Congratulations! You have signed on a new technology partner. Now, it’s time to acclimate them to your business and company culture.
CIO/CTOs not only lead technology for an organization. They also set the tone in building relationships with technology vendors and clients. What may be set for a short-term project, all parties would hope to turn it into a long-lasting partnership.
A key factor in positive partnerships is communication. The way we interact and engage with our partners can in itself be an indication of success. When signing on a new partner, both parties should want mutual success. However, to do that, we have to make them a part as much a part of your business as our colleagues.
On-boarding new partners begins before the contract is signed. From early introductions and demonstrations, we’re bringing people into our company culture. For example, requesting a wireless presentation with a potential vendor exposes them to your technology and communication style. Within the structure of the wireless presentation, you show how willing you are to share information and exchange ideas. It sets the team for collaborative work opportunities.
How do you develop an onboarding strategy for your new partners? Here are a few ways:
- Relationship Management. As an IT leader, your time may be limited. Your partner may assign an account manager to you to oversee activities and address issues. At the same time, you should assign a relationship manager to them. The relationship manager will act as the central point of contact with the partner’s account manager. This could be a project manager, an analyst or a subject matter expert who can speak on your behalf and filter any questions or concerns for your team.
- The length of a project shouldn’t determine the importance of a partnership. Give your new partner an opportunity to see your team in action. Consider hosting a project kick-off meeting or preliminary brainstorming session. Your new partner can begin to understand how individuals contribute to discussions and tasks, and vice versa. Then, you can together to identify those contributors are best fits for the project to work successfully
- Productivity: Transparency is often a concern in projects that involve third parties. Productivity tools can promote communication through information sharing. From interactive spreadsheets to knowledge databases, teams can review projects together in real-time from any location. Wireless presentations can become work sessions with partners sharing updates across a secured network. You and your partner can make decisions together to promote engagement and optimize performance of your team members
- Support: Partnerships thrive on positive collaboration. Both parties need to support each other throughout their relationship. From bug tracking to quality assurance testing, partners need to communicate with each other to resolve issues. How each side offers support will be indicative how successful the partnership will be.
- Unified Communication System. How you communicate with your partner is just as important as the tools you use. Phone calls, emails, instant messaging and video conferencing offer a number of means to stay connected. However, bringing them together into a system and connecting your partner makes access easier. Certainly, security is a concern, but by setting parameters to make your partner more than a guest in your workflow can promote efficiencies in how information is exchanged and store.
Communication is a measure of success for any relationship. When bringing a new partner into your business, you are working towards the same goal. Therefore, both sides should be open to learning and sharing with each other. It brings two cultures together and could create a new long-lasting one.