Harsh title I know but do I have your attention?
I have noticed that there is a level of negativity that exists around what a Sage SalesLogix Business partner should or should not know. It bothers me when this kind of discussion ensues because its generally targeted as some arbitrary feature/API method and in my opinion misses the mark substantially. First of all determining the capabilities of any services company based on the obscure is just wrong and usually is not an indicator of their capability to deliver.
There are just so many moving parts today that it is important to be able to filter out the important from the white noise. That being said there is a need for solid foundation skills as our collective customer base requires more for their budget dollars. The ability to transition from platform to integration development, to know and have a strong understanding of the collective technologies in any work plan and to provide strong and practical support moving forward. The ability to just get it done is one that should not be overlooked and be embraced and I suspect from an consulting point of view there is going to be more of this kind of work in the future and less in the process driven requirements development up front. We see this in agile but it really make’s sense in a CRM consulting world.
Take an inventory of your in-house skills and figure out if you are ready to move forward.
- What development languages can you support (C#, VB.net, Java). VB6 does not cut it anymore. Databases ?
- SQL, Oracle. Pattens, Library development .. can you provide solutions based on well known patterns, are you building up the next generation libraries to offer your customers the best bang for your buck.
- 3rd partly libraries .. are you familiar with some of the 1st tier UI libraries, can you offer your customers better experiences to increase user adoption rates.
- New technologies, are you familiar with/or played with web services, RIA applications, Share Point, WF, WPF, SilverLight, ORM (NHibernate or Other).
- Understand Change Control, Unit Testing, Modularizing the code. This is an important thing moving forward. Being able to write the code in such a way that it can be tested (automated is preferred). It can be versioned and managed from a team stance.
- How are your people skills? This is an important one, being able to adapt and wear many hats it the Consultants bread and butter. The more capable your resources are the more value they are to your customers. If one resource is capable of doing the job of 2 (not in workload, but in raw capability) the customer will perceive value
So back to the title … The only one who has the right to say ‘You Suck’ is your customer, and if you do not provide the capability you need to acquire the skills. If you are not capable of getting up to speed, partner with another BP to help bootstrap the process. That being said there are also times when there is just too much work, or a current project takes skills outside of the core competency. Again seek out a neutral BP that you can work with to satisfy the customers needs, doing so will reinforce your desire to make your customer happy.