From the Series: Questions to Ask Software or Cloud Vendors
Part 3 - Ten 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 10 groups of 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 1 and Part 2.
Ask these questions early in your qualification process. Use these questions to poke and prod at your short list of vendors and then listen very carefully. Make sure to ask for commitments in writing!
- What happens if our companies have a disagreement about roles and responsibilities? What is your dispute resolution process? Does it include an arbitration clause in your Software License Agreements, or will we have to pursue litigation as our only recourse? What is your track record with respect to litigation and customers? How many customers have sued your company, and what were the outcomes? Did these disputes go to court? How were they settled, and what were the details?
- If my company wants to purchase optional modules and additional licenses in the future, will you lock in the price today so I can better estimate the Total Cost of Ownership of your product in the future?
- What other modules are available today that we may use later? Will you guarantee in writing that these modules will be available in the future?
- As we grow in using your product, can we set up independent service desks/databases within our company for different functional areas or departments? For example, could the Human Resources Department have their own service desk/database in your application that is private and segregated from other departments? Can this service desk share a single database of underlying users/customers so that this database does not have to be replicated multiple times? Are there additional costs for this capability?
- What are your license options as my company grows? Today, we may purchase "Named/Dedicated" licenses; but as we grow, we may want to have people use the application on a part-time basis. What are all your license options? Can we share licenses across Asia, Europe and the USA so that we do not have to buy licenses for each geographic region, since they operate in different time zones with only minor overlap?
- Do you have customer case studies that discuss business results that you have helped your customers achieve? Can I speak with these folks to learn firsthand of their experience using your product?
- How will you obtain my company's evolving feature requirements after I become a customer? Will you regularly call me for feedback and consider our feedback into your development plans? Will we be able to open product enhancement suggestions in a database and see them tracked through implementation? Are there any charges for making product enhancement suggestions that are implemented?
- Will I have an Account Manager that is compensated based upon retaining my company's business? Will I have "one neck to squeeze," or will you make me navigate your company and seek out appropriate resources?
- Will you provide a 30-day supported trial of your product without obligation?
- How often will your company provide new feature and enhancement releases, and is this included in the annual software maintenance fee?