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What is an agile partnership & 6 steps to establish one

In an ever-changing and unpredictable climate, businesses must adapt fast – or risk being left behind. 

As businesses across the world prepare to make a comeback, in what are extraordinary times, agility will be critical to their future success.

The best-of-breed services companies understand what their customers want and make use of the latest technologies to provide it – yet few are taking advantage of agile partnerships, despite the fact that doing so could be the game-changing differentiator you’ve been looking for.

What is an agile partnership?

An agile partnership is where one company buys in expertise, services or products from a specialist to gain a competitive edge, increase market share, or enter a new market. The partnership is based on trust, designed for mutual gain, and must be beneficial to both organisations’ strategic goals.

‘Agile’ has become the latest business buzzword and its intended business meaning – to be able to adapt to constant change – is at risk of distortion. Originally, ‘agile’ referred to the methodologies that software companies used to develop products in incremental iterations. Today, it has come to be more commonly used to refer to a change in company culture to boost productivity and collaboration both internally and externally.

Why does it matter?

Business agility is crucial to maintaining momentum to outpace competitors in an increasingly dynamic business world – never more so than now. This may be by bringing new products or services to market quicker than rivals, or establishing new business strategies that help to move your business forwards and strengthen resilience.

More and more, we see companies establishing new partnerships to achieve customer-centricity and unlock new technological capabilities, rather than simply to cut costs – which is one of the more traditional aims associated with outsourcing.

How to get started: 6 steps

While traditional outsourcing focussed on cutting costs and improving back-office services, today’s disruptive outsourcing is more about collaboration in the marketplace to integrate services an organisation cannot quickly establish alone, to innovate, transform and propel its growth whilst unnerving its competition.

So what should you look for when sourcing the perfect agile outsourcing partnership?

1. Create a brief and set your goals

Outline what it is you hope to achieve from your partnership before pursuing a partner. Be clear on your plans, set your budget, and consider your performance expectations. This will help to guide the choices that follow.

2. Do your research

Before deciding who to partner with, do your background checks! Take a look at a company’s customer references and check out their ratings and brand reputation through online review sites such as Trustpilot and Capterra.

3. Draw up a shortlist

Once you’ve scoped out your potential partners, narrow down your options and create a shortlist. It’s important to consider and speak with multiple suppliers before choosing the one who best fits your brand and suits your needs.

4. Assign a dedicated contact

Communication is key to a prosperous partnership. Ensure your partner has one dedicated person to liaise with and that this person takes the time to nurture the relationship, regularly keeping in touch and informing your partner about any changes or updates to your business as well as new emerging needs.

5. Try before you buy

It’s important to truly get a feel for what your partner can offer and be confident in their abilities before diving in. There’s no better way to do this than to trial the service before making any commitments, even if for only a short time. Experience the benefits first-hand and weigh up your options before taking the plunge.

6. Do the maths

Finally, take the time to predict and monitor the real ROI of outsourcing for your business. Consider factors such as overheads or liabilities, to ensure you will and are receiving the true value that an agile partnership has to offer.

Learn more

Want to find out more about what an agile partnership can do for your business and how you can get started? Download our free Agile Outsourcing Partnerships ebook for more great insights and leading examples.

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