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What to consider when choosing a software partner

If your company is on the lookout for a software partner, you are facing an important choice. You’ve decided to make a large investment that will benefit your entire organization and need someone you can trust completely. Have a read below to learn what you should consider when making your choice.

Experience and competence

Does the supplier have a history of successfully led projects that demonstrate strength in software and systems architecture and project management? That they have technical as well as industry-specific expertise and cutting-edge knowledge is perhaps the most important thing for them to be able to solve your business’ problems. You must feel certain that they will build a future-proof and scalable platform where product and solution iterations can take place quickly. Equally important is that they can break the project down into smaller pieces and look at the situation from a helicopter perspective.  

Technology and security

Find out what tech-stack the provider uses and how that fits with your company and your needs. Their choice of technology and infrastructure must work for your systems – not only right now but also in the future. You should also discuss what the partnership will look like when it comes to security, support and maintenance. It is important that they offer continuous help and support and have a plan for how potential bugs and malfunctions will be handled.  

How they view your business

It is important that your supplier has a holistic perspective and looks at your entire company and your goals, not just the technical aspects. Do they understand your business and vision? And does it feel like they have an understanding of what you need, and why? You must be able to trust that they will make the right decisions and set the right priorities that contribute to a solution that provides maximum value for your business.  

Communication and responsibility

Choose a software partner that values regular communication and keeps you up to date on (almost) every detail. They should reply quickly, be transparent and you should not need to chase them down to get to know the latest updates on how things are going. This way they show that they take their responsibility as your supplier seriously and the risk of misunderstandings will decrease. You as a customer can then feel strong trust in them and know that they will go that extra mile to solve your problems.  

Similar mindset

Does it feel like you have a similar company culture and think the same way as your software partner? If you feel like you have shared values and priorities, it will be much easier to enter a long-term partnership where you feel you can trust the supplier. You may be in daily contact with the software experts and they could, as a result, become more like colleagues than someone working for you. It is therefore important that you lay a solid foundation for a long-term collaboration.

A proper contract

Make sure that you have a properly written contract with your supplier where the project’s scope, timeframe and other important details are stated. This ensures that it is clear what is expected from each party and reduces the risk of misunderstandings. The contract can also act as protection for you, as well as the software partner, if disputes or other problems arise along the way.  

Some important things to include in the contract are:  

Ownership of the code  

Make sure that it is clear who owns the intellectual property – will you own the code after the solution is implemented? There can never be any ambiguity about this, so be sure to clarify it right when the project starts as the ownership of the code can become very important later on. If, for example, you need help from an additional supplier, you must be able to share the code with them so that they can do their work.  

Cost and pricing model

Because of its complexity, it is often difficult for a supplier to estimate the final cost of software, but you should be able to get an estimate and at least an explanation of how the pricing is done. Do you pay up-front, per month or when the project is finished? Are there certain costs that may appear later that cannot be predicted when the work starts?

Confidentiality and data protection

If the development of your solution involves your software partner gaining access to sensitive information (both regarding your own business and your customers), it is important that your contract also handles confidentiality. It is also important that it is clearly stated how your data is handled, processed and stored and also whether any subcontractors will get access to it.  

In summary, it is important to choose a software partner that you feel confident can deliver a high-quality solution that meets your needs. They must be flexible, communicative, listen to you and understand what you need for the solution to generate the best possible value for your business.  

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