10 Questions You Must Ask
Choosing a software vendor is more than just selecting the software that you need. It's like conducting a job interview. This vendor should be part of your business for a decade or more. Therefore, you need to be comfortable with the vendor you are doing business with. Below are a few questions you need to ask to help determine if this is the right fit for your business.
Ask for references
A good software vendor should have plenty of references for you to talk to and they should be comfortable sharing them with potential customers.
Do you regularly solicit feedback from current users for future product direction?
How much of this feedback determines the functionality that is included? Software vendors should regularly solicit and incorporate these requirements into future product direction, this shows their commitment to the success of their customers.
How long have you been in business
Know up front what the “total cost” of the software is
Some are packaged, some are modular, some include consulting and some do not. If the solution is modular make sure that the vendor has a clear understanding of what modules you will need for your business. There are huge unforeseen costs and implementations fees to add modules later.
What does it cost to have someone come onsite to fix a problem?
What is the future direction of the product?
Technology/Functionality? When do you plan to get there? You want to partner with a vendor that adapts new technology and trends. Software is a technology so changes come fast, you need to be comfortable that the company you select is ready for these shifts.
What percentage of customers are current with their annual support contract?
This is a great measurement for customer satisfaction and company sustainability. This should raise a red flag if a vendor is unwilling to answer or doesn’t have the answer to this question.
What’s involved in doing an upgrade?
Are upgrades included in your annual fee? Can the latest versions be downloaded from your website? Do upgrades include technical support? These are great questions that you need to know the answers to. A great upgrade isn’t going to do you any good if you can’t afford to implement it. During initial implementation your processes should have been documented which enables faster and less costly upgrades.
When was your last upgrade released?
When is the next one planned? Short release cycles can lead to pricey consultant fees. Long release cycles show there is little investment in improving functionality of their products. A good release cycle is generally 12-24 months.
Who does your training?
Is it outsourced? Are there scheduled classes?