M+E Connections

Resillion: How to ‘Bake Success’ Into Your Selection of the Right Third Parties

To achieve the best result when a company is undergoing a digital transformation (DT), it is important to have the relevant and necessary expertise available and on hand throughout the DT journey, according to Resillion.

That is the case right from the start and partnering with suppliers who are the best fit with your organization and leaders in their field is a sure-fire way to bake success into each program from the starting point, Resillion DT experts said Nov. 14, during the webinar “Baking in success – choosing the right Third Parties for your Digital Transformation Programmes.”

DT typically demands the modernization of both IT and business processes and toolsets.

From a quality assurance (QA) perspective, that means aligning with the latest service delivery lifecycle methodologies, such as DevSecOps, and supporting new initiatives, such as an organization’s expansion into the worlds of greater automation and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Questions to ask when selecting the right supplier, according to Resillion, include: How will they fit in with your culture? What value will they add? How can they ensure your success? How can trust be built? What would the supplier do upfront to give your company the best chance of achieving its mission objectives? What needs to be reviewed, understood, highlighted as a risk and strengthened? How will they help you understand your customer’s perspective of the finished products? What hidden opportunities can they uncover and how will they provide true business value?

Issues discussed during the webinar included: What makes a good third-party supplier (vs. a bad one)? What does a client need to identify as key characteristics of a valued partner? What can be baked into the partnership at an early phase to ensure success and the acceleration of working towards key program objectives? How do you build two-way trust? How does the supplier and client ensure the partnership remains fresh, open and relevant to the client’s key DT objectives?

“There’s so much within a digital transformation program that it impacts the whole organization,” moderator Richard Mort, new business director at Resillion, said at the start of the session. “It can even get to a point where it actually sort of challenges culture [and] challenges structure. But, hopefully, people are putting in DT programs that enable their businesses [to] hit their competitors and really get products and services to market in an accelerated manner as never before.  So, [with] these very, very complex programs, typically it’s difficult, I would say, for a 100 percent internal approach to be undertaken.”

That, he said, is “where it gets to a point, I think, where most organizations actually sort of have to consider bringing in external expertise, and really sort of help make the understanding of the melting pot of all the things that go on within a digital transformation program.”

Mark Simpson, an engineering director at digital consultancy Griffiths Waite, which builds custom enterprise digital solutions for clients, noted he’s been “involved in many, many digital transformation initiatives – some that have gone very well, some that have had certain challenges,” he conceded.

Mort asked attendees who use suppliers, “with the gift of hindsight, and you could go back and jump through a time machine and actually sort of think about your suppliers again, would you rehire the same third parties?” The responses indicated that about 50% would and about 50% wouldn’t.

Mort asked Simpson what makes a good third-party supplier as opposed to a bad one.

Simpson replied: “There’s obviously a few things … but I think the main thing in our experience is that third-party supplier should be a partner; they should understand both the business and the technology perspectives of the clients. It’s no good someone coming in and saying, ‘We’re experts in the technology. We’re going to take over. We’re going to implement it the way that best practice in the industry is.’”

Simpson recalled that, a few years ago: “We worked with a financial services client who was wanting to bring in a new CRM system. We were working with them already. We had built their services layer in a service-oriented architecture. And the client did all the due diligence on the suppliers, picked one that was expert in the technology, best practice in the industry, had all the case studies, great response to the tender. But then when they were awarded the product, they built a team from scratch. Now this team didn’t understand the subtleties of the legacy systems. We’re really interested in the legacy systems. They didn’t understand the politics, the history, the culture of the company. So they very much did this transformation to this CRM system to the clients rather than with the clients. And, of course, there were great project plans they were trying to hit milestones [on]. But you could say that they [were] steamrolling in these new processes…. Lo and behold, when the results came, it kind of limped over the line, if I recall then. [It] certainly did not give the business value promised and the business definitely felt that the system was put in for them, not with them.”

Summing it up, Simpson said: “The good supplier is one that will embed with the team and works with the team, thinks about the people, the process as well as the technology and doesn’t just jump to the new without a transition from the old [and] really looks at the way you are now and where you want to get to.”

Offering her take on the same question, Sharon Hamilton, U.K. managing director at Resillion, said: “When you’re [going] to pick a good third-party supplier, they need to have the basics that you’re looking for” right from the start. “So they need to have your sector experience, possibly your knowledge that you’re looking for in that business area, and be able to do what you’re asking them to do. So they need to be able to develop or software test if that’s what you want them to do.”

Additionally, she said: “Then you need that cultural fit. The only way it can really work is when people feel like they’re an extension of your team, and you might not have a really big team. You might have no team. But they need to be an extension of your company. So the cultural fit is really, really important…. [Also,] are they going to help you move at a rate of change that you need, but also your organization can accept? [Then,] it’s back to that people and process and change that you’re going to have to go through and is it going to work with that supplier that you’re picking because when that fit isn’t there, that’s when it can get really uncomfortable for both the supplier and the people buying those services.”