Fruitful Partnerships with Corporate Technology Partners
Facilitated by Tomas Krag, Refugees United
Refugees United has worked with a number of corporate partners, including Ericsson, who built their mobile front ends and SAP, who is building an offline data-entry application. Tomas will explain the collaborative model and share his advice on how to enjoy fruitful partnerships across the for-profit/nonprofit boundary.
- How do small non-profits use corperate partnerships to sucesfully improve their effectiveness?
- How do you get corporate partnerships?
- Handle the backend data, and get corporate partners to build the front end
- You need to make comprimises when working with corporate partnerships. Be pragmatical about reaching your ends.
- Opensource is something you have to breed into your culture, and if you don't have it, you can get corperations to help out
- You can cold call companies and people will want to help, either through free software or actual work hours
- It is best to come up with very specific tasks that you need help with
- When doing kinda closed things like SMS you have to do corporate parnerships
- A big worry is getting dependent on liscenced products, but usually once you are in the door they keep supporting you
- Big corperations have CSR (Corporate Social Responsibilty) departments that you can talk to
- Companies often do social projects for internal marketing to their employees
- It is hard to say no to partnerships that you don't have time to manage or don't really need what they are offering (Microsoft)
- You often have to comprimise on timelines and such when dealing with business development issues
- It is important to put yourself in the shoes of the corporate partner to see what their real motivation is
- Often you have to let volunteers do what they want, even if it won't be useful, so long as it doesn't waste resources
- Sometimes corportate or government parners want to take over the project
- If you wear a suit they will treat you differently than if you do casual, benefits to each dress code
- Sometimes when a partnership is forced on you, you can just stall to avoid them (sorry I can't make the meeting, my kid is sick)
- If you are afraid a partner's work will not be useful, don't give them access to your core platform
- Corporations, like many volunteers, promise work and don't complete on time
- Since you don't want volunteers messing up your core platform, you have to architect that distinction into your plan
- Sometimes you have to pay programmers or contractors to do your core platform to ensure long-term
- You often have to use lying, stalling, and insisting to convince bosses to do things like spend money on core operations
- You can't demand methodologies on exteral partnerships, such as agile and testing, you have to black box a part for them
- You need to do vigourous testing to ensure that donated code won't break things. It takes manhours
- Sometimes you can get volunteers to check the code of other volunteers
- "It is really expensive to get free work. There is nothing free about free work. "
- Set up sandbox with sanitized data for partners to use without worry of comprimising privacy or your live site
- "Corporates love corporates" so some partnerships lead to more partnerships
- Corporate programmers are often not good, but lots of time open-source programs aren't good either
- Many corporate partners have programmers dedicated to doing CSR work
- Often coporate partners don't speak the same programming language and such
- When starting a fresh projects, you may want to chose a coporate language like J2E and .net if coporates are doing most of the work
- It is all about having the strength of mind of knowing where you want to go
- It is important to clear ownership and liscencing before starting partner work
- Often when a partner stops working with you, it become intenuous to maintain their code, and you may have to start over
- Sometimes you get in situations where you just have to throw money at a project to get it completed or fixed
- You can architect your system for corporate partnerships and volunteer development
- "It is really expensive to get free work. There is nothing free about free work."
- You often have to make compromises around a partner's business needs
- there are risks of corporate partnerships