Finding Integrators

We already mentioned the tool vendor as a resource to find integrator candidates. Make sure that you get more than one suggestion from the vendor since you may not find a perfect match with the first candidate. Colleagues are another good source of references. However, one of the main requirements for integrators is that they have worked with the tool before, so your network may or may not yield good results there. A great way to find integrators is to ask the reference accounts for the tool. At least the ones that had recent implementation projects should be able to give you particularly interesting suggestions. Build the long list by keeping the following basic requirements in mind for the candidates:

  • They should have experience with the tool. Even if your project is heavy on process definition or change management, look for an integrator with the appropriate technical expertise. You don't want to be the guinea pig on their first project with that particular tool.
  • They should have successful experience with similarly sized projects. Asking an integrator with a history of small projects to take on a large one is clearly dangerous, but asking an integrator with large project experience to take on a small one can be just as frustrating to everyone involved, as complex, overly bureaucratic methods and approaches can overwhelm internal resources and enthusiasm.
  • They should have appropriate geographic coverage. It's possible to work with a far-away integrator, but it's more difficult and always more expensive because of the travel costs. While the nitty-gritty code development could occur anywhere (and, increasingly, is done overseas), it's best to stick with local project managers and architects.

Is Small Beautiful?

Many (good) integrators are boutique firms that are unknown outside the community of users of the particular tool you are considering. Don't be afraid to keep such smaller integrators on your list of candidates as long as they can meet your business requirements. Boutique firms that are focused on a particular tool provide an excellent level of technical expertise for a much better value than larger, better-known firms.