How CIOs can work with startups

Thomas Macaulay

5. How CIOs can work with startups: Compare the benefits with those of established companies

Balancing the risk and reward of investing in a startup vendor is a subjective art that will ultimately come down to a personal decision on priorities and risk. Startups can provide invaluable disruption and they tend to be more agile and responsive. You may also be able to influence the design to suit your needs and smaller teams can be more attentive.

Established suppliers may provide a safer option and better cope with growing demand, but your influence in the partnership will likely be significantly reduced, the costs will be more rigid and most likely also higher and any implementations more time-consuming.

6. How CIOs can work with startups: Prepare for an uncertain future

If the startup is acquired by another company its usage in your organisation could be permanently transformed. The buyer may take it in a new direction that affects the implementation in your organisation, or it may have been bought just to be discontinued and to remove the competition.

Make sure your systems are ready to use new solutions, but not dependent on them. The startup itself will change with success, and may take on the strengths of weaknesses of the established companies that it was once an alternative to. Adopt a contingency plan to prepare these outcomes, and consider having code put in escrow in case the company is bought or goes bust.

7. How CIOs can work with startups: Monitor and support them

Monitor the startup closely as the team may lack the requisite infrastructure and experience and require more direct involvement and support. Hold regular meetings to track the progress and rate the effectiveness in order to address any problems as early as possible.

More testing time may be needed as issues inevitably emerge. A close partnership will help iron out bugs quickly and develop them towards your goals, but not so close that the nimble ingenuity that is their strength is impaired by interference.

Source: CIO UK

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