Five Principles for Product & Service Partnerships

Five Principles for Product Service Partnerships

As we continue to expand our product and service offerings, we at Pearl face the same question that many high-growth organizations face when developing new capabilities: do we build a new capability ourselves or do we work with a partner organization that can accelerate its development? While there are many “buy, build, partner” decision-making frameworks, we believe our principles and decision criteria set us apart from peer organizations and ensure our technology and service partnerships are focused and well-aligned with Pearl’s strategy.

Why Partner?

Early on we knew that it was important to develop a clear strategy and process for surfacing partnership opportunities in order to avoid technical and operational debt that can arise from integrating with external solutions.

Five Core Principles

  1. Ensure strategic alignment

    There must be a compelling strategic need for the partner capability that aligns with our product & services roadmap and our mission to help primary care providers (PCPs) succeed in value-based care.

  2. Assess existing partner landscape before building

    If a capability we’re exploring would be a differentiator for Pearl, chances are there aren’t many existing solutions with quick and easy integration on the market. If there are, then it’s likely an indication that we should assess partnership opportunities and not take on building it internally.

  3. Be realistic about resource constraints

    Assess resource and capacity constraints that limit our ability to build a new capability ourselves in the near term; price the costs of overcoming those constraints into cost/benefit analyses of buy/partner decisions.

  4. Set clear objectives with measurable outcomes

    Partnerships anchored to clear objectives and measurable outcomes are more likely to stay focused, align with our company priorities, and ultimately, succeed.

  5. Pilot, test, scale

    Where technically and operationally feasible, we pilot partner solutions. This approach allows us to test our assumptions regarding the problem space and assess partner quality and performance before making more significant investments.

What Do We Look For in a Partner?

Holding ourselves to Pearl’s Product Principles, especially our goal to “Create Positive and Rewarding User Experiences,” we set a high bar for bringing on external partners. If we want to build a best-in-class solution set for our customers, we need to work with best-in-class partners that are aligned with our mission and values. We are thoughtful in evaluating the landscape of solutions against a matrix of ROI, KPIs, and other strategic considerations. Ultimately we view partnerships as value centers and not simply cost centers.

We view partnerships as value centers and not simply cost centers.

Given our high standards for the user experience of our application, we want to be sure that partner technology seamlessly integrates into our existing feature set and workflows – particularly when the solution directly impacts the user experience. We evaluate product partners not just on their core offerings, but also on their technical maturity and the ease of integration, whether it be white-labeling or an API that we can then customize. Finally, by anchoring in an iterative approach, we find that piloting a solution gives us a better understanding of the potential scope of a partnership. As such, we look for partners that are willing to test and learn with us.

As we continue to apply this decision-making framework, we’ll share updates on some of the exciting partnerships we have in the works.

Lauren Prial

Head of Performance Operations, Pearl Health

Kelly Evans

Director of Product Partnerships & Operations, Pearl Health