Relationships are complex things.  

Many of us have been attracted to that special someone, thinking that they were ‘the one’, only to find that when reality sets in the little issues become more irritating, eventually you stop talking and the relationship starts to break down.  

It’s no different in business with almost 80% of partnerships reportedly failing. Most partnerships fail when expectations don’t meet reality.

In the technology world this is often due to one of three things:

  • The trust has gone
    Everyone loves something new and technology is no exception. If you fell for the good looks of some shiny fintech or the allure of what seemed like an amazing deal on price, you’re not alone.  Many companies are persuaded into purchasing technology only to find months later that the software is not fit for purpose - one size does not fit all.  

    Instead of the technology improving workflow, companies create workarounds in their processes to accommodate the limitations of the software. This is detrimental to efficiency and can really restrict business growth.

    One of the key reasons for sourcing a technology partner in the first place is usually to improve efficiency and service. In the UK, IT failures are a major contributor to poor productivity and cost the economy £35bn per annum. You need technology which your employees and clients can rely on
  • I don't see a future
    Good communication and managing expectations are key contributors to a successful partnership, without these both parties can begin to feel frustrated and question whether they want to continue working with each other in the long run. 

    The right technology partner is invested in the relationship, actively listening to what their clients need and focusing on a common goal. Both partners should be engaged, attentive, open and honest. It’s something that we feel strongly about here at IRESS where we take a consultative approach from the outset to ensure expectations are aligned.
  • It's not you, it's me
    Sometimes a partner makes a decision to exit the relationship for their own reasons, which can come out of the blue. Recently Bloomberg announced it was exiting two of its business lines - SSEOMS and KYC - meaning that many will need to find replacement technology.

The positive side of breaking up? Getting back in the game

Breaking up or finding yourself without a partner is not all bad. It can be an ideal opportunity to pause and strategically review your needs.

It can also be a chance to examine why the previous partnership or technology didn’t work for you and use the learnings to go out and find the right partner.

In financial services, technology is constantly evolving and there are many new providers out there all clamouring for your attention, so the search can be quite overwhelming. These simple steps will help set you on the right path to success:

Draft some requirements and selection criteria

The first step is to be clear about what you are looking for.  The list of requirements should be based on two things. Firstly, the needs of the business, taking into account your strategy for growth and thoughts around what may be needed for the future.  

Secondly, client needs.  There is a real move towards client-centric business models in many industries, including trading. This shift is occurring as companies realise the advantages of segmenting their client base to identify specific needs and using this knowledge to either deepen existing relationships or attract new clients.  

The question you need to answer when building your list of technology requirements is what do you need to achieve for your clients (and your business) and how can technology support this?

Once you’ve identified your requirements you can build out your selection criteria.  

Here are our top five selection criteria to include when looking for a new technology partner:-

  • Product — what are the product’s capabilities? Does the potential technology partner offer the breadth and depth of capability you are looking for?
  • Business viability — is the vendor financially viable? How are they structured? Can they deliver the project?
  • Future direction — what is the technology partner’s vision for the product and their business?
  • Support — what additional services and support capabilities are available?
  • Price — what are the initial and ongoing costs and what value will the investment provide your business?

Do your homework

To start benchmarking potential partners against the selection criteria you first need to do some research.  The vendor’s website should give you general information about their capabilities and the products available. Industry events can also be a great way to see a demo of the software and get a flavour of what each company can do.  

If you want to build a full picture of what’s on offer, it’s increasingly important to enquire about other capabilities or services.  

As well as seeking a quality trading system, our prospective clients are looking at our API capability, market data costs, asset coverage, hosting and connectivity.  Essentially businesses are looking for increased flexibility to design optimal workflows which fit with each client’s business model, something which our trading software has at its core.

To assess the vendor’s viability and future direction, the following information should help, most of which is usually widely available:-

  • company history and financial results
  • accreditations
  • client lists and recommendations

Whilst these are good sources to start with they are greatly enhanced by carrying out a formal RFP process.

Finally, whether you carry out an RFP or not, do question what training and ongoing support is available. This is vital to make sure you are partnering with a business which will be there for you long after initial implementation.

Go dating - test the relationship

As with most relationships, the best way to find your ideal partner is by going dating.  Are they interested in you? What do they bring to the relationship? Are they putting your business needs first?  

We like to get to know your business and carry out a full tech audit for you to assess the technology you have against your list of requirements and make recommendations on where technology could help; to improve what you have, not just replace it with like for like software and make a quick sale.   This approach means we can readily identify how technology can help a business perform better.

Dating can take many forms from formal face-to-face meetings in the boardroom to informal chats in the pub or even cycle rides!  

It’s the best way to get a feeling for how the relationship will work.
Breaking away from a previous relationship and finding the best technology partner for your business is never easy. However, by learning from past experiences, doing your research and getting yourself back in the game you’re starting from a great place.

If you’re looking for a new technology partner why not make the first move and contact us or explore our software to find out what we can offer.