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AI Product Companies: Partner on Implementations for Scale and Margin

October 25, 2023

October 25, 2023


According to Forbes, “The future of the global economy lies in Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI is expected to be one of the fastest-growing industries of 2023, already valued at $328.34 billion.” AI product and SaaS businesses are working to seize the moment by tapping into that growth while AI continues to expand into - and revolutionize - many industries, such as healthcare, finance, transportation, and more. 

However, two constraints that continue to get in the way of that growth are time and money. Where you are spending both must be continuously prioritized based on the information you have in front of you, your business-specific conditions, and your business needs. 

For example, to implement a solution for a new customer to meet contractual obligations, you could begin the process to hire new staff. However, adding more permanent employees to your service organization may not be the right answer due to the time and effort it takes, and uncertainty about the ebb and flow of demand for their services.

Instead, consider hiring AI implementation experts like Synergise AI who help your business scale in a time-efficient and cost-effective manner to accelerate your business growth and revenue. Our team of experts has AI experience working at leading companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Capital One, American Express, and more. 

In the following sections, we’ll highlight key considerations to make when partnering with an AI implementation company to achieve your desired AI outcomes, both for Synergise AI and for other partners you are considering. 


As an AI product or SaaS business, your focus is likely on your key strength: making your product or SaaS the best it can be for your clients. It is where you’ve focused your pricing model, marketing, and sales strategy, among many other things. 

So maybe, if your product or service needs to be implemented, your business strength isn’t in the implementation of the product or service for each customer. As a product company with a financial model that scales with unit economics, building a professional services organization may be unappealing due to its impact on margins, expenses, and the investment community. Not to mention, sales can be sporadic, spiking at various times of the year and dipping at others - meaning you aren’t using your team to its fullest potential. 

That’s where outsourcing implementation to a team of committed partners who invest in learning your products and maintaining that expertise can come in handy. 

When searching for the right company, be sure to always keep in mind the following: 

  • Why - Remember why you want to partner with an implementation organization. There are many great companies out there, but always ensure they fit your primary needs. 
  • Who - Ensuring that your business is working with the right company to meet your needs, uphold your standards, and implement with expertise is critical. Partner interests should align, e.g., in selling more of your products to 100% referenceable customers. Recognize the interests of both sides, write agreements, and build relationships to suit each business’s needs. Additionally, you and your implementation partner should be in it for the long haul. The mutual investment is significant and likely to pay off over the years. Your (joint) customers will appreciate stability in the relationship.
  • When - Bringing in an AI implementation partner at the right time is critical. We recommend that companies start building partnerships early, months before large implementations start, as the training and partner evaluation period takes some time.
  • Blended vs. 100% - Consider if you need a full-stack AI team for help with implementation (more on what a full-stack AI team is here) or if you only need to add on a few experts. This will help you best use your resources. 

Marketing and Sales

Sales and Marketing can have powerful effects on both businesses! Here are some things to consider when engaging a new implementation company: 

  • Brand Alignment and Co-Marketing - When seeking an implementation partner, make sure your brand values align seamlessly. A partnership should reflect your shared commitment to excellence, trust, and customer satisfaction. The decision to white-label your partner's services or maintain your own brand identity is a situational one. It hinges on the compatibility of your branding and the unique needs of your customers.
  • External / Internal Messaging - Effectively communicating the partnership both externally and internally is pivotal. Your customers and employees should understand the value this alliance brings. If you have more than one implementation partner, streamline the messaging process. Consistency in the messaging ensures a coherent brand identity and makes it easier for your customers to recognize the quality you offer.
  • Lead Generation and Sharing -In any partnership, both parties expect leads to flow. However, as the product company, you are likely to bring most leads to the table initially. Your deep understanding of the market and focused marketing efforts put you in the driver's seat. Over time, as your implementation partner builds industry expertise and credibility, you can expect a more balanced lead-generation process.
  • Sales Pipeline - Be candid with your implementation partner about the status of your sales pipeline. Share timelines and potential risks. Recognize that closing a sale might cause delays, which can impact your partner's business model. Understanding these dynamics helps build trust and fortify the partnership.
  • Product Roadmap - Providing visibility into your future plans allows your partner to stay ahead of the curve and plan their efforts effectively. It keeps the excitement alive and ensures that both parties are aligned for the long haul.


