Choosing the right implementation partner
Choosing the right implementation partner is as important as choosing the right solution provider. Your company has invested in a new PIM system, ready to transform and scale its e-commerce business and deliver accurate, rich, and enhanced content to your customers. But successful implementation of that system depends on more than just “plugging in” software.
The success or failure of the system implementation will ultimately depend on the experience and expertise of the chosen partner, so it’s essential you apply the same high standards to choosing that partner as you would to choosing the system itself.
Perhaps most importantly, an implementation partner should have extensive prior experience in the industry in which you operate. After all, it’s always easier to work with someone who understands your company’s business processes and operations. They may be an expert in using a particular software or system, but by working with a partner with little understanding of the unique needs of your business, and the specific challenges and pain points you face, you run the risk of facing inefficiencies and encountering barriers to growth further down the line.
Executing the changes involved in the implementation process can affect not only your business but also the people that work in it. It’s important, therefore, to consider the competencies of potential implementation partners with regard to change management. Friction during the implementation phase can often set the entire project up to fail. So, while they’re usually equipped with the right level of technical know-how, and will be well-trained in terms of knowledge transfer, it’s vital to ensure that team members are able to work with stakeholders across your organization. If possible, it’s worth meeting with the dedicated project team before putting any plans into action.
The best partners are those that care about the success of your business far beyond the initial implementation and its key components, and that look to ensure satisfaction and overall delivery of long-term solutions. The best way to guarantee that your chosen implementation partner is the right one is to ask for references from previous clients. Go beyond just checking customer testimonials and case studies on a company’s website and look instead for a potential partner whose clients are happy to wax lyrical about their experience with the partnership, and the success it’s delivered.
Ideally, you should look for a partner whose primary goal is to support the end-to-end experience of both internal and external stakeholders, and that’s willing to go the extra mile and invest in innovative solutions for specific problems. They should be inquisitive enough to identify potential areas for improvement you haven’t even thought of, and devise a strategic plan to address these, recommending the best solutions and customizing them to meet your particular needs.
And remember that vendors will typically send their best front-line operatives to deliver a pitch. The people involved in the sales cycle won’t be the be people that actually deliver, so it’s worth checking out the actual project team to make sure they’re the best fit for you and your stakeholders.
Size isn’t everything
Finally, it’s worth considering the size of a potential partner’s organization. Big companies, with a portfolio of successfully implemented projects, may appear reassuringly stable. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re right for your business.
Big can be good, but when taking a partner’s size into account, it’s important to choose one that’s agile enough to meet the needs of your business, and flexible enough to accommodate and support your existing processes and technologies.
The successful implementation of a new system of software is a crucial factor in helping an organization achieve its business goals and objectives. Finding the best partner to perform that implementation must, therefore, be an informed decision, one that takes into consideration factors such as your company’s existing processes and technologies, and its particular needs and challenges, both now and in the future. You’re ready to enjoy the benefits of your new PIM system. If you take time to find the implementation partner that ticks all your boxes, you’ll reap the rewards for years to come.