Customized digital tools that optimize performance and enhance ROI are every business leader’s dream. But they are a tall order. When the digital project is big and the stakes are equally high, the business can’t afford for relations with a tech vendor to go south.
Business leaders can arm themselves with these key insights that will help to kick off and sustain a project on a positive note as they seek a partnership with a tech vendor.
Get to Know Your Tech Vendor
When kicking off a new project, establish working relationships that benefit and support key stakeholders from both parties. Real progress requires teams from both the business and the tech vendor to meet each other in the middle.
Why You Should Share Business Perspectives With Your Tech Vendor
Clients seeking the services of software development companies should be prepared to share insights that support ideation for a new digital solution. Stakeholders who share lessons learned through working with a legacy solution provide the tech vendor with key perspectives that positively shape developers’ and designers’ goals and their strategies for achieving them.
Discussing the strengths and weaknesses of legacy products can also help to determine whether code reuse or logic reuse is a possibility in a new project. Developers might choose an optimal programming language to align with the client’s IT team’s existing expertise, or choose a language that provides new functionality, but will require knowledge transfer with the client. Sharing such knowledge early on facilitates collaboration upfront and can reduce development expenses down the road.
Arrive With an Open Mind
The tech vendor’s technical and strategic teams can provide support to clients by sharing best practices culled from prior engagements. In the business stakeholder’s point of view, red flags might rise when a developer suggests making a pivot from one development platform to another. But allotting time and space in which to contextualize and discuss such options encourages visibility in the development process and increases understanding of reservations or intentions amongst both parties. This will also help to form a development strategy that mitigates risk and is appropriately budgeted .
Know the Cost of Effective Software
The tech vendor must understand that business leaders may not — at least at first — appreciate the value to be derived from investing in, building, and maintaining software indefinitely.
For a long time many business could safely watch new technologies disrupt other industries from the sidelines. But innovations like the Internet of Things are disrupting industries indiscriminately. Business leaders are realizing they must react. And quickly.
But accepting the cost of change can be a hard pill to swallow.
The lightbulb as most people know it appeared late in the 19th century. For decades business leaders did not invest in advancing the technology to improve ROI. Rather, they invested in increasing efficiency in the manufacturing process. The arrival of smart lightbulbs on the scene forces companies to improve not only manufacturing processes, but also to design and implement new technologies that enhance connectivity to large, intelligent systems.
Without this added layer of technology, the business risks losing.
The take-away? A massive shift in strategic thinking must take place in businesses. Now, it takes dedicated budgets and technical teams to ensure that the product remains a viable asset that scales with the business and its evolving needs.
At first glance, it’s easy to miss the old days with this new reality. But this is why a positive relationship with your tech vendor is crucial. It can be the friend that shows you the way forward.
The New Look of Value
Business leaders may welcome a fresh perspective to understand how software adds value.
Increased efficiencies along a manufacturing line provide tangible examples of progress and cost reduction. Software development can feel like a new paradigm where value may seem more abstract.
Business leaders will benefit from working with a tech vendor that outlines the different steps in the development process and how each step is crucial to building a better solution and a viable business strategy.
How Agile Creates Harmony For the Business and its Tech Vendor
Software is never done, and this is the new normal.
Learning to allocate resources to maintain a competitive advantage through software allows the business to thrive in this new world. Product owners and the tech vendor teams who embody the Agile approach are better equipped to see through the necessary iterations that will ensure solution success.
A proper software development cycle can be conceived of as a wall built from small blocks. Each block may seem inconsequential on its own. But together the blocks serve critical functions. The wall can divide a space, support another floor, or provide privacy from neighbors.
In Agile, development sprints build each block, and small readjustments are made along the way as needed to decrease the likelihood of the wall crumbling just before a deadline.
Thus, each sprint adds value to the business. Business leaders who support technical teams with feedback and intelligence after each sprint or milestone are investing in a better final product and a greater ROI.
Teams from the tech vendor will do best to show how focusing on one chunk of code at a time will make for more powerful programming at the project’s completion. It can teach those on the business side about the real labor that goes into what otherwise might seem like small advances in capabilities.
Prepare for the Worst
Not every engagement is built to last.
The client might feel uneasy when the tech vendor keeps the project under wraps for too long, or if releases continue to appear lackluster. Doing the legal leg work and preparing for the worst ahead of any formal collaboration with a tech vendor allows the business to leave a bad situation unscathed before disaster actually strikes.
Stakeholders from the business should aim to maintain ownership of proprietary assets — legacy code, business intelligence, etc. — for a more balanced engagement with the tech vendor.
Developers sometimes prefer to wait to release examples of their work until the software is perfect. They risk designing a wall with the wrong proportions, or one that is made out of blocks that are the wrong color.
How Your Tech Vendor Will Show You the Way
When business leaders are forced to think digital first, the right partner can make or break the transformation to come. Poor communication and covert developers only add to the tumult of a rapidly changing IT landscape. But a tech vendor whose teams encourage end-to-end collaboration and involve stakeholders in the software development cycle can serve as a guiding beacon for business leaders.
Image Source: Unsplash, Nik MacMillan