You’ve decided to take the plunge. Your dream business is on its way to make it big and you’re scaling up rapidly. As a startup entrepreneur you’re conscious of your costs – bottom-line matters the most to you and outsourcing is the answer.
For your business, every decision that you take not only affects you immediately but can have rippling effects. It is important then that these decisions are taken after carefully considering the impact, yet you may not enjoy the luxury of time in this competitive business landscape.
As a budding business house, there are a few challenges that you will face – tight budgets, short turnaround times, robust software support, right skills and people resources, high focus on business development and competitive pricing norms. Most of these challenges will remain, but when it comes to choosing your software vendors, here are six steps that can ease your decision:
Understand your requirements
An in-depth analysis of how software is going to support your business is most critical. You not only need to understand your current requirements, but as a start-up your growth curve is exponential. You would need to have a sense of direction of where the business is headed and how your requirements will change. This will then be helpful for you to match your needs with the offerings of the vendors you screen.
Is the vendor flexible enough?
Sometimes you will have to choose between an extremely well-known name that provides you with a standard set of software offerings or an isv that is more willing to tweak systems as per your requirements. This will probably give you much more flexibility as you grow, enhance or modify your software requirements in a dynamic business environment.
How open are communication channels?
One of the biggest challenges you may face with vendors is the lack of open channels that can help cater to fast moving changes in your systems. Transparent communication channels, no language barriers and 24 by 7 customer support should be top of your list when selecting vendors.
Do they have the right people?
Do they have the right skills and people resources? Are they able to retain these people? Are their teams able to provide expert counsel to you in matters of software, emerging technologies and project management?
Confidentiality and security?
Does your software vendor provide you with a sense of peace when it comes to managing your data? Look at testimonials from other users and conduct a proper survey on how vendors manage their own security, confidentiality and look at legal agreements carefully before signing on.
Expansion capabilities and hidden costs?
Will the software vendor be able to support rapid expansion, do they have open architectures that facilitate growth and revisions? Look at all hidden costs clearly; articulate as much as is possible at the outset. But also do a professional ethics check to see that the vendor adheres to corporate norms when unwritten requirements crop up.
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