Whether you've already chosen Microsoft Dynamics GP as your accounting/ERP system of choice, or whether you're still in the selection process phase, choosing a partner that you're going to feel comfortable working with is an important step. Why? Because there should be good chemistry between your company and the partner you're going to be working with. That relationship will hopefully last a long, long time, well beyond the initial installation and implementation of the software. Your Microsoft Partner will be providing ongoing support and training, too.
So what are some of the avenues at your disposal for getting to know a potential partner? There are some old school and new school strategies:
1) Request references and have a list of questions to ask each reference so you can compare apples to apples. While you may want to ask questions about the partner's expertise, feel free to ask more personal questions, too. Are they easy to work with? Do they have a good work ethic? Do they seem to have a lot of turnover? Do they respond in a timely manner to your emails and calls? Think about the things that are the most important to you in a business relationship, and formulate your questions accordingly.
2) Visit their office. Think about it this way. When you go to someone's home for the first time, you probably come away with an impression about how that person lives. It's the same with an office. It leaves you with an indelible impression of what that company is like. Well kept or well worn? Traditional, modern or post-modern? Comfortable? Is the staff courteous? Maybe it's the little things, like bare walls or family photos on employees' desks, that give you pause or give you a good feeling. And I say "feeling" because these are subjective criteria.
3) Check out their Web site. Go beyond the About Us page. There may also be biographies of the leadership team, perhaps photos, too. Press releases that tell you a bit more about what they've been up to lately. If the most recent press release is 2 years old, you might assume that they haven't been doing a whole lot, or that their Web master has been incredibly negligent about posting updates. Either way, perhaps not a great sign. Trawl the site for all of the information you think your partner should be providing. Tips and tricks. Training classes. Support.
4) Social Media. In most cases, you'll find that there is a company LinkedIn site as well as LinkedIn profiles of individual team members. This can be a great way of finding out what you may have in common. Did you attend the same college? Do you have similar hobbies? Are they active on twitter? Check out their tweets. 140 characters can tell you more than you might think. Facebook. YouTube. Google +. Check them all out! This doesn't have to be a major research project, just get a quick take and trust your instincts.
5) Video. While I did mention YouTube above, this goes one step beyond. More and more, companies are telling their story in living color. Take a look at ours, as an example. Hopefully you come away with the impression we were trying to create, which is this: We're serious about and focused on our business but we're also a diverse group with many interests outside of work. We're fun. We're creative. We want you to like us.
Up Close and Personal with Altico Advisors:
Thanks for getting to know us!
For more information, we're always here to chat with you at 508-485-5588. Or contact us online at
By Marcia Nita Doron, Altico Advisors, Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM Partner serving New Hampshire (NH) and beyond.