For multinational corporations, the size of their technology budgets paired with the mission-critical nature of their technology stacks means these companies usually have a robust technology division, replete with a dedicated CIO, tons of area experts, project & product managers, programmers in every relevant language, architects of every shade, design experts, you name it. But for small to mid-sized businesses, the allocation of precious resources often doesn’t allow for an in house solution to every technical challenge. For most of these companies, they turn to a technology “partner” to help them out in this regard. But how do you know when you’re actually working with a technology partner and not just a vendor?
And better yet, why does that distinction matter?
The difference between a technology partner and a vendor might seem like a semantic analysis to get into, but the nature of that relationship has massive implications to the health and success of your digital efforts.
A vendor is pretty easy to understand as a concept — this is very much a developer-for-hire sort of arrangement, where the technology expert is there to complete a project you specify, then go about their month or year. Many of these vendors deliver quality digital products — I’m not impugning them in any way. But there’s a stark difference between this and a true partner who is there to help guide you through multiple iterations and market shifts in your particular competitive landscape.
A partner stays abreast of what’s happening in your industry and what’s happening throughout the world of technology to bring real value-added expertise, ideas and enthusiasm to your company. They intend to be there for the long haul — your trusted advisor on all things innovation (which, nowadays, requires a stroooong B.S. meter — too many custom solutions providers just throw around a bunch of impressive sounding concepts and buzzwords without the actual technical acumen or creativity to make them into real-world, useful business solutions).
A technology partner dives headfirst into emerging technologies, vets them, and then brings back findings that can actually help your company (or save you tons of time and money when the right move is to stay away).
But most importantly, a technology partner proves through their actions that they want to really and truly solve your business problems.
And not just once — they want to be around to keep solving business problems for years to come.
First and foremost, a true partner shows a real investment in your company and your industry. For us at ENO8, that means we conduct extensive, on-site workshops where our top project managers, developers, architects and client managers sit down with every department that will be potentially affected by the new solution to solicit input and feedback. We listen — intently — and learn how they each do their jobs, what their pain points are, how this app/software could potentially help them do those jobs better/more efficiently, and what success would look like for each team.
Because we take the time to truly learn your business, the solutions we suggest and deliver automatically come from a place of better understanding, meaning we get it right faster and more often than our competitors.
What’s more, a true partner isn’t afraid to show their work. We do so early and often by presenting a client showcase at the conclusion of every development sprint. You get to see working software and provide feedback along the way to ensure total alignment between our deliverables and your vision.
Ultimately, a technology partner rises above buzzwords and jargon and demonstrates their expertise through a roster of relationships and case studies that prove that acumen out.
That’s what we strive to do at ENO8 — and if you don’t have that intimate, value-add relationship with your technology supplier… then maybe you should think about finding a true partner, too!
Jeff Francis is a veteran entrepreneur and co-founder of Dallas-based digital product studio ENO8. Jeff and his business partner, Rishi Khanna, created ENO8 to empower companies of all sizes to design, develop and deliver innovative, impactful digital products. With more than 18 years working with early-stage startups, Jeff has a passion for creating and growing new businesses from the ground up, and has honed a unique ability to assist companies with aligning their technology product initiatives with real business outcomes.
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