With the number of business systems growing, more and more software vendors introduce solutions to solve problems that are usually not addressed by the OEM. In most cases, the software owner company creates a community where developers can contribute their knowledge and expertise to make the software a better and stronger solution to compete in the marketplace.
Solutions developed by a third-party usually require a certification by the OEM in order to be marketable. Although, the licensing agreement/certification ensures the functionality of the solution, it rarely is a proof of quality.
Today, many ERP and accounting systems can benefit from a host of add-ons and plugins available in the marketplace designed to enhance the user experience. These solutions that are usually developed and maintained by third-party vendors can integrate with your current system to provide the specific function you need, such as credit card processing functionality for QuickBooks, inventory management for your eCommerce site, or custom billing for SAP B1.
Although many software manufacturers require vendors to be licensed and certified, there are many more that simply don’t have such process or don’t enforce any policies to validate the solution. An example of which would be open source platforms that mainly rely on their developer community to improve and innovate. Most business software, on the other hand, come with licensing agreements that allow the developer company to use the code for enhancement purposes.
Be sure to look for:
Before you adopt a solution you’ll need to know the exact implications of the application or software enhancement that you are investing money in. A solution presented to you by a member of accounting department, for example, can have some unwanted and even negative effects on your sales team’s ability to sell. Considering all the stakeholders and consulting heads of each department to have a full understanding of the problem and the proposed solution before making a decision can help you make a more informed decision.
Training and support
Since software enhancements are usually not supported by the OEM, you would rely on the vendor company for any training and/or support. Therefore, it’s vital to know if training and most importantly on-going support is provided and if there are any associated costs. As a rule-of-thumb you might want to avoid companies that don’t provide in-house support or charge for training and customer service.
The general reliance on the business software grows as your company expands so any software solution that adds to your application mix should allow you to scale up comfortably. The opposite scenario is also worth analyzing, since in a down-turn economy, many businesses would have no option but to shrink their budgets and limit their risks. The ability to adjust to company size or production volume must be at the core of any software/product that is going to be a part of your business infrastructure.