When looking for a new IT provider, find... a business partner: part 1

Where to start?
The start of the New Year is the time to search for solutions that will boost the company's performance. IT system implementation, development of an existing solution, or ensuring technical support all require a good provider. The collaboration should be based not only on the contract terms and conditions, but also on partnership relations and mutual trust. How to choose wisely? Here are some tips.

Long-term relation with IT provider

Information technologies have become the key element in the operation of nearly each and every business. A well-chosen system is an investment that provides a quick return by generating cost reductions through optimisation of business processes. The competition is strong in the market and there are numerous offers. How to choose a reliable subcontractor?

A long-term approach to relations and partnership is a good direction for collaboration. Naturally, the framework for such collaboration will be the legal and financial arrangements, but the mutual intention to create the best solution is the priceless value, – says Michał Guzek, Managing Partner at Hicron, IT system integrator. – IT companies are often treated as providers of ready-made solutions that start working right out of the box, but the implementation of an IT system is a complex process. That is why it is worth changing the perspective: look for a business partner, not only a IT provider – he adds.

Where to start?

There are many ways to look for an IT partner: start from searching online or follow personal recommendations. Each business website offers collaboration, but in practice the providers recommended by word of mouth prove to be reliable experts. An interesting option is a reference meeting organised by providers at one of the customers. This provides an opportunity to learn about the actual benefits of the collaboration, also when talking to customers without the presence of the IT company representative.

When choosing, one should consider the activity of the potential partner in the largest industry events. The ability to share acquired know-how may indicate extensive commitment to implemented projects, which translates into quality of service. The company should not only be a conference partner, but also an active participant. A content-based and valuable presentation may be a good way to verify experience. The IT provider may also be active in a wider scope.

We share what we have – our knowledge does not simply drive new business, but we also want to educate. We often visit the Swiss embassy in Poland, where we use our experience to talk about establishing and developing business in this country. We have accessed the Lower Silesia Automotive Cluster and as a Polish Champion programme participant we support initiatives that improve the investment opportunities in the Lower Silesia region. Invited by the Polish embassy in London, we participated in the “Internet World” conference, representing Poland and its investment potential – says Michał Guzek from Hicron.

Are the solutions tailored to the needs?

The need to implement an IT system results from the intention to improve business processes and increase performance. Therefore, a good IT provider will strive to know the needs of the company in depth by asking about the structure, the resources and the organisation of the enterprise, the objectives and potential impediments to the implementation. A reliable IT system is designed to last for years and it should be considered prior to the implementation. If the potential IT provider does not look ahead, the collaboration will not be successful.

At one of our customers, we often had meetings with the board members during the implementation process. We openly discussed the company’s strategy plans and possible changes: the metaphorical open windows and walls we had to remove together to implement a really effective solution – says Michał Guzek from Hicron.

ERP systems that support management are like living organisms and may require new functions along the way. It is therefore worth choosing a partner who has qualifications in flexible extension of the implemented solutions.

Prudence is always of value: a provider who promises a rapid implementation of many elements may have problems with implementing the agreement. It is more reasonable to divide the project into several stages, which will have less impact on the company and its ongoing operations. It should be noted that when a provider offers a multi-stage implementation, there is always a risk that the implementation of less important elements will be entrusted to a competitor. However, the customer will know that such a provider is a trustworthy professional.

Check out the second part of the article.

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