How to choose the right digital transformation partner

The key to success in digital transformation, as with any other commitment, is the partner you choose.

It’s true that digitally transforming your business can drastically change your product or service by exploring new ways of identifying the business challenge, elevating customer interaction and speeding up market validation. However, as with any other commitment, the key to success in digital business and enterprise digital transformation is your chosen partner.

Digital business transformation

Digital transformation is the single most used buzzword in business right now.  Everyone is urging you to jump on board the DT ship and sail to the land of profit, product potential, and increased customer satisfaction.

However, the right digital transformation partner you choose is the key to success in digital business transformation, as with any other commitment. In a world of great marketers and beautiful stories, it is extremely hard to see beyond the promises and determine the best fit for your company. 

I have worked in business development for most of my professional life, interacting with clients and businesses from various sectors and industries. The projects I’ve worked on include making a more intelligent and accurate thermostat, producing a more personable cruise experience, increasing the speed and ensuring the security of financial transactions, or building a coffee machine that could perform its own maintenance. These cases involved more than 30 stakeholders, a geographically scattered development team, and extremely strict business limitations.

Very often, we take over cases that previous partners failed to deliver. Most failing initiatives have one thing in common – the mismatch of product development partners involved. It is not because of a lack of companies offering the needed services and digital expertise – it’s because validating the most suitable organizations to partner with is challenging.

This article will help you find the best digital transformation partner for your projects and initiatives.


Every great partnership starts with YOU!

Take your time to understand what you want to do clearly.

What are the main challenges?

Identify the digital transformation project setup and define your business goals and needs.

Do you need to:

  • Develop a connected product portfolio?
  • Apply data analytics for internal process optimization?
  • Build a long-term digital roadmap? 
  • Validate current pain points and find ways to solve them?
  • Speed up the product development process?
  • Increase customer satisfaction? 
  • Strengthen your market position? 
  • Fly to sunny Tallinn to meet with Proekspert?

There’s only one reason to meet with a potential partner before the need is identified: when you’ve turned to a high-level business consultancy with the intent to figure out where to go and what to do. However, if you intend for the meeting to start cooperation and transformation from “somewhere, somehow,” then the meeting will be a waste of time and money for both parties.

Once you know what you want, it is time to address the “whys” and “hows”?

Why exactly do you need a digital transformation consultant?

Define your priorities.

It is very important to assess your in-house potential: be aware of what digital transformation expertise you already have in your company and what kind of partnership you need.

  • Do you lack skills?
  • Do you need a team extension? 
  • Do you want to accelerate your time to market?

Only in this way can you find the best fit with a partner. Every situation is different. If you want to extend your team, you need to search for companies with a compatible working culture and skill and technology stack together. If you outsource an entire team to compensate for missing skills, you can select a company that works very differently from yours. If you aim to find a strategic partner for sustainable growth, finding an organization with strong business domain knowledge is as important as your partner’s relevant tech stack capability, thus giving you a competitive advantage.

Getting to know your partner is also an investment. In my experience, companies consider product development costs because they are the most obvious costs and are routinely calculated. However, additional considerations are potential costs related to time and money invested to establish, test, and develop the partnership. These are critical for long-term cooperation and sometimes get overlooked or underestimated.

Constant communication

It is important to ask questions and clearly communicate your needs and expectations. Aligning customer expectations at the beginning will ensure a positive customer experience. Remember that both of you want the partnership to benefit one another, so you must be fully aligned.

Ask your potential partner to walk you through the onboarding process as if you were already a customer. This will give you a clear perspective on how your partner works and whether it corresponds to your vision.

Ask how the partner views the alignment and synchronization process. The process should be documented, at least in an email. A reliable partner should list their detailed objectives like:

  • Agreeing on the business digital transformation project’s level of involvement and responsibility for both sides.
  • If there are conflicting time zones, discuss how the partner will tackle that issue.
  • Ask questions about the product development process and the availability of teams.

Some technology companies might have team CVs, which might accelerate your process significantly. A partner with a standing team ready to take over is your way of beating your competitors with a faster, ready-to-market product. If there are no available teams, look for a concrete and realistic time period within which one can be assembled and ready to work.

Although these questions seem very secondary, addressing them early on will make the partner validation process much more efficient. Don’t figure it out on the go. Any potential partner who suggests doing it on the fly may cause you to get stuck in the endless loop of “figuring things out” before moving on to tangible progress.

Approaching enterprise digital transformation

How your potential digital transformation partner approaches the digital transformation journey is crucial – it’s about mindset. A step-by-step approach consisting of short outlined iterations based on your strategic business priorities works best. Start with the most critical problem to be solved, even if it has nothing to do with what is commonly considered “digital transformation.”

Transformation involves many shapes and forms; don’t get stuck on tech. Maybe there are significant operational problems preventing you from successfully undertaking digital transformation. Solve those first. Digital transformation is not about tech, it is not about trends it is about you, your business challenges, and goals. 


Everyone requires and pays attention to references. But make sure you are looking at the right things.

PPay attention to personal references, not only marketing-generated case studies. Doing business is personal. Transforming your product or service is even more personal. 

You want to work with companies that deliver and are pleasant. The digital transformation process is full of risks and stress, so make sure you go through it with an empathetic company that sees more than a business and focuses on people and customers.

Red flags

Red flags are visible early on.

Take note that if people present at the negotiations are not the ones who will handle the partnership, This could lead to future complications in strategic alignment and a major loss of time and money. 

“Too fast – too big.” Look out for huge commitments early on from both sides. There should always be an opportunity to test the partnership first. Take time to evaluate your work together. This will reduce the risk of committing to the “wrong” partnership and losing your market position due to major delays and inadequate investment.

Avoid long-term milestones. Build your cooperation so visible developments will be within two to three months. Otherwise, you become vulnerable to moving in the wrong direction and spending too much time and money on a product or development that will not add value to your business operations.

Don’t let yourself be too dependent on your partner. Have an exit strategy.

First meeting with the right digital transformation partner

The first meeting with your digital transformation consultant is often underrated. To get the most out of it:

  • Meet face to face. Take time to meet with the potential partner/client personally.
  • Discuss the key points of the partnership, address the main concerns, and share your expectations.
  • Involve as many stakeholders in decision-making power as possible.

Half of the above-mentioned ideas involve you, and half concern the commitments of your business partner. A partnership goes both ways; it has to be balanced. If you choose thoroughly and communicate clearly, the probability of a win-win outcome is significantly higher. Once the relationship reaches a point of a fruitful partnership, you can contribute to the further development of your partner by exploring other ways you can be useful to one another. If something works already, why not learn and develop further together? A great way to show your recognition of the work is by giving your personal reference as a strong sign of your satisfaction, which might help your digital transformation partner to leverage their business further.

Ultimately, your digital transformation consultant will become an ideal partner that most businesses will envy and seek to employ as part of their transformation strategy.

The most important thing about successful digital transformation is to start by partnering with digital transformation consultants with a proven track record in digital technology (particularly emerging technologies), innovative tools, and a business culture that promotes a deeper understanding of your business goals.

What do you most look for and pay attention to when choosing a change management partner?

Tech Tomorrow

Receive our weeky newsletter! Inspiring ideas that are worth your time


Go smarter with Proekspert.

Please fill in the contact form below and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Thank You!

Your message has been sent. Our team will get back to you as soon as possible.

Close this window
Close icon