Frequently NOT Asked Questions about software projects

Many websites post FAQs or Frequently Asked Questions.  While helpful, the answers to those questions don’t really help you determine what system or partner adds the greatest value to your company.

What follows is a list of five questions we believe are more critical for you to ask of your potential service or system provider.  The answers will greatly assist you when choosing how to leverage a partnership to achieve your goals and unlock your results.  Listed after each question is a brief description of why you need the answers.

What value do you, the software reseller, bring to this engagement beyond the software features and functions?

This is one of the most important questions you need to bring up with any vendor or partner.  You are going to be charged a premium above the costs of the actual product.  What does the company bring to the table and, far more importantly, do you value what they bring?

What do you, the software reseller, actually sell? 

What the company sells is what is detailed on their invoices.  If the invoices state travel expenses, per diem expenses, software cost and hours worked then that is what they sell.  A look at what the company internally measures and how it holds their employees accountable will give you a much better understanding as to what they actually sell.

What support options do you, the software reseller, offer?

Many companies look at the current project and don’t address the long-term support that project will require.  Make certain that what can be offered for future needs matches what you require before you engage the partner.  Will you require support hours beyond normal business hours?  Will you require weekend support?  Will you require multiple training sessions or customized training?  Explore what you will need with your partner and determine if they can support you.

How do you, the software reseller, stand behind your work?

This is a confidence question.  Companies that provide good value are everywhere.  Companies that provide great value stand behind their promises with guarantees.  If the company is not confident enough in their own work to explicitly volunteer a guarantee, why should you be confident in them to deliver the promised results?

Should I look for a short-term, transactional relationship or a long term, strategic partnership?

This is a fascinating question that is often completely ignored in the process of finding a new system.  Really, only you can answer this question, as you know what type of relationship works best for you and your company.  Asking the question, however, will determine whether the partner you are interviewing aligns with your vision of the relationship.

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