In 2018, Inspirant Group developed a business process strategy for a client that was implementing an Appian product. To support this digital transformation, we searched for the best partners in the market with in-depth knowledge of the platform. It was from this search that the Inspirant and Macedon partnership was created.
What started as a couple of developers quickly grew into a strategic partnership on large, complex projects with clients from energy to healthcare. In a rapidly changing world, these types of partnerships are essential to design, develop, and deliver holistic solutions.
What has made our partnership work? We’ve identified the core components that acted as our foundation and accelerated our ability to deliver consistent and successful results together.
A Complimentary Foundation
We’ve seen two types of partnerships evolve: additive and complementary. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Additive partnerships are between companies with similar competencies. These partnerships give both companies the chance to pool resources and qualifications on bids. This increases the value to clients and the collective team’s competitive advantage. In these partnerships, care needs to be taken to divide up work “swim lanes” and make sure that team members don’t step on each other’s toes.
Complementary partnerships are between companies whose competencies are different but build on each other. Complementary partnerships marry competencies that – when put together – provide a complete and holistic solution. Depth of experience is essential to this kind of relationship to balance the breadth of offering.
The partnership between Inspirant and Macedon is a complementary one. Inspirant provides extensive knowledge about energy and healthcare industries (the “who” and “why” for our joint solutions) and Macedon provides deep technical expertise (the “what”). Both companies execute with the same consulting language (the “how”), resulting in holistic, effective transformation solutions for our clients.
Shared Values and Operating Principles
The values companies hold go beyond the marketing mantras plastered on their corporate walls. Who you hire and the values you instill in your people matter. It’s how they operate day in and day out, from small individual tasks to large conflict resolutions.
Inspirant and Macedon never outlined or discussed our values on projects. It started as mutual recognition and quickly became the foundation behind our communication and execution. Below are a few examples of the values and operating principles that we shared and how they contributed to our strong and successful relationship.
The key ingredient to any strong partnership is trust. Without trust, relationships, communication, and the team’s productivity all fray. It becomes harder and a lot less fun to work together and sharply reduces the benefits enjoyed by the team and its clients. Trust, in turn, stems from a combination of integrity and know-how. While integrity is an active commitment by the entire team to practical, effective principles, know-how is the team’s ability to perform competently.
Transparency is a form of honesty and openness. It ensures that the right people in the partnership get the correct information at the right time. For example, while pursuing a business opportunity, the partner with client experience shared a stakeholder analysis to inform a collective strategy. During proposal construction, the partner with technical skillsets shared a thorough list of advantages and disadvantages related to technical approaches. With this transparency, the team collectively proposed the most effective approach that properly addressed our client’s challenges.
Curiosity fuels the right questions to promote clarity of purpose, accountability, and solution. During Sprint Zero, the team posed questions to client leadership about project objectives that would guide successful execution. During development sprints, there was iterative feedback on developed user interfaces that made the user interfaces as easy-to-use and effective as possible.
Proactivity is recognizing what our team can positively influence and then acting deliberately on what we’ve identified. On our projects, this included team escalations with proposed mitigation plans as early as possible. In another example, this included informal meetings to resolve miscommunications before they festered into larger-scale challenges.
Congruent Operating Models
If values fueled the engine of our train, then our shared operating model became the tracks it was running on. For us, this included our team structure, communications, implementation methodologies, escalation procedures, and how to work with clients in the context of a consulting agreement.
Every new team goes through stages of development. Great partnerships accelerate through this process. We found that our shared values (what we believe is important) and operating model (how we get work done) were the key ingredients that drove us forward.
Components of work were understood in a larger context, handoffs and expectations were established quickly, and a cadence of work gained momentum with each new sprint. Our train was running on these tracks at full speed and allowed us to formulate the right roles and responsibilities within our complementary relationship.
- Domain and Client Knowledge: Inspirant’s team included former executives, operators, and technologists with 20+ years of experience in healthcare. Their expertise brought the needed insight on care management systems, data conversions for utilization management, and end-to-end processing for a claims match solution.
- Technical Knowledge: Macedon brought its deep expertise in technologies – such as Appian and UiPath – as well as assets to jump-start initiatives including a leading asset repository from the Appian Partner community.
This complementary foundation was fully maximized within the operating model established. The values and principles we shared expanded our trust and accelerated our team cohesion. All of these items combined, allowed our partnership to flourish and establish a long-term relationship for us to deliver for our clients for years to come.
Macedon and Inspirant are the perfect partnership to start and support your transformation journey. Together we guide organizations as they take the leap from legacy to digital, helping them discover the opportunities of the new digital frontier.
Learn more about Inspirant’s digital transformation services at inspirantgrp.com/services
Learn more about Macedon at macedontechnologies.com