Chances are at least one of the businesses involved in AI products, SaaS, or implementation is for-profit. So understanding the nitty-gritty details of how your implementation partner will be compensated is critical. These financial arrangements can significantly impact the dynamics of your collaboration. 

Here's a quick rundown of things to consider:

  • Customer Payment Terms - Establish clear payment terms. Is it performance-based, milestone-based, time-based, or an alternative arrangement? Align the compensation structure with your partner's deliverables and the mutually agreed-upon goals. Will terms be net 30 or adhere to different payment schedules? Timely payments are essential for maintaining a healthy partnership, so ensure these terms are crystal clear.
  • Billing -  Determine how the billing process will work. Will the implementation partner bill your company, the customer, or both? Consider if it's time and material, hourly rates, or based on roles per week or month. If you add a margin to the partner's fees, communicate this transparently with the customer to maintain trust and clarity.
  • Financial Stability - Is the prospective partner financially stable? A financially sound partner is better equipped to weather challenges and meet their obligations.


Preparing your implementation partner for success begins with a well-structured training program. Here's how to lay the groundwork for a fruitful collaboration:

  • Duration/Phases - Start with a Sprint 0 to lay the groundwork for training. Avoid delays and false starts to build early confidence. Set clear expectations for how long the training should take. Consider the partner's investment cost, especially if multiple individuals require training.
  • Roles - Define the specific roles (e.g., engineers, QA) that need training. Tailor the training programs to suit their distinct needs. Different roles may require different levels of expertise.
  • Learning Material - Leverage a range of learning materials. Utilize product documentation, demos, and online communities to facilitate self-learning. The availability of these resources empowers your partner to learn independently, reducing your investment.
  • Exercises - Structure the learning process with defined and measurable tasks and exercises. These hands-on experiences guide trainees through all relevant product functions, instilling confidence on both sides for real customer engagements.
  • Performance - Develop clear, objective, and quantitative metrics to measure your partner's performance during training and on projects. These metrics provide a robust foundation for evaluating progress and success, maintaining transparency throughout the partnership.


Your team knows your product or SaaS the best, so when the implementation team or the customer needs some Q&A, it’s important to consider setting up a process that optimizes everyone’s time. 

Here are some things to consider: 

  • Roles & Responsibilities - Examine your existing support plan and consider the adjustments required for partnering. Define the specific roles (e.g., business analysts, systems engineers, QA professionals) within each organization and outline their responsibilities.
  • Partner Support - Determine the level of support your partner will receive. Identify whether a dedicated individual or team will be responsible for ensuring your partner's success. Highlight key team members on your side who will play a crucial role in providing support.
  • After Implementation - Expand your perspective to include post-implementation support. Clarify responsibilities for long-term support, and decide if it's best handled by your partner, kept in-house, or managed on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, consider the strategic choice of keeping some implementation or professional services in-house, a common approach for product companies seeking to reduce risk and maintain continuity.


When engaging in a technical collaboration, be it in design, engineering, quality assurance, regulatory/legal, intellectual property, or any associated field, a range of considerations come into play. Here, we delve into some crucial aspects to ensure a seamless partnership:

