I got an interesting questions from one of the Dynamics GP users out of my region, on how to select the best partner to deliver my demands, for sure my immediate reply was “Select me!”
However, not all customers will select me! And this user been looking for local partner in their area, therefore I felt that this is the best time to publish how do I select a new partner if I been a customer and how not to be blamed if the partner been not as expected.
I been through this before, where I been selected to evaluate tendering process for selecting a partner for a customer out of my region who runs GP for a while and looking to re-implement the product to follow the standards and work on the product correctly.
For partner selection, I normally analyze all the aspects carefully before recommending any partners even if I worked with them closely, just to make sure that customers fully comfortable with the recommended partner before doing the selection, normally I recommend people I know abroad and looking for local partners to follow steps below before signing the agreement with the new partner:
Major Selection Criteria:
1. Ask for the complete list of customers, make sure to visit 3 as per your selection not the partner and randomly talk to at least 10 on phone, select users from the accounting department who works on the product and have no interest in recommending the partner, ask for partner performance in delivering support, knowledge in business and knowledge in Dynamics GP modules, plus what modules do they really implements for customers? Do they deliver the core application modules to close the project or they really providing their customers with the max of Dynamics GP features.
2. Ask the partner to deliver a presentation on Microsoft Dynamics GP features for you, and make sure to ignore normal product modules and focus your questions on the modules that requires a real experts in the product like (Payment Document Management, Cashbook Management, Electronic Funds Transfer, Electronic Bank Reconciliation, KPIs Management, Requisitions Management, and Workflow) which will enhance the product usability in the future and will benefit your organization.
3. Ask to meet the resource who will be handling your support and make sure to include his name in the contract if you liked his experience.
4. Make sure that the partner you selects runs a helpdesk system with monitored response time KPI to make sure that any delays in your call be monitored and accountable.
5. Grant added value for partner who worked on a business near to yours with other customers, this is really make a big difference.
With the above points, all your partners will get low scores, but at least you will know who gets the highest!
Other Points to Consider from the blogsphere:
- The partner you choose should be a "Managed Partner" for Dynamics GP by Microsoft. This assures access to local Microsoft resources and response to your needs by a team that is incented to work with you.
- Years in business and years of Microsoft Dynamics Experience - more is better. The average life of a Microsoft Dynamics GP partner is less than 4 years. Many partners have come and gone over the years. Many have closed their doors, sold, merged or have been acquired. Many of these players have resurfaced with new company names and new faces, leaving clients with broken partnerships and promises.
- Breadth of experience. Make sure partner has specialist and certified professionals for core competencies (Financial, Distribution/Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Payroll/Human Resources, CRM, etc.) around Dynamics.
- Partner Advantage Support. This is the highest level of support a partner can get from Microsoft for Dynamics. Your partner should have a contract with Microsoft for this level of Dynamics GP support. This provides the partner 24×7, level II one hour response times. Otherwise, 3 hour estimated response times is the norm, 8-5, level one support (less than the level of support a client can contract for).
- Microsoft Certified Sales Professionals. Partners with this position are allowed to provide clients with special offers on licenses and Microsoft services.
- Dedicated Client Account Manger (often referred to as a Customer Sales Manager, CSM, within the Microsoft Dynamics community). Partners that have CSMs value long-term relationships with customers and hold events to ensure your organization stays on top of the latest features and functionality long after go-live.
- Microsoft Sure Step Methodology for implementations. This methodology ensures confidence that implementations will go smoothly, be consistently replicated, and have predictable outcomes.
- Reasonable travel time and travel expense charges. These charges can add as much as a 50% to 100% surcharge to the effective hourly rate.
- Relationships with all of the Dynamics GP Independent Software Vendors (ISV) related to your implementation. Make sure your new partner has a positive previous working relationship with these vendors.