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After graduating from Loughborough University in 2007 with degrees in electronic engineering and finance and management, I completed the BAE Systems graduate programme in their weapons and vehicles di...
Byron Ford, Consultant
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Home > Services > Partner Selection & Collaboration
The costs of selecting the wrong ones, however, can massively dent the original benefit case as well as costing management time to address soured relationships and maybe even to start again. In addition, the general rapid pace of business change, the need for new digital skills and the trends for agile development (both software development but also a general ‘change by iteration’ approach) can put specific requirements on working with partners.
Based upon our experience of helping many organisations select and then manage partners over time, we believe there are some important principles that help get things right:
We have extensive experience supporting organisations of all sizes across diverse sectors in selecting the right partners and getting them set up for success.
Common roles we fulfil are:
With our ‘low volume, high value’ model, we won’t overwhelm with large teams or take months to produce results.
“Excellent coordination of the commercial, technical and service management elements of the tender process. Documentation provided by Berkeley provided a great starting point enabling us to issue a Request for Proposal Document quickly” - Head of Procurement
“I got a huge benefit from your involvement: i) challenge - your team has never been afraid to have some of the difficult conversations ii) a real focus on rigour and best practice which we did not have iii) some deep insights to how the candidates would approach the process. You also helped us by setting our expectations throughout” - IT Vice President
We add value in a number of ways. First and foremost, because we’re independent, with no alignment to any other organisation, we can play a purely impartial expert role in helping you make the right selection.
Our skills in partner selection and mobilisation are strengthened by our firsthand experience of actually delivering complex change. We know what it takes to ensure success and therefore what to look for in partners. We’ve also worked side by side with a number of key third party organisations, leading system integrators and software vendors for example, so our understanding of skills and capabilities in the marketplace often runs deeper than simply meeting them through the selection process.
Different every time
We take each client situation as a unique set of circumstances. There is no fixed process. We help you look at the whole situation in the round and think carefully about what’s critical so we can understand the special set of circumstances and the key success factors. Working with stakeholders, including internal procurement teams, we’re then able to tailor a selection process.
Supporting your objectives
We start by gaining a broad understanding of what you are trying to achieve – the overall objectives, the benefits, the scope, so that we can build a clear sense of the kind of partners you need. If we think it would be better for you to delay your partner selection while some more preparatory work is done, we’ll say so – we’d rather put your long-term interests first. However if we can see how partners can help you move even faster, we’ll highlight this and help you structure the best and most flexible approach should circumstances change down the line.
Creating a sourcing strategy
We can help you create your sourcing strategy – specifying the types of third parties you need, particular skills and experience they must have and how best to go about procuring them. This creates the all-important strategic foundation for partner selection.
Bringing all the stakeholders together
The selection process will often involve a complex group of stakeholders, from the procurement team to end users, from business leaders to technology experts - all with their own views and areas of expertise. We are able to work effectively in these complex stakeholder situations, making sure the right people are involved and that they all work together around shared understanding and objectives.
Selecting the right partners
Once you’ve set your strategy, we can help run the actual partner selection process – typically taking you from a long list of candidate organisations through to the final selection. We also help with commercial frameworks, negotiating approaches and long-term management frameworks, to ensure the partner can be managed well and incentivised appropriately throughout.
Mobilising your partners and helping multiple partners get set up for successful working
To ensure your chosen partners get on board and start working as quickly and effectively as possible, we also provide expert help and guidance around partner mobilisation, collaboration and management. This can involve facilitating sessions to gain agreement on common objectives, ensuring partners are clear about the roles they’re stepping into as well as broader ways of working and reporting structures.
Review partner performance and relationships
It’s important to take a step back from time-to time and ensure that partners are delivering to original objectives or to assess the best partner landscape if drivers change. We can help do this as well as use our independence to assess how relationships can be improved and more value derived.
When selecting partners, focus on enabling them to bring to life what they will actually do – whether through their people or their products - rather than on them answering lots of questions on paper. Also make sure the relationship is set up well, particularly to enable collaborative working across parties.
Our client engaged us to run a rigorous supplier selection and mobilisation process.
Find out more about best practice approaches to Agile Procurement.
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