Finding the right technology partner is not very different from trying to find a life partner. You have to find someone whom you can respect and trust. Someone who has your back in tough times and prioritises your happiness at all times.
While we have generations of wisdom to fall back on for finding a romantic partner, charting the Route to Market digitisation journey for emerging markets is new. It’s fraught with obstacles that are endemic to those markets. You’ll need a technology partner who has a deep understanding of the market challenges, has scalable solutions and is committed to helping achieve your business goals.
Starting with the delivery methodology, here are some fundamental tenets and approaches that your technology partner should follow and bring to the table.
Standard Delivery Methodology
Engagement model: Ensure your technology partner has bought into your RTM business goals and facilitates a business outcome-focused engagement approach.
Support model: Your technology partner should enable a glocalised support model designed in partnership with regional partners.
Config Vs Custom: It’s vital to access the robustness of the prospective vendor’s solutions. Retail ecosystems in emerging markets are very complex with multiple touchpoints. Technology solutions should factor these complexities with a light delivery model and offer a platform that can be customised as per your ground realities.
Change management: Your technology vendor must participate in the evangelisation of the new tech and have strategies that can increase adoption rates. Ideally, both you and your partner should develop a joint approach with a focus on RTM solution adoption.
In effect, your technology partner should be capable of a standard delivery method with standard processes across the RTM digitisation software lifecycle.
Your technology partner should be completely focused on driving your business outcomes. You can assess the partner’s capacity to provide the necessary support in their engagement models across the pilot, go-live and ongoing stages of the project.
Pilot or Pre-Go Live Stage
The new tech should enable your teams to hit the ground running fast. It is possible only if the RTM platform is configured to mirror your processes. Ensure the tech partner offers train-the-trainer programs to accelerate the adoption of the new technology immediately after Go Live.
Typical timeline: 4 to 8 weeks
The success of your RTM digital transformation hinges on your adoption drives and change management. A right tech partner recognises the requirements and should handhold your users through the adoption process. The foundation for the adoption would have been set in the Pre-Go Live Stage itself. You can ensure success by creating evangelisation support KPIs for your tech partner and working with them to ensure 100% adoption rates.
Typical timeline: 8 to 12 weeks
The good news is that your ecosystem will change permanently in the digitisation journey. But it might take a while before the use of the new technology becomes second to breathing. It is a critical period for your RTM digital transformation. Have patience.
Until the use of the platform becomes a habit for your users, a committed technology partner will continue to provide ongoing support. It will include offering business analysis that can enable your teams to drive the right RTM actions. The partner should create a centralised tech support system with defined SLAs.
Typical timeline: Ongoing with weekly connects
Like any relationship, it requires both parties to be aware of the pitfalls and the hacks that can create a seamless engagement. Ultimately, your RTM digital transformation is the bigger goal and one that will bring high dividends for your brand.
We compared the strengths and weakness of top technology solution providers to digitise your downstream supply chains and route to market, and created a competitive analysis report. You can download the report here.