10 Questions to Ask Your Solution Provider

business-management-software

With so much technology available to us, it has become more and more difficult to choose the product that best fits our business needs.  In the same way, it can be hard choosing the right solution provider since many of them offer the same products and services.  One way to narrow down your choices is to ask the right questions to your solution provider as their answers will drastically help you make your final decision.

We have compiled a list of 10 questions you can ask the solution providers you are considering.  The provider’s responses will tell you a lot about who they are and how they treat their clients.  Without further ado, let’s begin:

1. How does your proposed solution support my specific business challenges?

A product/technology may be world-class but if it doesn’t address your organization’s unique requirements then steer clear.

2. How many customers do you have and how many are in my industry?

This is actually two questions but they are related so we will count them as one. Asking this question will reveal the company’s stability and experience, as well as how much expertise they have with organizations like yours.

3. How does your organization compare to other organizations in your industry relative to revenue?

This simple question will show how this provider stacks up to other providers who offer the same products and services.

4. What is the typical implementation time frame for a company of our size?

A good solution provider can provide a reasonable accurate estimate based on your company’s size and requirements. If they are an experienced solution provider, they should have a solid feel for the implementation cycle based on your discussions.

5. What methodology do you use to track project progress vs. plan?

Experienced solution providers will have a detailed implementation methodology that includes project plans and schedules.  If a provider does not have a defined methodology, that should be a red flag to find another vendor.

6. What cost and level of effort is required to install future upgrades of the software?

Of course, software does not stand still forever.  Upgrades are developed and need to be installed on your machines.  It is important to know what to expect, from a cost and scheduling perspective, when those upgrades are available and needed.

7. What is your technology and product roadmap for the future?

Your solution provider should make you feel secure that a product roadmap does exist and is continually being evaluated.  It is important to keep an eye on the future while taking care of present.

8. What is the cost of the first and subsequent years’ maintenance with your software?

Maintenance costs are sometimes “hidden” costs so it is important to have the solution provider explain in detail what the costs are and even prepare a payment schedule so there are no surprises.

9. What level of support and training do you offer?

After the sale is made and the product is implemented, there is still work to be done.  Support and training are important services that organizations rely on to avoid downtime and use all the systems functionality to its fullest.  The provider should have clearly defined plans for training and support, and do not hesitate to request references that you can speak with regarding these programs.

10. Why should I choose you instead of any other solution provider?

Have the solution provider tell you exactly why you should choose them.  What makes them different (and better) than other providers?  Have them state their case for being your vendor now and in the future.

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