Working with a good Artificial Intelligence Tech Consulting Partner can really help your business meet its goals. Embracing fast-paced changes is easier when you have a good Tech partner by your side. All consultants are not the same and therefore the same relationship management principles can not be applied to all. Each relationship comes with its own set of challenges and needs considerable attention to build a long-term trusting relationship. Forcing a standardized process is not always a good idea, however, the best practices mentioned below can serve as a launching pad to building a lasting relationship:
Identifying your needs and setting up goals
The most essential thing is to identify what your tech needs are and setting up transformation goals that will enable you to reach your ideal state. Consultants need to be fed a lot of information, for them to be able to draw a clear picture of client expectations and deliver outcomes thereof.
Since tech consultants are not wholly involved in your business they might not have the same insight into various structures of your business and should not be expected to solve all your problems. While some may provide you with added value, there are some who would execute the tasks given to them.
Defining the scope
It is not possible to assess the entire project scope upfront, creating a breakdown of requirements can help outline major tasks. This will be the basis of what to expect at the end of each project. From consultation to product launch, each stage of the project can have a set of goals that can facilitate understanding of what needs to be done.
Working towards generating value
By narrowing the definition of what both parties are to deliver, this negotiations based approach is likely to result in the lowest value generated at the end of the project. Third-party vendor decisions should not be procurement based or limited to written contracts. It needs to be a process-driven agreement that should be built over time. Rather, companies should ideally engage tech consultants that are likely to offer a new perspective on how the existing problems can be solved. This enables both parties to actively engage in coming up with creative and innovative solutions. Starting small should, therefore, be the initial approach.
Culture fix is crucial
There is no best approach to hiring or finding the best consultant. As everyone will have a unique approach, a successful client-consultant relationship is reliant on culture. However, to find like-minded partners, the key is to understand our own corporate culture. For instance, if your company culture promotes collaboration and consensus, then find a consultant that identifies with these values and therefore can integrate easily with your environment. And if your company culture is based on control and command, then a likely fit would be a tech partner that can smoothly blend in with that culture.
Also, it is important to know exactly who will carry out the actual task. Many times the consulting team is not going to facilitate you after the proposal process has ended. It is therefore advisable to get the guidelines in getting the contract right, including assignments and roles. Better quality and faster delivery can be ensured by handpicking the software and QA engineers to become part of the core team.
Qualities to consider
Software development can be costly, and organizations are therefore likely to opt for the cheapest offer. But this can cost more if the stakes are high. But it is better to look for relevant experience, domain-specific skills and advanced technology stack than the cheapest option available. A dedicated software development team is likely to deliver more value against the investment made.
Understand your staff and levels of expertise
It is essential to determine what will be required of your own team or whether or not they have the required expertise to carry out those tasks. For instance, if your tech partner tells you that a given task should not take more than a week and you do not validate that, it might end up taking months for your team to execute that task. Another example would be your machine learning solution partner providing you with large amounts of data that you can not analyze. Therefore, an internal resource analysis is important before setting up deliverables.
Communication is important
A distributed team or otherwise, communication is crucial for any machine learning as a service success. Clarity of goals and requirements, along with the agreement of the deliverables beforehand can provide a smooth basis to jumpstart a project. By addressing critical issues at the analysis and specification development stages, disruptions at later stages can be avoided. It is more important to get the word out than creating a paper trail. Issues should, therefore, be communicated as soon as they are identified so that these can be resolved.
Focusing on a long-term relationship
A lot of time, effort and investment go into getting a new relationship off the ground. And once you have found common ground, it is best to keep nurturing the relationship for longer-term prosperity. Issues should be mutually resolved and efforts should be directed at long term success.
Trusting each other
The most important factor that both parties fail to acknowledge is trust, without which no sustainable relationship is possible. Since consultants are likely to be involved in some of the most intimate parts of the business, it makes trust even more fundamental to achieving successful outcomes.
Since consultants are hired to transform a business, requiring substantial change, conflicts are likely to arise. There will be times when you are not going to be satisfied with the consultant’s performance and times when your organization will fail to deliver the necessary. Unless both parties trust each other, constructive discussion around lack of performance can not be carried out. Mutual trust enables parties to be their effective selves, acknowledging both the good and the bad. Trust helps you navigate through clashes and enables continued success.
Hopefully, the information provided above can serve as a guideline to business leaders in order to avoid mistakes and work towards building stronger relationships for enhanced project success.