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  • AUTHOR Mukund Narasimhan
  • PUBLISHED ON January 04, 2021

So how do you go about getting the right partner?

Start by ensuring your partner truly understands software product engineering. I want to make a point here by calling out the difference between engineering software products and IT services. You will find that the large outsourcing IT companies fall in the latter. I couldn’t emphasize more on how important it is “understanding product engineering”. Companies that specialize in product engineering are led by technocrats. Right from the CTO all the way down to the new recruit, everyone understands technology and can write code. This is an extremely important distinction because the technical competency product development teams require are higher. In order to develop enterprise-grade software the partner should be able to almost mimic your team structure and provide technical leadership to their teams. It’s logical that this will be watered down when you start talking about hiring hundreds of engineers.


The 7 habits of the highly effective partner


1)  Start by seeing your potential partners antecedents. Are they technocrats? Do they understand real software engineering?


2)  Start small with a concept for the piece of work where you are planning on using a partner. E.g. Moving part of the application to the cloud, handing over ops for a product built on say C.


3)  Remember that teams cannot travel in a post COVID-19 era enquire on the experience of the technical owner from the partner side. Validate their comfort when they cannot make a visit onsite. Look for examples where they have accomplished similar work


4)  See if they can demonstrate experience of moving products in flight, getting transitioned in a remote setting


5)  Emphasise on experiences of working with other ISV’s. The partner should be able to show you the crystal ball by clearly calling out the activities during setup, knowledge transfer, remote shadow, remote reverse shadow, and stabilization


6)  You cannot imagine how important risk planning is, COVID-19 has essentially tested every BCP/DR plan out there.  Look for items that are practical, contextual, and not generic ones


7)  As you commence insist on an experienced team for faster stabilization. Be particular on the team being on-board and insist for continuation of key resources for at least 12 months



Using the help of an outsourced partner is going to bring down your budget and deliver significant cost savings. The world’s best companies have realized that they can’t hire every headcount. In the post COVID-19 area we have to come to terms with the fact that teams are going to be remote.


1. Start off by planning your own core vs context model and look for opportunities to self-fund your roadmap


2. If you are less than $500mn in revenues, I strongly advise working with technical founder-led companies. Having been both sides of the spectrum the knowledge and specialization they bring in, will be key to your success


3. Ensure your partner can demonstrate real experience of working with ISV’s


Finally, see how keen they are and how much ‘skin in the game’ they are willing to put in order to make the relationship successful.


I wish you good luck and hopefully see you winning in the zero-touch world. Should you have any feedback/questions feel free to reach me at

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