Pertinence: How You Should Evaluate Potential Partners


When you are ready to evaluate systems integrators and service providers, you want to assess them systematically across areas that complement your organizational needs. Which provider should you give work to? What kind of partnership do you need? Which should be a strategic partner? The decision is quite complex. It’s crucial to understand the areas an agency should evaluate in this decision, and the purpose of this post explains the technique.


For the last decade, organizations have chosen partners to help them journey to modernization and digitalization; IT departments have proved their value by implementing technologies that support service delivery or line-of-business models while lowering costs.


The concept of digital doesn’t help evaluate partners because everyone is either digital or legacy. Every service provider recognized the need for digital capabilities years ago and built those into their offerings. And almost every technology moves quickly to a migrating schedule these days.


Many organizations consider partnerships by examining these three factors:


  • Expertise: Does the provider have expertise in implementing and maintaining ECM or Laserfiche, specifically? Or expertise in agile development for custom apps? Does the provider have a track record of building usable workflows?

  • Scale: Which providers have the capabilities and a deep bench of skilled technologists to get something done to solve the problem?

  • Experience: Which providers have a demonstrated track record of maintaining ECM infrastructure in the cloud or on-prem?

Rethinking the way you evaluate potential partnerships


Today, companies need a new model for evaluating service providers’ capabilities. This framework needs to enable thinking about how to build a provider mix to supplement the enterprise capabilities of your team. One of the newer techniques is to examine providers from the perspective of their pertinence to your agency instead of their ECM skills.

So, consider what a particular service provider’s germaneness is to your company? Service providers are relevant in different ways, and understanding their significance gives you insight into where you can work more or less often with a partner.

For example, a service provider could be robust at maintaining ECM as an electronic filing cabinet. Its relevance to your company is in the context of your plans for the ECM system, such as automation of records requests or paying invoices. Therefore, you would build on that pertinence, giving that provider a chance to support the ECM filing cabinet and challenge another provider with evolving your use of workflow and forms. Or just rid yourself of the electronic file cabinet provider altogether. The provider’s relevance is that it has the expertise and scale to update the ECM infrastructure to your company’s desired digital state.

This concept can have many components, and there are several relevant dimensions. For instance, a provider’s relevance could be competence and experience in your company’s applications in a functional area, such as a specific agency department like a city clerk. It could be expertise in customer experience, such as working with municipalities of a particular size. Or a provider could be relevant to your company because it is easy to work with and returns support calls within the hour. It could be appropriate because it invests in platforms or technologies you seek to leverage, like building out workflows that can be reused.

The service provider to choose is the one who is pertinent to your organization’s context. Do not keep searching for a partner who is lauded as the best in the world in a particular skill, function, area, or market. Find the partner that is the best fit for you.


I’d love the opportunity to make a case for CPS, so if you are interested, please contact us.


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