A Decision-Makers Point of View on Choosing a Third Party for a Digitial Commerce Transformation

Digital Commerce
Decision Makers

Selecting the right partner for your digital commerce transformation is an impactful decision that holds a lot of weight to who you end up choosing. When it comes to selecting a third party to work with your organization, there are a few key points to remember beyond just the typical commercial conversations relating to security, business continuity, liabilities, and pricing/negotiations. Not to forget that these also apply to direct services organizations as well as software/hardware providers.  

Businesses can become extremely reliant on a digital service provider to help them make the right implementation choice, so before diving into those key points, let's go over the different types of digital commerce service providers that you can work with: a digital agency or a system integrator. The primary difference between the two is the scope of services each one provides. A digital agency tends to focus on creative services that include web design, web development, and online marketing. A system integrator, on the other hand, specializes in connecting systems together and building out solutions to complex systems. Ultimately, each organization has its own unique specializations, and it comes down to what is important to you when picking a partner.  

According to Gartner, digital commerce for B2B organizations is a mandatory investment, and even more so 30% of businesses surveyed, digital commerce accounted for more than 50% of revenue within the business.  

Culture & Communication -  

Just as an employee fitting in culturally is important, if you are going to be working closely with a third party who is working on a project such as handling your integrations, understanding each other’s cultures, or “how we do work” is important in understanding if there is a good mesh. Friction such as asynchronous communications can destroy a project and initiative's productivity, which overall can impact budget and timeline.  

Conducting an informal reference check may also be on your radar before pulling the plug and picking a partner. This allows you to focus on what this partner will do but most importantly how they actually do it. A third party’s capabilities on paper will not always translate to actual execution and talking to other clients of the third party is recommended.  

Something to remember when reference checking, understand that it’s relatively easy to pick out things that didn’t go well within an engagement so try and extract out what the good is from your questions during your discussion. People tend to remember pain rather than success.  

It is also important to identify early on the modes of communication that your team prefers, explain your preferences, and set the tone for what you expect during your time working together. There are various tools that can be used to communicate and collaborate. Having a mutual understanding of the operating model will save time 10-fold over the course of the project or initiative.  

Key reminders to ask yourself as the decision-maker:

  • Do the employees of the service provider seem to enjoy their work?  
  • Does your internal team mesh well and is there a semblance of fun and humor taking shape?
  • If the project starts going sideways, do you see the service provider turning on the jets and understanding the sense of impact and urgency?  
  • Are the right people accessible in ways that I prefer?  
  • Are they difficult to work with?

Current Internal Capabilities -  

If you’re looking to bring on a third party to help you facilitate a project that is out of your internal employee’s skillset, you most likely understand the general complexity and skillsets needed to execute the project in terms of outcome. You also need to take a look at the short-term goals combined with the long-tail work to identify if this skillset requirement is temporary or not. If there is a skillset or capability gap in your organization when it comes to technical expertise, your choices are to essentially outsource, hire, or train/educate.  

Technology & Business Maturity -  

A systems integrator should be able to easily produce evidence of successful implementations in similar projects. They should also be familiar with the technologies and platforms that you are wanting to implement for your business needs to ensure that there aren’t any compatibility issues between the implementation process and the existing systems that you may already have in place. By taking into account these factors when choosing a systems integration partner, you can rest assured knowing that your digital transformation project has been set up for success from the start.

The right partner will help you check all the boxes on your digital commerce transformation checklist. They’ll understand your culture and how to best communicate with decision makers in your organization. They’ll also have a deep understanding of what technology and processes you need to mature your business online. After all, this decision will be one of the biggest drivers in whether or not your transformation is successful. Visit our website today to learn more about what we can offer you during your digital transformation journey.  https://bit.ly/3BxDDe6  

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