Even before COVID-19, many organisations faced considerable IT challenges. Now, COVID-19 is rapidly pushing companies to operate in new ways and IT is being tested as never before. Matt Parker, CEO of Babble, unlocks the secrets to successful technology partnerships.
As businesses juggle a range of new systems, priorities and challenges, including business continuity risks, sudden changes in volume, real-time decision-making, workforce productivity, security and customer satisfaction, leaders must act quickly to address immediate systems resilience issues and lay a foundation for the future. If leaders wait until the other side of the pandemic before applying lessons learnt from the experience so far, it will be too late. Long-term strategies for greater resilience need to be determined now; for many, strong technology partnerships will be critical to this.
Here at Babble, we’ve recently been announced as the Five9 EMEA Reseller of the Year for the second consecutive year, so you could say we know a thing or two about successful partnerships. Our relentless strive to build long-term relationships with clients and implement services that guarantee business continuity and eliminate the hassle and expense of traditional on-premise contact centre software, has in turn benefitted our relationship with Five9, driving record European sales for the business.
So, what’s the key to building successful long-term partnerships?
- Seek seamless integration: Firstly, if you lack the skills or resources in-house to deliver business-critical technology solutions, you must look to a partner that can seamlessly integrate into your business – and quickly. But always remember, the best technology partnerships are those that are worth more than the sum of their parts, and these relationships must be mutually beneficial.
- Look beyond the costs: Cloud technology negates the need for bulky upfront costs, which can boost digital transformation, especially where financing is an issue. However, leaders should not focus on the partnership costs alone. Businesses must carefully consider the supplementary support they need and will receive when it comes to innovation, digital transformation and engineering. It is crucial that decision makers understand this at the outset to ensure they don’t enter into partnerships that are ultimately disappointing, and short term.
- Leverage expertise: Business leaders must be prepared to put the innovation and investments being made by cloud and technology experts to good use. Most businesses will choose to work with at least one technology provider as they look to leverage their deep expertise and numerous cloud services and getting the most out of them is about committing to a partnership. Don’t think about the short-term – you should be committing to a relationship that allows you to leverage expertise for years into future.
- Remember the basics – check product functionality/offering: Don’t lose sight of what you require the partner for and ensure that the products the chosen partner can deliver align with and provide the functionality that your end users require.
- Nurture relationships Don’t forget that technology partnerships are no different to any other relationship. The best partnerships are built on a long-term basis, so while it is critical that a strong working relationship exists from the outset, this is not the only consideration. The relationship needs nurturing. Communication is fundamental – and with a global workforce that is now more technologically agile and available than ever before – there really is no excuse.
About Matt Parker, CEO of Babble
Matt Parker has more than 20 years’ experience leading organisations that deliver business enablement solutions to companies around the globe, and as a CEO for over 10 years, has used his entrepreneurial knowledge and executional excellence to scale technology businesses. Before joining Babble, Matt led the talent management business of StepStone from start-up to a team of over 800 people generating global revenues of more than $100m. He was part of the leadership that led the sale of StepStone to Axel Springer in 2009 and subsequently, as CEO, led an MBO backed by Hg Capital of the HCM leader, StepStone Solutions, rebranding it to Lumesse.
Following two years as CEO of VC-backed retail analytics business, Path Intelligence, while holding the Non-Exec Chair role of BGF-backed Petrotechnics, Matt then joined Babble as CEO in February 2016. His second MBO, backed by LDC, was completed in October 2017, before Matt lead the cloud-based solutions company on an ambitious organic/acquisition “Buy & Build” growth strategy. Previously a £7m revenue, break even business in 2017, Babble will exit 2020 with £30m of revenues, and a clear view of how it gets this to £100m.