When entering into a working partnership with a SuccessFactors partner, you need to make sure that you're asking the right questions to decide if you want the apple or the pear...
What kind of partner do you need for your project?
As with any partnership organization, there are different levels of service you can select to optimize your partnership. Are you looking for someone to implement an existing process, or are you looking for someone to come in and design new processes with you? Are you looking for a SuccessFactors implementation partner that can help your organization be ready for the next big change, or are you looking for a partner that will keep you on track for existing goals within existing frameworks?
Looking forward to the future, how do you think you would like your organization to be supported? Would you best thrive with a constant level of support, or is your organization in a position that you'll be looking for continuous upgrades and improvements to your systems and process?
In thinking about your SuccessFactors implementation partner, what area is most key for your organization? Do you need help with integration, or are you looking for a rock-star in analytics/reporting? Identify and target your weaknesses to ensure that your future partner is an expert in whichever area you require greatest support; and keep your eyes peeling for a blog from us on the topic in the very near future!
When it comes to a partnership, size matters. What size is your company, and what size is the consulting organization? Is this ratio a fit? If you are a medium sized company and your consulting organization is very large, will your business be a priority for the organization? Will there be enough executive presence to escalate when things don't go exactly as planned? Will you have a relationship with the executives of your partner organization? On the other hand, if your company is quite large, perhaps you have needs that a smaller consulting firm won't be able to support. No matter the situation, make certain that you find a fit that works for you.
People Make the Difference
The people working on a project are really the heart and soul of that organization. SuccessFactors implementation partners understands this, and understands that you'll want the best people for your team. As you investigate potential partners, ask yourself: who will be working on your projects? Are they certified? While certifications are not necessarily the be all/end all of an individual's work quality, they can tell you about a potential partner's past experience. There are two distinct levels of SuccessFactors certification to look out for:
- A "Certified Professional" has finished the SuccessFactors training, and also successfully led two projects to completion.
- A "Certified Associate has completed the SuccessFactors training, but has yet to lead a project to completion.
When considering an individual's credentials, ensure that you look at what areas their previous projects have covered and if those areas mesh with your organization's expertise. Due diligence is important: can the partner provide a copy of their certification? Does it match their LinkedIn profile? Find out as much as you can about your potential SucessFactors partner to ensure that you're giving your project the best possible chance of thriving under their direction.
Cloud Implementations have Changed Demographics
In the past, candidates were limited by geographic location: a SuccessFactors partner had to be close enough to an organization to be on-site for work, a factor that can balloon expenses with travel budgets and also eliminates many talented potential partners merely due to zip code. Luckily, cloud implementations now allow us to search for and hire the right person for the job no matter where that person (or that job) might be. Thanks to cloud technologies, you'll get the best fit every time, no matter where your business is.
Part of doing your due diligence is to check in on a candidate's references. References can tell you so much more about a candidate's fit than a paper resume. When considering references, consider these factors: are the partner's references speaking to the SuccessFactors modules that you intend to take advantage of? Are these references from clients who worked with the partner on-premises or via the cloud?
It is always optimal to be able to actually speak with a reference. A happy former client should be able to give you some of their valuable time as you vet potential partners. Remember to prepare your questions carefully for a reference call. Make sure you're asking the things that will help you get to the heart of the partner's skills and experiences. Was the client's project delivered on time and within budget? How was the communication with the partner? Was there enough executive presence throughout the course of the project? What tips do would a previous client have for someone looking to work with this partner in the future?
There are so many considerations when investigating references that it will be getting its own blog post; look out for that coming up soon!
Think about the long run
Implementing SuccessFactors is a project that will create ripples for many years to come. As a result, you want to make certain that the implementation is not rushed. Take the time to plan carefully and set realistic timelines for crafting the strongest, most robust infrastructure.
Your partner knows this, and should be able to guide you in the long run. SuccessFactors cloud solutions will give you four releases every year, and your partner should know the best way to leverage this for success in your future projects. Consider if you would like to handle these new releases by yourself, or if you would like to consult with your partner every quarter. Consider also if the same consultants will be on hand the handle such upgrades, or will that duty be shifted to your partner's support department? In any of these situations, you'll want to know if the consulting agency needs to study your configuration before they can implement upgrades which might cause service delays.
The most important thing to remember about selecting a SuccessFactors partner is that you are looking at the long haul. This is not about one week, one year, or one project; it's about the long-term future of your organization. Considering all of these factors in aggregate can prevent you from making costly decisions in the short term, and help you build the most robust system that will have a long-lasting impact on your organization.