Empowering Collaboration with a Tech Savvy Customer

Liza Shakury

Introduction

In our typical engagements, we often find ourselves working with customers who greatly rely on our technical expertise. They depend on us to guide them through the decision-making process, from conceptualizing their project to effectively implementing and running it in production environment. Our role involves not only offering software engineering skills but also the ability to design solutions, providing instruction on planning and execution. We bring our knowledge and proficiency to the table, serving as a dependable source of guidance throughout their journey.

But what if the customer is a tech savvy customer? One that has made all the decisions and implemented in the best possible way. How do we fit in and elevate their business to new heights?

First: Recognize a Tech Savvy Customer

Well, in one sentence — if you are impressed by everything in their system you are probably dealing with one.

To give some examples from our last engagement’s tech savvy customer:

Generous code base:

  • Microservice architecture with over 20 microservices.

  • A shared code base — not a shared hard code-based library within the repository.. No No… A shared code that is split into npm modules, published to the npm feed, versioned, access managed and then sourced as dependencies.

  • Git commit rules enforced — well they don’t just run the UTs right, they would enforce commits naming convention, run linter and more.

CI/CD:

  • 6 environments

  • Over 200 Pipelines — automating every recurring task in the system.

  • Being able to deploy a specific service with a specific configuration or any needed external resources without affecting others in the environment.

These are just a few examples — one could write a book about everything they are doing. More than that, these teams are highly collaborative and knowledgeable about each other’s work. They operate as a cohesive unit, and when we joined them, we were treated as equals. We had to learn about their existing resources and build on them to move forward.

What to expect?

With the tech savvy, we observed several distinctions from other customers that are worth sharing – some represent valuable experiences to recount, while others are essential considerations that can significantly enhance your collaborative experience with such clients. My guess is, that if you read to this point, the second part is what you are looking for, so lets start with it —

  1. Plan for a steep learning curve – If the customer is tech savvy, then they probably have implemented quite a lot of things. You will need to get familiar with all of that.

  2. Set a work agreement — align on working hours, people on the project and their role, source code conventions like: branch naming, commits, testing and more. Do it before you open your first PR. They probably work already in an organized environment and you would want to align with it.

  3. Make your first PR ASAP — find the smallest thing you can add (even a short readme on the project) and create a PR for it. See what it means to work in their environment.

On the experience side —

  • Shared Vision — you may be used to guiding customers through their journey, helping them make the right decisions and plan for the execution. This is not the case with tech-savvy customers. These customers already have a vision, and you should join it and enhance it because together the outcome is better.

  • Streamlined Communication – Communication is the cornerstone of any successful project. When working with technically savvy customers, you’ll appreciate their ability to articulate their needs clearly. They’re well-versed in the language of technology, which makes discussions and decision-making more efficient.

  • Reduced Hand-Holding – In contrast to less technical customers who might require extensive guidance and support, technically mature clients are more self-reliant. They don’t need as much hand-holding during the project, allowing your team to focus on the core technical work. This autonomy can improve your workflow and increase your team’s overall productivity.

  • Technical Expertise – Working with a technically mature customer can feel like collaborating with a fellow expert. These customers have a deep understanding of the technologies, tools, and best practices relevant to your project. From our end, it might even seem a bit intimidating. Why? Sometimes we are not the experts in NodeJS or any other language they are using. But remember, eventually, the language syntax is something that you can pick up easily. We bring a lot of expertise, having seen many projects, and being more familiar with a wider set of technologies — things that aren’t as easy to pick up. This was a strength we brough that was noticed and appreciated by the customer.

How to build trust?

Trust is a vital element of any business relationship. When you work with a technically mature customer, trust tends to develop more rapidly due to their competence and clear expectations.

So make sure to come prepared and meet the expectations. Furthermore, show them that you think outside the box, and you are not here just to follow their ideas. But join them and bring you expertise to help them reach even higher.

How two tech-savvy companies can thrive when they work together

When two giants meet, there’s a risk of engaging in a competition, each insisting on their own methods. It’s essential to steer clear of this dynamic. Instead, focus on enhancing each other’s efforts, leveraging additional value and expertise to enrich the collaboration. When two tech-savvy companies collaborate effectively, they can create synergies that drive innovation, accelerate growth, and enhance their competitive advantage. Here’s how they can thrive together:

Complementary Expertise: Each company brings its own strengths and expertise to the table. By collaborating, they can leverage each other’s capabilities to fill gaps and create comprehensive solutions. For example, one company might excel in product development while the other specializes in infrastructure. Together, they can create integrated products that offer superior performance and functionality.

Accelerated Innovation: Working together fosters a culture of innovation where ideas are shared freely, and teams collaborate closely to solve complex problems. By combining their expertise and resources, companies can accelerate the pace of innovation and bring the solution to market more quickly.

Learning and Development: Collaboration provides opportunities for learning and skill development, both for individual employees and the companies as a whole. Through cross-training, knowledge sharing, and collaboration on projects, employees can expand their expertise and capabilities, driving personal and professional growth.

In summary, when two tech-savvy companies work together effectively, they can create a powerful partnership that drives innovation, accelerates growth, and enhances their competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Conclusion

In the world of customer engagements, finding a technically savvy customer can be a true gem. Their clear vision, technical expertise, efficient decision-making, and ability to communicate effectively make for a highly productive collaboration. While it’s important to value and support clients at all levels of technical expertise, working with technically savvy customers can be a welcome change for any business, leading to successful projects and a stronger professional network.

Image generated by OpenAI’s DALL-E model.

Feedback usabilla icon