What to Look For in a Software Vendor
Today’s software marketplace is more crowded than ever in the past—a seemingly infinite sea of products and services, all claiming to be the best available. Even the most tech-savvy business owners often find themselves overwhelmed when searching for a new software vendor to partner with, especially given the constantly changing nature of the industry. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is signing on with a vendor before doing your homework, and the first step is identifying a few things to look for in a partner.
Choosing the right software vendor can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to cause you undue stress. Here are a few things to look for, all of which can lead to a beneficial relationship.
1. Longevity in the Market
The software market is volatile to the point where new vendors tend to disappear almost as quickly as they pop up. While some new vendors will surely go on to create worthwhile products and services, it’s impossible to tell exactly who will stick around and who will fall prey to the competition. This is one reason why it’s wise to work with vendors who have proven themselves in the market over a number of years. Reputation and longevity can go a long way in terms of offering stability to vendor relationships—avoid the temptation to sign on with the latest “buzz merchant.”
2. Aligning of Services and Needs
There are plenty of “one stop shop” vendors that offer a head-spinning amount of products and services to organizations across every industry. What really matters, though, is finding a vendor whose products cater to the needs of your company. Identifying your needs is of course the first thing that needs to happen. Then, look for a vendor that has the credentials, certificates and products/services that will allow you to meet these goals. If not, it’s time to look elsewhere.
When you hire a new employee, you ask for references to ensure that you’re making the right decision. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t do the same when searching for the perfect software vendor! Asking to be put in touch with past customers or for testimonials is completely normal practice, and if the vendor is hesitant to do so, this may be a sign to move in a different direction.
4. Cloud Integration
The days when localized IT solutions ruled the roost are over. Today, it’s incredibly important to choose software vendors whose products and services operate in the cloud. Cloud ERP vendors, for example, offer far more in terms of flexibility than vendors who provide on-premises solutions. Without cloud capabilities, any instance of software you choose will be unlikely to stand the test of time.
5. Ease of Use / User Experience
When it comes down to it, there’s nothing more important to look for in a vendor than great products and services. User experience is everything, and the software you choose must be simple and straightforward to use. Otherwise, you’ll be setting your company up for a great deal of potential headaches.
With a little bit of research and confidence in knowing what to look for, choosing a software vendor will be much easier than if you were to go in blind. Take your time—there’s no rushing a relationship such as this.