Why You Should Use an Official Partner
If you are thinking about choosing an implementation partner for your web project, you should go with an official partner of the system you are considering.
The learning curve of a powerful system like TYPO3 can lead to mixed results in the quality of the end-product. Working with an official partner has several benefits - let us give you an overview about our most important ones:
Official partners are screened and validated
A partner program consists of - at least - an initial screening of the applying partner. Screening normally contains verifying numbers of employees directly involved in working with the software (may that be for example programmers, editors or even consultants) and how many of those employees are certified to use the software. Additionally, with the help of case studies or project reviews the screening will determine which project sizes and industries are the key areas of the partner - meaning you will find a partner that knows your business and is experienced in projects like yours.
The good partner programs include regular re-validation of a partner’s claims to quality and experience and contain feedback loops with the partner to continually improve both the partner’s processes and the software.
Official partners offer project reviews
An official partner should - as part of the partner program - offer project reviews done by an independent third party. In many cases this will ideally be the software vendor itself, as they usually have the most insight into how the system is used and what makes a future-proof, easy-to-use and stable project. Project reviews give you security in terms of quality and investment-stability. Additionally - and we all know about that - if you know that someone else will take a closer look at what you have done, you will automatically double-check your work - leading to fewer errors and better quality.
Official partners agree to project retrospectives
Some software vendors offer “partner matching”. Basically you contact the vendor with the parameters of your project and business area and they will provide you with a list of possible partners based on your requirements and preferences. You will then conduct your project directly with the partner you chose. After the project has been finished you will get the opportunity to take part in a project retrospective with the partner and the vendor, giving feedback for possible improvements on the partners, the vendors and on your side. This provides you with the unique possibility to re-assess a project at the end and will give you additional insight for your future projects.
With official partners you have a neutral third party
Let’s be honest: Every one of us has at least heard of that one project, that did go completely wrong. The one in which you argued about every requirement and every payment. The one that left you unsure whether the solution you got was any good at all. What if that happens to your project? In that case you can wait until you have to include a lawyer in all your emails, you could just write the project off and start from scratch (expensive) or you could try to work with what you’ve got (sometimes even more expensive). If you are using an official partner there is another way: Ask the software vendor that made that partner official for help. The vendor has a vested interest in happy users, as negative publicity has a direct impact on the usage of the software. Additionally, he screened that partner and will want to know about any problems. As a third party, the vendor should judge whether the solution you got is state-of-the art and in-line with how the software should be used. The vendor will not magically solve any problems you have - but you will get a mediator instance for free.
Official partners are more actively involved, have the better network and connections
As most partner programs also contain a community part, like partner meet-ups, calls and conferences, chances are high official partners are well connected and actively involved in the software ecosystem. This is especially important in terms of future-proof solutions and efficient implementations. The better connected the partner is, the higher the probability he will know how the software will develop in the future. The more actively involved they are, the better their employees know how and where to find information about the software leading to a faster implementation speed.
Check the requirements
Nearly every bigger system out there has a partner network with potential partners for your project. Make sure to take a quick look at what it takes to become a partner for the system. Some of them are simple “buy-ins” with no quality assurance program attached, some have “harder” requirements in terms of quality, validation and involvement. Knowing what it takes to become a partner gives you a good starting point in evaluating how useful the partner matching will be for you.