Today, IT vendors in the fitness industry need to be more than just development teams who code, test, and deliver their software. They also need a team of people who specialize both in their product and in your business — people you can rely on to support you, to help you make the best business decisions possible, and to enable you to achieve your goals and objectives.
These people should be specialists, coming from a background of implementation consultancy, as well as the field in which you work, i.e. health and fitness. Well, this is the ideal scenario anyway. Some companies will tell you they have all the experience in the world when implementing your business onto their platform, but when the day comes and you lean on the supplier for advice and help to steer you in the right direction, you end up lost and sometimes helpless. This then becomes the slippery slope into a failed project.
When looking for a new IT partner or supplier, you should consider not just the product they have but also the people behind it. Look for how many failed projects they’ve had. Look for the average tenure of employment they have in the business. If they have a short average length of employment, alarm bells should be ringing. Ask them for information on the people who will work on the project. Their background and experience should give you confidence in the people you are going to work with.
A good, experienced IT partner will not just provide you with their service, they will also lead you down the path of best practice not only for the system but in the industry. They should challenge you and question processes in order to achieve the very best that is possible. There is a reason this supplier exists, there is a reason you have chosen them. Learn to trust them and take advice and you will find your implementation will go much smoother than if you try and fight the new system and any accompanying change management required.
Of course, all of the above will only be possible if you have set out the guidelines and expectations to your business in advance of implementation. You need to set the boundaries of what will and will not be achievable in the initial implementation, and brief your teams to adapt and move forward rather than say no to all changes. The worst reason a new supplier or partner can give for not changing something is, “We have always done it that way.” If you and your business proceed under this mindset, you are heading for failure.
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