Large IT vendors are great. They have huge teams they’re able to put at your disposal, they’ve been around and will be around for a long time, and more often than not they have the experience of working on a project like yours. In short, they are safe, reliable, and they will get the work done.
Smaller technology companies, on the other hand, are never the first choice for enterprises because of several concerns:
- Do they have a team big enough to serve my project?
- Haven’t really heard about them. Are they any good?
- They make a good point but what if they can’t deliver? Is that a risk worth taking?
These are all valid questions that an enterprise procurement team has to consider. But amidst these doubts, there might be a few key advantages that you might be missing out on.
Here are four unique benefits that smaller IT firms bring to the table:
While large vendors may have teams offering a lot of different technologies, each is a small part of their overall skill set. So you get a team that has a range of skills but often not enough depth of skills. On the other hand, small IT companies typically build deep expertise in niche technologies, which makes them capable of delivering more customized and sophisticated solutions with those technologies.
For example, we work with a global consulting giant because they wanted a team that has deep expertise and experience of working with Drupal. They were already working with a large IT vendor, but not really convinced of their Drupal skills. We, however, had a team of Drupal developers experienced with deploying large-scale Drupal implementations. And that fit in perfectly with what the client was looking for. We have been working with them for six years now, and till date are the only high-skilled Drupal team they trust.
Interestingly, our engagement with them has also led to them expanding their previously limited Drupal project. Currently, they run a vast array of internal systems on Drupal including internal as well as customer facing websites that leverage Decoupled Drupal.
De-Risk Project Delivery
Not putting all your eggs in the same basket are widely accepted words of wisdom that should apply to hiring an IT vendor as well. And then why you need vendor diversity - a mix of different vendors working on your project Entrusting the entire project, or all simultaneous independent or interdependent projects to a single vendor is taking a huge risk on the delivery. In a scenario where the initial engagement is plagued by project management or delivery challenges, that impacts other downstream projects as well, severely delaying project timelines. The high initial investment and time spent in on-boarding a large vendor also makes it difficult to quickly change vendors mid-project.
Introducing small IT vendors into the project, especially for parts of it that demand niche technology expertise, is a good way to de-risk delivery. This could have two key advantages:
- Segments of the project get delivered even if there are challenges with the large vendor. So you are just left with a huge bill with nothing to show for it.
- Since you already have a different vendor in the mix, with understanding of the project (even if just a part of it), they can be easily brought in to either assist or replace the teams from the large vendor, if necessary. You save on critical expenditures in the middle of the project, while being able to bring it back on track.
Agile and Transparent Project Management
Small companies have tighter teams, shorter hierarchies, and less red tape which allows them to move faster on projects.
While Agile is an accepted projected delivery method across most IT teams, it is easier to follow rigorously with smaller, tightly integrated teams. And that ensures a more streamlined, flexible, and faster product development and delivery process.
For example, one of our clients, a global financial services firm, had stalled their product development owing to the US$ 1 million budget, and six month delivery timeline quoted by a large IT firm.
We came on board and offered to do a PoC delivering the most complex piece of their product. We did it at an investment of US$ 50,000 and in just four weeks. The lower investment and shorter delivery time gave the client confidence to move ahead with the project. We successfully delivered the complete product and have been maintaining it for a few years now.
In addition to the speed, teams brought in by smaller vendors are more amenable to working in close collaboration with your internal teams, and aligning to your delivery processes. This gives your stakeholders better visibility into the project, and hence greater control. Given the shorter hierarchies, you also have easier access to vendor-side decision makers in case you need to escalate certain challenges and concerns.
Superior Service and Delivery
Smaller IT vendors specializing in a specific set of technologies are small by design. They choose to work on a limited number of projects at a time, and that creates a huge advantage for their clients.
Teams from smaller vendor firms are highly focussed on their respective projects, and not spread out too thin across different projects. This means greater attention to your particular project, with teams making the effort to identify and develop the right technology solutions, and taking the time to truly innovate to meet your requirements. With a fully dedicated team, you can also be assured of timely delivery and a more transparent project management process.
Yes, a small IT vendor may not be an immediately logical choice for enterprise procurement teams. But these advantages definitely make them a viable contender, especially when it comes to developing highly customized solutions leveraging specific technologies. What they might lack in numbers, they more that make up for in skill levels, flexibility, and accessibility.
Srijan’s 250+ strong technology team is currently working with global enterprises across seven countries. Our extensive expertise with Drupal, as well as skilled teams for complementary technologies, enable us to successfully deliver a range of transformative digital solutions to our enterprise clients.
Working across media, travel, retail, telecom, and pharmaceutical industries, we typically kickstart our engagements with small PoCs. That helps our clients assess if our technology expertise fits their requirements, and how our teams work and deliver.
Got a digital transformation project in the works? How about we do a quick PoC to demonstrate the benefits of working a smaller vendor?
Tell us a bit about your project, and our solution experts will be in touch.