Today I am going to borrow from comedian Jeff Foxworthy who happens to live just a few miles from our offices in Duluth, GA. Mr. Foxworthy has a way of cutting right to the heart of things. In the world of software solutions, clarity is just what is needed. After 30 plus years purchasing, designing, installing, and selling software solutions for the IBM i, iSeries, and AS/400 here is what I’ve learned:
You might be choosing the wrong software provider if….you end up with more than you bargained for.
It does not usually end up being a bargain when you are forced or lured to get a bunch of add-ons packaged with the one or two items you really need. Companies are custom worlds with custom needs. It’s best to purchase only what you need and if your software provider does not let you modularize your purchase, search for another solution.
After all, Ford doesn’t sell trucks with only one assortment of features. If you don’t need 4 wheel drive, you don’t buy it. There’s no return on the investment.
Another factor to consider is that the more stuff you put in the software, the slower it is going to be. If you are not planning to use additional features it’s a net loss not a bonus.
You might be choosing the wrong software provider if….the software they offer was written in 1985.
The movie Back to the Future came out in 1985. Good concept for a movie. Bad idea for software. If you are using software that is more than 20 years old, then the old software is operating the old way and designed for less sophisticated hardware. It may run, but you will have to keep cleaning things up.
With each version of the IBM operating system there are new API’s that come up that can be taken advantage of to keep software running smoothly and efficiently. Newer software can take advantage of this feature.
You might be choosing the wrong software provider if….you end with a long list of “extras” to your bill.
Does the company charge for the size of your hardware or the CPW of your hardware? Do you have to pay to move the software to new machines down the road?
Here are some other questions to ask so that you are comparing apples with apples.
- Is there a charge for new versions and releases?
- Are maintenance charges fixed at the time of purchase or will they escalate year after year?
- What about license transfers?
A long list of extra charges is a red flag.
You might be choosing the wrong software provider if….you are asked to pay for “complicated” installations and expensive training.
Most software is easy to install and you should not need an advanced programming degree to install, update, and use it. Software should be designed to be user friendly and can usually be installed in minutes, not days. If someone suggests you pay for an on-site install, move on to another provider. It’s these extra “fees” that make the bargain software not a bargain at all.
In terms of training, look for one time fees at a reasonable rate that allow you to go back multiple times with questions/refreshers or to train new personnel in your department.
You might be choosing the wrong software provider if….you can’t talk with a live person to get support.
Who has time to sit on the phone and be directed through 5 different help desks to get to the one person you need? I learned a long time ago that keeping support down the hall from me is the only way to ensure our clients get the quick and expert advice they need. Make sure to ask what the procedure is to get support and then try it out. Make the call. If the process ends up raising your blood pressure, move on to another solution.
You might be choosing the wrong software provider if….you are not provided with an ample list of customer recommendations and a money-back guarantee.
When you purchase software you are purchasing a relationship that will last for years. If a software provider cannot give you a list of referrals that you can talk to then it’s a red flag. Case studies are another good way software providers can establish that their solutions work in the real-world.
One quick way to see if a company truly stands behind its product is if they will give you your money back if the software does not work or fit your requirements or needs. Either they stand behind their product or they don’t. If they don’t, move on to another solution.
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