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JOVACO Solutions

How to Choose the Right Microsoft Partner for Your Organization


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I was recently at an End-User event where End-Users spoke about their dissatisfaction with their level of service and the services offered by their current Dynamics Partners. They discussed in detail about what they were not satisfied with and complained that much of the research had to be done by them concerning their Dynamics solution. I was concerned that all Partners were being lumped into the same category and that the general impression is that we are perceived as all offering the same types and levels of service; there needs to be some clarifications as this is not entirely true.

 There are a wide variety of different types of Microsoft Partners that exist in order to meet the different types of needs and requirements for different End-Users. I have put together a list of some questions to ask yourself to ensure you have a Partner that best fits your organization:

 1.       Do the competencies of your Partner align with your business requirements?

Microsoft has a wide range of competencies that a Partner must attain, look at which certifications your Partner has in order to have a better idea of their strengths and fit to your organization's specific requirements. Be aware of which vertical industries the Partner specializes in, in order to have a clear comprehension of their experience in your industry and if they are considered experts in your field. With your Partner’s expertise, you will be able to work together to align your solution in order to incorporate your industry’s best practices by understanding your needs and offering solutions tailored to your specific industry.

 2.       Does your Partner have the breadth of services that your organization is looking for?

Do your homework and check their customer references. When you speak to references, don’t only ask about the implementation process; ask how proactive they were during and after go-live with your system. Also discuss the frequency of communications, number of training sessions, frequency of User Group activities and informational updates as these are the long term activities that create a mature stable solution.

 3.       Can your Partner suggest different solutions to meet your different organizational challenges?

With the flexibility of the Dynamics product line and integration to Dynamics ISV solutions, there is usually more than one solution that could meet your organization’s requirements. Your partner must take into account the software and services you require and ensure that the proposed solution is fully integrated in line with your goals. The solution should enable you to streamline business processes and increase performance to make the most of your investment.

 4.       What level of involvement are you expecting from your Partner?

Some companies will try to delegate projects in their entirety to the firm implementing the solution. Others will do the exact opposite and actively participate and learn the product in order to try and reduce costs. You need to ask yourself: What type of customer am I? Do I really have the resources to do all the work myself or am I better off to have a Partner involved, helping with training and researching new solutions and updates?

 5.       Why choose one type of Microsoft Certified partner over another?

With a Certified Partner you are guaranteed that they have made a commitment to have several employees that are trained on the Microsoft solutions. These Partners have been tested and validated on their level of professionalism, the quality of their work, and their knowledge as well as implementation of Microsoft Dynamics or the development of add-on solutions.

 

Once you have decided on a solution that best meets your needs, you also need to be assured that you have found a Partner who will meet your expectations moving forward with regard to your needs for training and providing information on new technologies and product updates. These are all key success factors to protect your investment. By effectively using your system to its full potential and by asking yourself these questions you will be better able to guage your expectations and requirements.

 I strongly suggest that you be open with your Partner from the beginning and ask these questions so that the Partner is aware of your expectations so they will be well informed and able to meet them. This will reduce your chance of being disappointed with the level of service later on. Also, don’t be afraid to make your concerns heard if you feel that your expectations  are not being met. It could happen that your organization's original needs have changed and so you should make your Partner aware of these changes in order for you to remain informed and up-to-date on your Microsoft solution and to continue to take full advantage of your system.

By JOVACO Solutions, your Quebec-based Microsoft Gold Certified Partner

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