Image Recognition, Big Data and Analytics and the IoT – These are just a few of the advancing technologies poised to fundamentally broaden the way most enterprise software works.
Software vendors, rushing to incorporate new technologies into their products, are coming up against some real challenges in finding the time and resources needed to quickly introduce and implement these technologies. Many are turning to partnerships.
IT Briefcase recently published an article by StayinFront Executive SVP and CTO, Tony Bullen, in which he discussed five factors companies should consider before adopting a “partnership for innovation model.”
Here are some of the key points from the article:
1) Focus on the customer value proposition and costs
Determining what is best for your customer – and what they are willing to pay for a new feature – should be central to any innovation partnership. Also consider other cost factors such as if it will require your customers to upgrade their hardware. Even the best technical solution may not align with your customers’ needs or budgets.
2) Determine the competitive advantage for all parties
First and foremost, ensure the technology will benefit your customers. Then evaluate whether the collaboration gives both you and your partner a competitive advantage. The advantage should be sustainable because competitors, especially the larger ones, may be able to quickly bring a new technology to market. By protecting your intellectual property, offering superior customer experience, and clearly emphasizing your new technology’s differentiation and value, you stand to have a greater competitive advantage.
3) Access your compatibility with the potential partner
Evaluate things such as how well your technologies integrate with each other or whether your upgrade and support plans are aligned. Also, make sure your partner is keeping up with the changing technology and will work with you through any initial challenges.
4) Work out the all details in advance
Deployment involves many steps and opens up many questions. Plan and coordinate logistics far in advance to ensure a seamless, well-executed deployment. Determine how users will be trained, how the software will be used in different markets and if any changes to functionality, formatting or language will be required to accommodate different regions. Also, it is important to address and plug any security holes and pay particular vigilance to data privacy issues.
5) Play the long game
Research your partner thoroughly and get to know their management team, their product and their customer base. Partnering for innovation can yield a distinct competitive advantage, but only once you understand the limits of what you know (or don’t know) about your partner.
Given the accelerated pace of technology and as mobile devices become more featured and powerful, attempting a “go it alone” approach to implementing these new technologies can be complicated and delay deployment. Partnering for innovation can resolve these issues and put you at a distinct competitive advantage, but you will need to consider the questions raised here and understand the limits of what you know, and don’t know, about your partner.
For nearly 20 years, StayinFront has been consistently raising the bar by delivering and integrating innovative mobile field solutions that are focused on enabling retail field teams to do more, know more and, most importantly, sell more on every store visit.
Read the full article or view the infographic here.
About Tony Bullen
Tony Bullen is the Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at StayinFront, and is responsible for the strategic direction of StayinFront’s product and technology partner development. While leading the R&D team, he has presided over the launch of multiple innovations, including the game-changing selling solution, StayinFront PitchBook® and industry-recognized social collaboration tool, StayinFront Chat™.