’re proud of this achievement in just five short years.

Whilst some organisations tend to have a churn-and-burn approach to clients and suppliers, at Polonious, we like to engage in long-term relationships with successful outcomes for all parties.

Technology partners are not to be taken on lightly so it’s worth considering whether you agree on definitions of a good partnership arrangement. At Polonious, we treat our partners consistently, from the smallest SME to the largest corporation.

Our partnerships are based on:
Trust
Value-add
Joint success

We firmly believe that partnerships fail if these components are not in place.

Trust
Both parties must explicitly trust each other, both parties must add value to the relationship. Ther e is no point engaging with an enterprise you think does not have your best interested at heart, it slows the wheels of commerce and leads to ‘lawyers at 50 paces’. We all staff adopt this creed and have signed documentation to prove it. Failure to be trustworthy is a serious offence at Polonious.

Anecdote alert: Many moons ago (1986), I backpacked through Egypt and attempted to enjoy the sights of the pyramids and temples. The local merchants were their own worse enemies. It only took one bad transaction to slow the wheels of commerce. Instead of working my way through a few hundred dollars or so, they got $5 in a rip off and maybe $50 begrudgingly over the next week. Who won? Nobody. I wanted to do more but was not prepared to work with dishonest traders. In my opinion, this is reflected in state of commerce in many countries. If you can’t trust your business supplier or client, you are going to take many more steps to transact compared to situations where trust exists.

Value-add
In some cases this is a simple of case payment for services. In true partnerships this extends to helping each others success, referring opportunities, networking on behalf of each other, endorsing services and offerings, reaching out with good ideas for each others organisations and sharing advice and friendships. These are truly value-added relationships that enable both parties to mutually benefit.

An example of this is one of our customers in the USA. They regularly endorse our offerings. The feeling is mutual, this company is great at what they do. We regularly endorse them by running videos of the owner at conferences all over the USA. We know this has brought them business and likewise us. It’s a real value-add proposition we would do for all our great partnerships.

From our perspective, you also need to review our offerings and see if they sound like the approaches you would be happy with. For example, we have a deep understanding of:

* Business – Operations, Accounts, Marketing, Sales, Manufacturing, Finance, Media and many others.
* Open Source technologies ( the same ones Google, Apple, IBM, Cisco, Citrix, VMWare and many others are leveraging)
* Integrations points and long term issues with various solution choices.
* Human factors associated with productivity, user experience, training, project management.

Joint Success
It’s unlikely that a partnership will go long-term if it’s an unfair situation where one party gains and the other feels they have lost. We’ve seen these before and they always end badly. To have an enduring relationship with your technology partner, you have to give to get. The more you give (and I’m not just talking about money here) the more you are likely to receive in return. It’s been true of humans since we climbed out of trees and roamed the Serengeti.

Polonious are dedicated to the success of our customers. We wish them the best in their endeavours each and every day and are constantly dreaming up ways that technology can help achieve these goals. Just ask them yourself.

What’s wrong with short-term technology partnerships?

Support – If you want things to work this year, next and 5 years from now, you want a partner who will put up their hand, drop everything and help you in your hour of need. Burning continually is likely to leave you with a lot of orphaned technologies and a big problem keeping them operational.

Initiation – There are advantages with your partner understanding your business and operational requirements, how things are structured and where you are trying to go. A newbie partner can take a while to bring up to speed on all this..

Conclusion

Choosing a long term technology partner is a tricky business. However it’s important to consider both sides of the transaction. If you are going to gain at their expense, don’t expect the partnership to last long.

About the Author
Stuart Guthrie is the co-founder of Polonious and our senior technology expert with more than 25 years of experience in software development, IT management, project leadership and business development. Stuart specialises in working with clients to develop plans and execute new technology capabilities with open source software. Stuart’s work has previously helped his customers win awards, reduce long term costs, improve productivity and generally love the technology they work with. Stuart has experience in a wide variety of industry sectors with previous engagements across: Banking, Insurance, Broking, Investment, Manufacturing, Distribution, Media, Software, TV, Vehicle, Local, State and Federal Government. Clients have included Otis Elevator, Rothschilds Investments, Mercedes Benz, British Broadcasting Corp, Sims Group, Galore Group, Hannan Print, Channel Seven, Progress Software Corporation (UK), IMAN Health Plans, Hartford Insurance Group, Pittwater Council, RTA NSW, DPIE (Canberra).

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Alastair Steel, Dip.Crim. is the co-founder of Polonious and our investigation subject matter expert.
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Rick Shepherd, CFE is the president of Polonious Investigation Management Systems USA.
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For more about Polonious the IT Company visit Polonious.

Last updated: September 20th, 2012