Ensuring Success: Step 4 – identify a trusted partner for your support contract and the entire lifecycle of your digital technology

Posted in Blog on April 6th, 2023

Alex Smith, MES Business Consultant, discusses the key considerations to make when starting a digital journey.   

In my previous blog, I discussed the importance of working closely with a trusted partner and managing change in the implementation stage of your digital journey. Now it’s time to consider the real meaning of the term ‘support partner’.

Support is often the forgotten and neglected part of a project. When projects run over support can be the first thing to get the chop, but to be honest, if that’s when you’re thinking about your support it’s way too late.

That’s the thing, too often support purely focuses on the software and hardware. Don’t get me wrong, these are essential. Your new digital tech should be at the centre of how you work and essential for day-to-day business, therefore it must be running.

Consider the required level of support

Now, different solutions will impact your business differently but if you’re looking at the likes of electronic quality records or electronic batch records, then you need this 24/7 and therefore your support needs to be too. Do you work weekends? If your answer is yes, then your support team need to be too. You also need to consider response/restore times and the level of service your provider will commit to.

A good question to ask is how important does your support partner see their role? Are they willing to have regular reviews? Do they look to actively seek feedback or have a good NPS (Net Promotor Score)? As I’ve discussed throughout the blogs, methodical processes are important, so maybe consider a support partner that uses ITIL (The Information Technology Infrastructure Library) best practice methodology and has the relevant standards such as ISO 20000 Service Management and ISO 27001 Information Security Management.

More than just software support

Here’s a thought for you, why does ‘support’ just have to be ‘support’? Why not get more for your money? A partner is meant to be that, it adds value to your business. While ensuring your business systems are running is important, does your support partner continue to help you meet those business goals? Are they with you on the improvement journey?

Like I’ve been saying throughout the series, it’s not all about the software, now it’s about change. Your business is going to change how it works and you need to address this, but do you have the resource and the skillset within your business to do so?

Let’s go back to the beginning

This is where ‘Analyse’ in stage two earns its money. Having assessed where you were before digital tech and where it will take you, allows for the changes to be identified. If done properly in the first instance with BPMN (Business Process Mapping and Notation), for example, the changes to your business can be managed and measured with critical success factors.

A support partner that can guide you through change, and work on a smooth transition is what you need. A support partner that can train your team and continue working with them to support improvements, will guarantee you get the maximum value from your investment and ensure that your people adopt your digital technology with best practices.

Is there anything else to consider?

Ask yourself some important questions.

  • Are you just looking to implement your digital tech for tech’s sake and let it be?
  • Are your challenges today going to be the same in 3- or 5-years’ time?
  • Do you want value at the start of the project or for its full lifecycle?

Your digital tech investment should see a life span of at least 10 years. Therefore selecting a trusted support partner will ensure you achieve maximum business value for the entire lifecycle, not just the support contract.

Want to learn more? Download the complete 5-step guide to ensuring Digital Transformation success.