SI Selection Should Be like Seeing a Matchmaker

I admit it, like many other North Americans I am a junkie for reality TV.  So when I recently sat down to think about the best practices for selecting a System Integrator partner, I immediately associated the idea with shows like, “Millionaire Matchmaker,” “Ready for Love,” and “The Bachelor”.  Corny as it may seem, picking a partner in business is similar to picking a partner for life. Your life can be heaven or hell based on that one choice, and it is a long term commitment, at least we hope so!

Seek advice and know what you want going into the search.

Create a check list of the qualities that are most important to you, just as you would if you were choosing a mate on a reality show. Here are a few examples I would use.

1. Look for a partner who has similar interests as you, that understands you and that will not walk out the door when things get rough. Do they have the same level of education that you are looking for? Are they good communicators? What are they willing to put into the relationship to make it an equal and balanced relationship? What kind of commitment are they willing to make, and do you want the same things?

2. Check their background. Who are their friends (software vendors), how long have they known each other, what type of relationship do they have? Is it superficial or have they known each other and had multiple, proven customer successes? Do they pay their bills on time?

3. Check their references. Whom have they dated before? Have they treated their past partners honestly and with respect? Do they still speak to each other? Is there a lot of turnover in their dating life or do they have steady relationships?

It may not be an ideal match in scenarios, but a lot of the same concepts align. Like with every good relationship, communication is key and a mutual understanding of your commitment to each other with mutual goals for the relationship. Check both references of family and friends (e.g. customers and software vendors), compare them against the pool of other eligible system integrators (or in the case of reality TV, bachelors) and see how they stack up. I would even suggest that you ask an expert such as an industry analyst (here playing the role of the matchmaker) their opinion if you want a third party opinion. Remember – it is rough out there, so do all of your research and homework and specify your overall expectations, as it will make your long term relationship with a System Integrator partner a win-win situation.