So, you’ve decided to buy Cherwell (excellent call!) and begun the work of deciding how you’d like to have it implemented. First of all, congratulations! It’s clear you have excellent taste in ITSM platforms. Now, about that implementation; the good news is, you have a ton of options.
Cherwell’s in-house professional services team can definitely implement it for you, but there’s also a world (literally) of official Cherwell partners out there who can do the job. Call us biased, but we think there are some distinct advantages to working with a parter (availability, cost, related products and service offerings, etc.).
But how to select the best partner for your platform implementation? A little due diligence by way of asking some pointed questions to each partner you’re considering will go a long way. It’s critically important that you’re aligned with the right partner for your implementation; the last thing you want to do is end up with rework down the road. Remember:
The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.
The following five questions, when asked of partners under consideration, will help cut through the confusion and set you up for success with the right partner. As a little bonus, we’ve included our own response to each question (call it a one-stop blog post).
1. Why does your company work with Cherwell?
Asking this question will tell you a lot about the company’s decision making process and what they care about. If you ask how and why did they end up working with Cherwell in the first place, you can learn a lot. This question will also help you get to the partner’s philosophy – their why.
Why we work with Cherwell:
We work with Cherwell because we believe our own company’s philosophy aligns with that of Cherwell’s, namely to “Accelerate Organizational Purpose”. We are passionate about improving how organizations get work done. We became one of Cherwell’s first partners because we believe in the technology, the company, and its people (more on that here). Cherwell is the only platform we implement (which is rare among partners) because, frankly, we think it’s the best IT Service Management platform out there.
2. How do you implement Cherwell?
This question gets to a company’s way of working. It’s critical in that the answer will illuminate how your project will be conducted. You want to make sure it’s done right the first time – on time, within budget, and to your specifications. Unfortunately, we’ve had to save more than a few failed Cherwell implementations over the years. The tragedy here is that the problem was never that the platform couldn’t do what the customer wanted. Rather, the platform wasn’t configured correctly or completely in the time allotted. If you’re looking for the cheapest rate and nothing more, you’re putting your project at risk.
A better approach is to understand how an implementation partner works, their philosophy behind implementations, and what you can expect in terms of communication and deliverables. You don’t want a disconnect between what you need and what is delivered.
How we implement Cherwell:
We use robust Project Management and Agile/Scrum concepts on all of our Cherwell implementations to deliver high-quality solutions quickly. We break all of our work into two-week sprints, deliver weekly status reports, and provide regular product demos of what we have built. What that does is allow us to prioritize the highest value work first, show you what we’ve built every two weeks, and incorporate your feedback immediately into the next sprint. Also, we only come on-site when needed (typically at the beginning of a project, during design sessions, and at the end of the project to train your staff). Thus, you don’t have to pay for more travel than is absolutely essential, which saves you a significant amount in project costs.
3. What kind of experience and certification does my Solutions Consultant have?
No matter which company you partner with to implement Cherwell, what matters most is the actual team assigned to your project. Before selecting a partner, find out who will be involved in your implementation and what their background, experience, and certifications look like. Don’t let them bait and switch you! Make sure that whomever is assigned to your project is, at a minimum, ITIL Foundation certified. This is important because Cherwell is built upon ITIL concepts, so you don’t want someone who doesn’t understand IT Service Management/ITIL supporting your implementation.
Having strong expertise with Cherwell is essential for any partner worth their salt, but being able to serve as a consultative partner who can educate your team on ITIL Best Practice is critical, too. Make sure you learn about your implementation team before you get started. Ask for résumés or summaries of their experience, and get a list of the certifications they hold. You want to make sure yours isn’t the project on which they’re “cutting their teeth”. Instead, look for a team that will teach you, bring their own ideas to the table (there are 3 or 4 different ways to accomplish most things in Cherwell), and make sure the project is successful the first time. Also, be sure to ask the partner for testimonials and examples of work they’ve done for companies similar to yours. Case studies on their site should be easy to find.
Our experience and certifications:
We place huge emphasis on IT Service Management expertise and continual training. As a result, everyone in our company holds at least Certified ScrumMaster and ITIL Foundation certifications – and more than half of our Cherwell Solutions Consultants are ITIL Expert certified (more than any other Cherwell partner on the planet). For a look at our Solutions Consultants on an individual level, have a look at their bios (you can get to know our team here). We happily provide references, résumés, and testimonials to anyone who asks, too. And as for case studies, right this way.
4. How does your organization innovate with Cherwell?
One of the many great things about Cherwell is the ability to download mergeable applications (mApps). Any solid Cherwell implementation partner should be creating new, innovative mApps – and they should be easy to find on the company’s website.
Another way to tell how much a company focuses on innovation is to ask about any Cherwell awards that they have won or free resources available to customers. Cherwell users think of themselves as a community – participating in forums, speaking, sharing tips, etc. Good partners go out of their way to contribute their knowledge to the community.
How we innovate with Cherwell:
Contributing to the ITSM and Cherwell communities is hugely important to us. One way we give back is by sharing our knowledge through speaking at the Cherwell Global Conference and writing on ITSM and Cherwell-related topics in an effort to help everyone understand how to improve their organizations, be it through training, process development, or technology.
Our Solutions Consultants have created more than 350 Cherwell tutorial videos, free to all on our YouTube channel. Our solutions consultants have also won multiple awards for creativity and innovation.
As for mApps, we have our very own mApp Factory consisting of one-of-a-kind mApps developed and curated in-house by our Solutions Consultants.
5. What related ITSM services do you provide?
Having a successful ITSM platform implementation is not just about technology. You also have to consider people and processes. The very last thing you want to do is implement a brand new tool with old, broken processes and not have anyone understand the why behind using your new Cherwell platform. One way to ensure you address these other areas is to work with a Cherwell implementation partner that offers relevant ITSM services that address these areas.
ITSM services we provide:
We offer ITSM strategic planning and ITIL process design support, for starters. We also provide expertise in helping you to revamp or redesign your Service Catalog and perform on-site ITIL and Cherwell-focused training. So, pretty much the whole gamut: People, process, technology.