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Should You Use an Implementation Partner

Should you use an implementation partner while working with vendors

There are well over 50 companies that provide AMS products to the association market. They range from products designed for very small associations all the way up to enterprise systems selling for six or seven figures fully installed. (Click here to see a list of all these different vendors.)

For a handful of these vendors, you have the option of working directly with the software provider to install and support the software, or you can opt to work with an implementation partner. An implementation partner is typically a consulting services firm that has been certified by the software vendor — meaning the implementation partner knows the product and can help you successfully implement the software.

The question is, if you have the option of working with the vendor directly or working with an implementation partner, how do you choose? What are the benefits of each approach?

Working with an Implementation Partner

Not surprisingly, the benefits (and drawbacks) of working with an implementation partner are the mirror opposite of those benefits and drawbacks of working directly with the software vendor.

Implementation partners tend to be smaller than the software vendors they are working with. They will have fewer clients than the software vendor itself, and can typically provide a higher level of customer service.

In addition, because the implementation partners are smaller with lower overhead, they tend to charge lower prices, and over the course of a complete system installation, that can result in significant savings as compared to working with the vendor directly.

On the downside, of course, is that you’re not working directly with the vendor. And as some of my clients have seen, this can lead to a “that’s not our problem” situation, where the software vendor and the implementation partner each blame the other for issues that arise.

Working with an Implementation Partner

Not surprisingly, the benefits (and drawbacks) of working with an implementation partner are the mirror opposite of those benefits and drawbacks of working directly with the software vendor.

Implementation partners tend to be smaller than the software vendors they are working with. They will have fewer clients than the software vendor itself, and can typically provide a higher level of customer service.

In addition, because the implementation partners are smaller with lower overhead, they tend to charge lower prices, and over the course of a complete system installation, that can result in significant savings as compared to working with the vendor directly.

On the downside, of course, is that you’re not working directly with the vendor. And as some of my clients have seen, this can lead to a “that’s not our problem” situation, where the software vendor and the implementation partner each blame the other for issues that arise.

So what’s it going to be?

Which approach is right for you? That depends on your needs and budget, as well as your organization’s culture. For some of my clients, working directly with the vendor is the only way to go. They don’t want a middle-man involved, regardless of cost. For others, using an implementation partner means a higher-touch relationship and lower costs.

Only you can decide what’s best for your organization. But for those vendors that have implementation partners, it provides one more implementation option for their customers.

 

Did you like this article? If you’d like to receive notice of articles like these as they are posted in the future, click here.

Wes Trochlil

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