Building on our recent post about The Sixth Mistake that most buyers make when buying tech, we want to double down on this concept. NO TECH SHOULD BE FOREVER!
Just like business processes evolve as businesses evolve, tech needs to evolve to meet those new process and business needs. And while the tech you select today may evolve tomorrow, and even the day after tomorrow, in a way that is appropriate for your organization, it may not be appropriate for your organization the day after the day after tomorrow. Why? The vendor could stop growing, at which point the investors decide to stop investing in R&D and just try to ride out the license and maintenance (i.e. bug fix) fees as long as possible. The business focus could shift directions in terms of product lines, services, etc. and what was the near-perfect solution may no longer be. The business could scale rapidly and need a broader / deeper enterprise solution. And so on. Time brings change, which means solutions need to change as new, or variant, problems arise.
This means that you should be selecting technology with augmentation and replacability in mind. This means that you are looking for tech that:
- has 100% self-serve full data export capability (in case you need to get the data out)
- has a fully open API that supports
- full data pull AND push requests
- full programming and control of the workflow
- full task execution capability to support augmentation and plugin
- is accompanied by extensive documentation and education resources and partner training (in case the vendor is unable to support you with your service needs)
This also means that you are likely looking for a vendor that:
- is true SaaS (so you get all of their improvements as soon as they are available)
- charges on a usage subscription with no hidden/termination/third party integration needs (so you can grow if you need to, or reallocate on a renewal)
- allows you to start with a baseline user-base and then grow during the contract term (with prenegotiated addendums for additional modules / users)
Moreover, when you approach solution selection with this in mind, you’re actually more likely to find the right solution as a vendor that builds a modern SaaS offering with a complete API, instant updates when new functionality is available, and offers extensive documentation and tools for partners is one that understands that the minute they stop innovating is the minute their competition will overtake them and be a more attractive offering to the market and their clients. A lack of lock-in really is a win-win for all parties. (Even if most vendors with the classic ERP mentality that a piece of software should be forever, and, thus, cost millions of dollars don’t get it.)
In other words, you should immediately eliminate any vendor from your shortlist that doesn’t have an offering that meets these criteria. After all, as our S2P series is demonstrating, you will likely still have dozens of options that do. The only solution you’ll always need is a data store, but, as long as you use a standard database type and encoding format, you can even migrate that if you need to.