How do you manage a good implementation, not just from an internal standpoint, but also managing a system integrator?

Top Answer : I'm not going to go to the platinum guy out there that comes with a huge cost. I look for one in the middle who’s hungry. For example, I took this order to cash the whole transformation project. I engaged the consulting entity. I wouldn't say they were not experts, but they were not a Salesforce.  They were trying to move towards Salesforce. They had already implemented 6 out of 7 things and were looking for somebody to come in and help with the last one. I looked at their price and then checked with everybody who I know in the industry. I was able to get the work done at almost 60-percent of the platinum vendor cost. It was on my terms, they were able to put a lot more hours in, they were able to deliver, and I’m happy in the end. If I try to hire a platinum vendor, I'm at their mercy. Then I have to listen to what they want to tell me every day.

Pink Server
Software
I'm not going to go to the platinum guy out there that comes with a huge cost. I look for one in the middle who’s hungry. For example, I took this order to cash the whole transformation project. I engaged the consulting entity. I wouldn't say they were not experts, but they were not a Salesforce.  They were trying to move towards Salesforce. They had already implemented 6 out of 7 things and were looking for somebody to come in and help with the last one. I looked at their price and then checked with everybody who I know in the industry. I was able to get the work done at almost 60-percent of the platinum vendor cost. It was on my terms, they were able to put a lot more hours in, they were able to deliver, and I’m happy in the end. If I try to hire a platinum vendor, I'm at their mercy. Then I have to listen to what they want to tell me every day.
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Green USB Stick
Software
I'm a fan of smaller shops and smaller SIs. They’re hungry and invested in your success. It ends up being a very good partnership. You're not just another project for them. There is that relationship element which just goes a very long way. For me that's key because especially in hypergrowth startup environments, it's never a one time thing.  We're going to continue to scale and add functionality, so it really helps to go with an SI that's invested in your success. The other factor in SI selection is domain expertise. I'm looking beyond the technical implementation. I'm looking for a partner who can advise and even strategize in terms of the technical architecture. I've seen a lot of implementations go sideways just because it was the wrong SI or the SI was not vocal enough to speak their mind in terms of what works and what doesn't work.
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Red Processor
Software
Having been on the System Integrator side, the things I've had to go and course correct for customers gave me some really insightful understanding around where there are gaps between what a large SI does in terms of their methodology and what some of the smaller SIs do. I actually developed my consulting practice through those lessons learned, and figuring out what those gaps were and plugging into them. In terms of evaluating vendors and implementation partners, I always start with methodology. It's not a one size fits all. One implementation partner can kill it with one partner but just crash and burn with another. Yes, price is important, timeframe is important, the team and their expertise, the years in business... those are all baseline things that you just stack rank. Those are the easy things to do the comparison against. What it comes down to is: can we build a really good working relationship together? And is your methodology going to align and integrate into the way that our culture works? That’s the key to success from what I’ve learned.
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