Part 1 - Tough Questions to Better Select, Compare & Evaluate Any Software or Cloud Vendors

From the Series: Questions to Ask Software or Cloud Vendors

Part 1 - Tough Questions to Better Select, Compare & Evaluate Any Software or Cloud Vendors
How can you more quickly select, compare and evaluate any software or cloud vendors?
Here are penetrating questions to ask any software or cloud vendor to help make a more rigorous and objective comparison. Make sure to download the other two related whitepapers: Part 2 and Part 3.
Ask these questions early in your qualification process to create a short list of vendors. Make sure to ask for commitments in writing!
Software Vendor Questions One
What If My Company Is Dissatisfied?
After my company pays for your software licenses, what if we become dissatisfied for any reason? Perhaps the product does not work as demonstrated or promised. What will you do?
Giva's Answer: We will work with your team to make sure that Giva is always properly customized to meet your objectives at no cost. If new features are required, we will work with your team to specify these features and place them into our Agile software development process (new releases every 3 weeks) at no charge. We do not charge for feature enhancements. We know customers will be more forthcoming with feature suggestions, if there is no charge. A 30-day free trial which is fully supported will also make sure your team completes a comprehensive vetting of Giva before making a purchase decision.
Tough Vendor Questions Out-of-Box vs. Customization/Configuration Time
Software Vendor Questions Two
Keeping Up with Enhancements
How does your company keep up with evolving industry standard enhancements?
Giva's Answer: We conduct customer research to make sure that we are always learning about new requirements. We also speak with award winning industry practitioners that are in the "trenches" every day. Our technology team also studies new innovations such as Artificial Intelligence for consideration to incorporate into Giva. When this work is combined with an Agile software development process and a release approximately every 3 weeks, we are able to keep ahead of evolving customer requirements.
Software Vendor Questions Three
Deployment "Out-of-Box" vs. Time and Cost of Customization/Configuration
How quickly can we be up and running on your product? Does it work "out of the box"? Will it take a week, a month, a quarter or six months or longer to deploy? Will you provide an implementation plan in writing and commit to it? Who will initially pay for set-up, customization and configuration costs? Who will pay these costs on an ongoing basis? Do we need to learn a programming language to administer and customize your product? If so, what is the approximate size of the developer community, and what is the average hourly rate?
Giva's Answer: Most customers are up and running on Giva in 1 week or less. There are default settings to quickly use Giva right "out of the box" with all the basic functions. We have a very easy step-by-step set-up process. Customers do not need to pay Giva for set-up, customization and configuration as all implementation work can be completed by customers. However, Giva can assist on an as needed basis or take a more active role in set-up to meet your specific needs. Customization/configuration is all point and click with no coding, scripting or programming required.
Tough Vendor Questions Out-of-Box vs. Customization/Configuration Time
Software Vendor Questions Four
Preparing and Comparing the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of All Alternatives
Can your company prepare a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of your product over four years with all the acquisition and lifetime costs of ownership? How does your product TCO compare with the other companies we are evaluating? Are training, set-up, customization, configuration, support, integration and any usage fees all included in this TCO?
Giva's Answer: We can prepare a TCO comparison. Also, see this whitepaper on our web site.
Software Vendor Questions Five
Most Overlooked Critical Fine Print in Software Maintenance Agreements
What exactly is included in Giva's license cost? Will we receive major releases or just bug fixes and minor enhancements? Can you please show us where this is documented?
Giva's Answer: All customers receive new Versions, Software Updates and Software Upgrades as our standard policy at no additional cost. This is documented in Section 3.5 of the Master Subscription Agreement.
Tough Vendor Questions Fine Print
Software Vendor Questions Six
What Are the Costs for Minor Customization/Configuration
If we have a support issue that requires some minor reconfiguration, does your company charge professional services fees, or is it covered under routine technical support?
Giva's Answer: After the initial set-up, any minor customization/configuration changes to the same service desk are covered with technical support and no professional services fees will be incurred for assistance.
Software Vendor Questions Seven
What Are the Costs for Larger Post-Implementation Customization/Configuration
We will probably learn a lot about your product after using it for the first six months. If we want to do additional customization or reconfiguration work after the initial deployment is completed, does your company charge professional service fees, or is it covered under routine technical support?
Giva's Answer: Initially, if desired, Giva will perform a thorough review of your workflows and offer suggestions for best practice improvements. It is in Giva's best interest to make sure that our customers are properly configured/customized and that we are meeting your evolving needs as workflows change. We want our customers to be happy with Giva so they keep on renewing with us. Our support team can answer most questions and provided guidance, but if this not adequate, then professional services can provide more hand holding and assistance.
Tough Vendor Questions Vendor Service Fees
Software Vendor Questions Ten
Termination Clauses, Contract Term Commitments, Discounts and Hidden Fees
Does your company provide Respond and Resolve Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for support? If so, how can we measure if you are meeting these SLAs? Can we terminate our contract if you do not meet these SLAs? Is there a clause in your contract to allow termination for material breach of support SLAs? What are your standard support hours? Do you offer extended support hours for evenings, weekends, and non-USA regions? Is there a fee for this?
Giva's Answer: Giva provides Respond and Resolve Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for support. We also provide access to reports so that customers can measure our performance. All of Giva's technical support for USA customers is located in the USA with native English speaking personnel.
If Giva does not meet the SLAs on an ongoing basis, customers can terminate for material breach. Since 1999, when Giva was founded, we never had any customers terminate for a material breach of any kind.
Support is available by opening up a service request within Giva. As you complete the service request, the system guides you to answer specific questions. This way we can ask customers for detailed information to more quickly trouble shoot. Often, a customer will receive a phone call back from our technical support team for more clarification or screen sharing. We run a 24 x 7 x 365 technical support organization based in the USA. We encourage prospects to read our case studies, look at online reviews and speak directly with our customers to ask them about their experience with Giva technical support. Giva will never outsource technical support as we believe that this is a critical core function that we provide to customers and a major differentiator.

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