Vital partnership or unholy alliance? Decoding the software/service provider relationship
Software vendors such as Adobe, Salesforce and SAP and experience agencies such as Accenture Interactive, MRM McCann and VMLY&R need each other to survive. And you need them to work well together to build you great — and differentiated — digital experiences. The worst-case alternative is project failure and maybe losing your job.
But how they actually work together is a mystery. Do they work for your best interests? I think they would like to — and will always tell you they do — but sometimes they don’t (see Figure 1). You’ll notice a third player in the figure, because here come cloud platform providers like Amazon, Google and Microsoft, and they make things even more complicated!
Time to do some research! We drew on hundreds of client inquiries and interviews with 17 software vendors and service providers to find out what’s really going on. We found an alliance landscape that’s often hidden from view and rapidly shifting as software-as-a-service (SaaS) becomes the norm.
Figure 1: Partners’ Motivations Are Not Always Aligned With Each Other Or With Your Needs
Here’s an essential truth: Bad software implementations will kill your project and maybe even your career. But it’s hard for you to know how or why an experience project might go south or who is responsible for it. The information you may be able to get — for example, the number of “certified developers” — isn’t enough to give you confidence that it will work. (Certified by whom? And what does “certified” even mean?)
Here are some takeaways from the research:
(This post originally appeared on the Forrester Research blog, which can be viewed here).