It is nearing the point of reflecting on the year, it’s been an interesting one. Interacting with different companies is what adds variety to our life, yes everything we do is Microsoft Dynamics NAV but the people we do it for are all very different. Last month we presented a demonstration (very successfully, of course, NAV 2013 continues to wow!), etched on the glass entrance doors of the offices was the company’s name and the legend “Until I Die”. At the time it suggested very high employee commitment to the organisation! At TVision we have an enviable staff and client retention rate and have often likened the relationship between ourselves and our clients to a marriage, does this suggest that we also have high commitment expectations?

It is interesting to see how companies view their relationship with the IT industry. Over the years it has steadily improved. I would say from an all-time low around Y2K it could only get better. A decade ago, companies tended to keep the supplier at arm’s length with trusted knowledge only ever coming from internal staff or third party consultants. This was problematic as the IT companies always do have the best knowledge, that’s where the consultants get their knowledge from, but too many bad experiences of poor sales practices led to a situation where the end users had no trust. Fortunately things have changed, the sales approach is now far more consultative, potential customers are not interested in the flashy presentation and lavish lunches, fewer deals are made on golf courses and in general evaluations are based on sensible exploration of the proposition. It is much less of a casual fling and more of a well-planned marriage.

What does Gold partner have to do with this? Being a Microsoft Gold Certified partner shows how seriously we take our services (although I am in all in favour of small Silver, i.e. those companies who do not have the mass required to achieve Gold but are no less committed to their chosen discipline).  However, it is still not perfect and so the same attention paid to product evaluation needs to be adopted for partner selection. The wrong choice can be extremely costly, so here are some pointers as what to consider:

References, not just from the pet customer but from someone who can talk about how issues were resolved (there will be moments!), suppliers, employees, channel partners Gold for what? Check that out very carefully; ask to see the competency summary and evidence of how it was achieved Never mind the day rate: value versus cost, you may well find someone who will offer a cheaper day rate, but what will you get for that? Select the best partner for you then see how you can negotiate

Only the very rich tend to plan for divorce with pre-nuptial agreements! Always consider of the cost to make good if you choose wrong, or as the old saying goes, “Marriage in haste, repent at leisure”.