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The digital revolution is transforming the way businesses implement technology, but there is one thing that will never change – products will not work on their own – and it’s not just about the technology. Organisations need to have the right people in place to process the systems and support digital within the enterprise as a constantly evolving journey.

With more than 5.2 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK and a record increase in the number of start-ups, it’s harder than ever for businesses to choose the right partner to make their technology work over a long period of time. Many enterprises hit roadblocks after purchasing technology, expecting it to have potential and longevity, but they lack the internal investment and external support for usage and adoption to realise any business benefits.

Why enter into a partnership?

There is a noticeable gap forming between traditional IT departments and the forward-thinking that digital journeys demand. One of the biggest mistakes a business can make with any technology is “build it and they will come”. Seeing the potential in something you think will work, and not knowing exactly what to do with it when you have it, is likely to end in failure. Firstly, there will be no ownership or understanding of how it is going to work with the business; and secondly, you are going to leave yourself with a far bigger workload when it comes to doing the research.

From the initial design to implementing, supporting and improving services, developing the solution is a journey and not a destination. Organisations transform from year-to-year, even month-to-month – sometimes significantly if there has been an acquisition or merger. Now is the time to be flexible and think about buying things for the long-term to ensure products align within the organisation for a number of years.

Uncovering the knowledge

With a huge number of apps, platforms and tools emerging, more often than not the skills needed for newer technologies will not be found in-house. You need to be able to monitor how well a product or service is performing, understand its potential, consolidate and collect feedback, look at what future functions or features it may have and anticipate what changes or problems might take place in a year’s time. By working with someone who talks the tech and helps create the vision, you are more likely to achieve continued success – and not just as a one-off.

Market knowledge is essential when it comes to understanding the technology roadmap and reaching those all-important goals that add value to a business. Building a partnership with people who are experts in their field and spend time researching and experimenting with different technologies will prevent the constant cycle of renewing products that are not fit for purpose.

Sharing responsibility and accountability

Perhaps you have been told, for example, that you need to broadcast live videos each week, but you have no idea where to start or how to answer those difficult questions. Working with a partner to develop your strategy means you will be able to hold them to account for the successful delivery, launch and adoption of a project.

This will naturally alleviate some pressure on the business, especially because a lot of the time decision-makers know what direction they want their video or digital concept to go in, but aren’t quite sure what solution is needed to get there.

Build vs buy decision

In order to react to changes within a business and ensure continuous improvement, organisations must be agile when it comes to adapting their technology stack and bringing in new processes based on current needs.

It could be that you’ve bought something that fits some of the requirements you are looking for, but doesn’t quite fit everything else. For example, you want to integrate your video conferencing facilities, select a webcast tool or design an implementation programme that ensures the service actually works. This is where you need to decide what needs to be purchased alongside it.

Whether you choose to build or buy technology, it all depends on your internal capabilities. This is where you need to invest in a partnership that can evolve the product and understand what works alongside it.

Benefits of working with a partner

There are too many benefits to working with a partner to ignore when it comes to driving your digital strategy forward. To be able to access a wealth of expertise on a regular or ad-hoc basis, receive advisory services in areas of your organisation where incumbent capability and rely on scalable implementation capacity are all key features.

Ultimately, you need to ask yourself if your organisation has the market knowledge of existing, new and developing products, especially in areas of subject matter expertise, and can meet the ever-changing demands of both customers and employees. Uncovering the unknown is usually the biggest challenge for any business, but is one you can’t afford to overlook.

By Rob Dumbleton, Consulting Director, 27partners