Partnerships are all about relationships. This matters whether you’re breaking ground in emerging markets, like smart agricultural systems, or connecting the dots and leveraging sharing (peer to peer) technology to increase the impact between legacy industries like automotive and finance. Putting in the time and work to build meaningful connections with your IT partner will benefit your business with short-term wins and long-term growth.
As Michael Denisoff, the founder and CEO of his own consulting group, tells Inc.:
“You need to have … good vendor relationships that will carry you through challenging times or tight deadlines … to share struggles, resources and best practices that can really give you an edge. The reality is that business relationships are just like any other relationship. They require some effort to maintain and they must be mutually beneficial. As in any relationship, you must be willing to give, share and support, not just take or receive.”
Key values to building successful partnerships
Trust: Trust builds and creates authentic relationships and a shared understanding of the business’ objective. It is key to view the partnership as a collaboration rather than a transaction. Your shared process eventually develops into an ideal partnership where you work alongside the IT partner, rather than having a vendor/client relationship, where you work across from them. Allow room for your IT partner to work on fine-tuning the process, and they’ll have the ability to identify areas for improvement. Trust that each partner will do what they agree to on time and accurately.
Respect: Building mutual respect is a key component in being in sync on the process with your IT partner. Like trust, developing mutual respect takes time and grows out of different experiences, challenges, and even change. Identify and share your similar goals and values. When you respect your IT partner, you’ll be more receptive to their expertise and ideas for how to meet your IT needs. When your IT partner respects you, they’ll listen carefully to your needs and understand the role of IT in your business today and tomorrow.
Reliability: Thinking and planning ahead, together, is important. Set aside time to create defined roles and responsibilities and an understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. This will ensure your company and your IT partner are on the same page about the process. Doing this work ahead of time ensures efficient use of time and allows you to address any potential issues ahead of time.
Accountability & Transparency: Create some clarity on how any problems that arise will be handled, as this allows for accountability and transparency. Be specific and detailed as this will help both your company and your IT partner be on the same page. When you’re in discussion, focus on reaching a solution rather than dwelling on the problem. Be flexible to the idea that expectations can change. Offer support to each other, as this builds trust and respect in the long run.