  • Design - If your project involves design, you'll need to define clear handoff processes when transitioning project responsibilities to your partner. 
  • Engineering - 
  • ~Custom Integration Code: Determine whether your partner will be tasked with writing custom integration code. Establish coding and testing standards while addressing concerns regarding source code control, CI/CD, and site reliability engineering practices.
  • ~Tool Compatibility: Consider whether your partner must use the same tools and technology as your engineering teams, ensuring smooth collaboration.
  • Quality Assurance - Defect Tracking and Resolution: Establish clear procedures for defect tracking and issue resolution within your products. Ensure your partner is aligned with your reporting and issue escalation processes, particularly for critical, project-blocking bugs.
  • Regulatory/Legal - 
  • ~Data Security and Privacy: Discuss and address regulatory and legal concerns, especially in the context of data security and privacy. Clarify how these issues are managed internally and outline the roadmap for addressing them collaboratively with your partner.
  • ~Intellectual Property: Determine the ownership rights to the intellectual property developed during the project - your company, the customer, the partner, or a shared ownership model.
  • Best Practices - 
  • ~Engineering Re-Use Mechanisms: Explore the existence of engineering reuse mechanisms, such as shared libraries, to enhance efficiency and consistency in technical work.
  • ~Project Phases and Handoffs: If your team handles certain project phases and passes the rest to the partner, ensure that communication and handoff processes are well-defined and efficient.
  • ~Delivery Model and Roles: Consider the delivery model for your product or service - whether it is cloud-hosted or on-premises. Clearly define how roles and responsibilities shift between your organization, the implementation partner, and the customer based on the chosen model.

Processes and Metrics

Meticulous planning and management are the linchpins of success. (Failing to prepare is preparing to fail… and all those other similar quotables!) But by addressing these critical processes and metrics, you ensure that your partnership is structured, efficient, and continually refined to yield mutual benefits and lasting success.

  • Managing the Partnership - 
  • ~Effective Partnership Management: Managing a successful partnership involves executive sponsors, relationship-building, setting the right cadence for meetings and communications, and establishing efficient escalation mechanisms. These elements play a pivotal role in steering the partnership toward its goals.
  • ~Tools for Efficient Collaboration: Leverage collaborative tools, such as joint Slack channels and shared document repositories, which serve as the gears that reduce friction and promote a shared understanding of the partnership's objectives.
  • ~Measuring Partnership Success: Assessing the partnership's success involves various business metrics, including ROI, margins, and customer satisfaction. These standard measurements gauge the partnership's impact on both organizations.
  • Team Configuration - 
  • ~Optimal Team Allocation: Allocate different team roles, such as business analysts and technical architects, between your team and the partner. As projects evolve, some roles may expand, while others decrease. Effective planning and execution are key to managing these fluctuations.
  • ~Individual Contributor Management: Establish a feedback loop for managing individual contributors, specifying who is responsible for providing performance feedback and when these evaluations occur.
  • Implementation - 
  • ~Development Processes: Decide on the development process to be used, which may include custom processes, best practices, or industry standards like Agile or Scrum. The choice can vary based on customer needs.
  • ~Project Tracking and Management: Identify the most suitable tools for joint project tracking and management. Establish ownership for the procurement and maintenance of these tools.
  • ~Continuous Improvement: Ensure ongoing success by periodically evaluating and continuously improving the development process. This responsibility is shared between the collaborating teams to optimize efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Engagement - Define the engagement process, including when and how the implementation partner is integrated into discussions. This approach may be customized based on the customer's unique requirements, and the responsibility for customer management and education should be clearly defined.
  • Metrics - Success in a partnership can be quantified through various business metrics, including Return on Investment (ROI), margins, and customer satisfaction. These standard measurements gauge the partnership's impact on both organizations. Be sure to align on which metrics teams are focusing on and KPIs for all of them to avoid surprises.


Thinking through the many facets of an implementation partnership before starting such a relationship is a key step in building and sustaining great collaborations. 

The Synergise AI partnership program builds on the ideas in this article to ensure close cooperation between our teams and yours. Both companies work together to maintain the highest level of service to joint customers including crafting appropriate processes, performance metrics, quality assurance, and feedback mechanisms.

For more information on everything AI implementation, check out our growing guide here.

If you’re interested in partnering with us as your implementation partner - or to learn more - contact us

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