The concept of 3rd party specialists might feel like a growing trend in the HCM market, but it’s been successfully deployed for decades with leading software companies. Some of the largest and most successful companies in the technology sector use certified partners to implement and manage complex projects for their customers. And they have good reason to do so; companies that employ a channel strategy can extend their reach, leverage a vast pool of outside expertise, and increase customer satisfaction.
SAP, Microsoft, Oracle, Workday, and countless other technology companies have recognized that professional services firms can extend their capabilities in ways that would be prohibitively expensive to do in-house. Third party partners offer strategic advice, detailed needs analysis, change management, vertical expertise, and local presence, – all of which contribute to faster time to go-live, maximum benefit from system capabilities, and higher long-term customer satisfaction. With a trusted partner managing your customer’s implementation, you can focus on what you do best: finding qualified prospects and closing deals.
What do Other Successful Companies Do? SAP is known for the robustness of its enterprise solutions. Why does SAP choose to engage with partners for implementation and support services? The short answer is that service partners add value. Dion Hinchcliffe of ZDNet refers to their role as “the last mile of customer success.” SAP has a well-deserved reputation for delivering robust software that can do it all. But robustness is a double edged sword; it implies a high degree of complexity. Services partners are SAP’s solution to that challenge. SAP’s partners, Hinchcliffe explains, ensure that “the more advanced capabilities of SAP's platforms are actually differentiating results in reality to provide additional business value for the customer.” He attributes the success of this approach to three factors. First, implementation partners “have a nuanced understanding of the history and needs of local customers and SAP products both, plus the ability to bring them together effectively.” Second, they can “[build] additional unique capabilities and solutions on top of SAP's many platforms,” and finally, they “[integrate] all of these elements together, along with 3rd party legacy IT systems, into workable enterprise IT portfolios.” Oracle, likewise, has recognized the vital importance of implementation partners in serving the needs of their customers, especially in the SMB space. Warren Wilson of Ovum Research describes it this way: "the concept of a defined 'SMB market' is misleading—SMBs differ so greatly in size, geographic focus and industry expertise that they actually constitute a vast collection of sub-markets.” For Oracle, third-party service firms play a critical role in addressing the critical nuances for each of those sub-markets. In the end, it translates to faster, more successful projects.
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