The True Cost of Selecting a Software
Today, more than ever, a multitude of software products exist. From managing customer relationships, providing computing resources in the cloud, handling customer credit cards and payment processing, to managing employee benefits and payroll. These products can provide an advantage to your business by saving you time and money and allowing you to focus on what you do well to grow your business.
As you are evaluating the costs and benefits of your software options, it is important to keep in mind that there are costs and considerations beyond the nominal price tag that may hamper your ability to change providers. Before you make the final decision to buy, there are some questions you should consider:
- What are the ongoing maintenance costs with the software, and are they subject to change?
- Who owns the data? If the provider goes out of business or is sold, what happens to your data?
- If the service provider goes down, how does your business recover?
- If you decide to change vendors, how much time, effort and capital will you have to use to switch?
In some cases, the value that these services provide is well worth the cost. Take for instance, SaaS providers like Chargify, Stripe, Braintree, or Paypal. These companies can help provide functionality into your applications that process customer credit cards. As an added benefit, these companies handle much of the regulatory burden of PCI compliance for you in addition to processing payments.
Even in cases like the one above, where leveraging an existing service is well worth the price tag, the way that the tools are integrated into your system can create unseen ‘switching-costs’ that only become apparent after an issue becomes clear. It is this type of lock-in that is particularly insidious in software and is all too common when taking shortcuts in software development. Ask your technical expert, how much would it take to change from vendor X to vendor Y? The ability to choose a vendor should be dictated by business decisions, not by code, and a well-conceived software and implementation strategy can mitigate that risk.
At Grok, we firmly believe that software is intended to empower business decisions, and should not dictate them. Whether you are looking to integrate new services into your existing applications, engage customers with a new mobile application, or streamline existing manual processes with custom software automation, the priority should be the business, not the technology.