As software customers seek out the right partner for their upcoming implementation or digital transformation project, the number of options available to them is overwhelming. They’re faced with decisions such as should you use the consulting partner your software vendor has recommended to you? Or the one that you have past experience with? What about the other partners who seem to have more industry or software expertise, but you know nothing about?
After analyzing more than 1,400 reviews, our team at Raven Intelligence has identified 5 key qualities that make for unforgettable consulting partners, straight from the customer’s point of view.
1. Software, Industry & Geographical Experience
One of the first, and perhaps the most obvious filtering criteria that a customer starts with, is looking for a consulting partner that has experience in their chosen software. It’s likely that their software vendor will provide a list of viable options, but the customer still needs to do their own research to confirm and understand what kind of experience each consulting partner brings to the table, all while paying particular attention to the functional area within the business in which your project lives.
Beyond this, industry and geographical experience are close behind software experience when researching the right partner. Your potential partner should be able to provide specific projects and clients that are similar to your project in terms of software, industry, and geographic location. We’ve heard from customers that they used a consulting partner who did great during the North American implementation of their software, but the “wheels came off the bus” during their European roll-out.
2. The Implementation Team
The culture of the organization, and specifically your implementation team, will be a big indication of the experience you will have with the organization. While you can’t always tell if you will get along with everyone based on reading their website, you can ask to meet the implementation team that would be on your project if you move forward. Going further, make sure to ask what their Team Consistency metrics are. The current industry average (based on Q4 2021 metrics) shows that 55% of implementations have no change in their team. 30% of projects have some changes, and the remaining 15% of projects have many changes in their team structure.
3. Benchmark Success Metrics
One of the best ways to understand where a consulting partner fits into the partner ecosystem is by reviewing their success metrics, such as:
- Project satisfaction ratings
- On time project delivery
- On budget project delivery
- Scoping accuracy
- Project sentiment metrics
Using the quarterly metrics collected on Raven Intelligence, you’ll have a solid benchmark comparison on how each partner you’re considering stacks up.
4. Value for Money
Each customer is going to have their own budget and their own perception of “value” based on cost, but this quality still isn’t one to be overlooked. Consulting partners who sponsor the Super Bowl and Saturday Night Live likely won’t be the cheapest proposal in your options, but the cheapest option may not bring the value you’re looking for, either. And seeing as nearly 34% of projects go over budget, you’ll want to be sure that you’ve found the right balance between the firm’s quality, capabilities, and price.
Customer references and reviews are some of the best indications of a consulting firm’s quality. Review platforms collected independently will help to illuminate the reputation of your potential partner and will help you validate—or disqualify—potential partners based on what you uncover. The voice of your peers should hold significant weight during your selection process; the number one reason that reviewers leave such thorough reflections of their experience with a consulting partner is to help others who were in their shoes.
What Matters Most?
When it comes to selecting a consulting firm, there is no shortage of qualities that can make or break your choice. Experience matters—but so does reputation, team consistency, value, and public success metrics. There’s no one metric of indicator that is a tell-all, but doing your own independent research and following up on resources can help you understand which consulting partner can help you meet your goals.