Ongoing Support – A decision factor in Software Vendor Selection

Sam Harp
Jul 20, 2022 9:06:42 AM

How many times have we purchased goods or services only to be disappointed with the level of service we receive after the sale? The selection of a software vendor should include a review of how well the vendor responds after the sale. Often, a client will perform due diligence on a software/services vendor by having a reference call with a vendor’s existing customer(s). It is important to include the following considerations when researching the vendor’s support:

Responsiveness – How quickly does the vendor respond when opening a support ticket or placing a support call? Is an acknowledgement of the issue quickly received, and if the issue is a severity one, what escalation does the vendor have to ensure it has the resources available to work on the issue and/or provide a work around?

Escalation – When dealing with support, it’s important to understand the vendor’s escalation policy not only internally, but also its interaction with 3rd party software companies that the vendor may be doing first line support for.   Does the vendor have an escalation plan with that 3rd party beyond opening a ticket? Does your vendor have relationships with the 3rd party organization?

Onboarding – Once your implementation is complete, there should be a clean transition from the delivery team to the support team. This should include an introduction call, turnover of any outstanding issues to support, review and training on support procedures and scheduling a periodic call to review issues.

Ownership – A good support organization owns the issue and provides proactive updates (even when there is not yet an update). The organization communicates with stakeholders (internally) as well as 3rd party vendors for which the organization may be providing support. Ownership is key – especially when facing a critical situation. In addition, does the vendor have a plan for a clean transition from the implementation to support? Are there multiple checkpoints between the implementation team and the support team? Does the Support team have access to the implementation team should they have additional questions in providing support?

Proactive vs. Reactive Consultation – In our view, a vendor providing support should develop a good relationship with their clients. The vendor should have a track record of providing tips, tricks and proactive advice to prevent issues before they occur. The vendor should be having a proactive periodic check-in calls with the client that covers current issues, future plans, such as adding 500,000 documents to their system in a short period of time, or changing their security model, or determining if there is enough space available to hold the content for the client.

Product Experience – Experience with products a Client is implementing is one of the most important considerations in vendor selection. How many resources do they have, where did they get their experience and training, what work have they done with other customers? What are the lessons learned and best practices that the vendor should be supplying? Having product training and being able to install the product efficiently is one thing, but it’s the “what if” scenarios where the vendor should have real live experience in working with many customers.

Trusted Advisor – In meeting with members of the vendors team, it is important to have a level of confidence that the vendor can become an extension of your organizations resources. Does the vendor have the potential of becoming a trusted advisor, encompassing most of the attributes a client should seek in a vendor? Also, could the vendor’s be useful for future extensions of the product in other areas or perhaps a rollout of a different product?

In making a vendor/product selection, it’s always important to consider the support organization’s capabilities, procedures and experience as a major factor in making that vendor selection.

At TEAM IM we believe we possess all of the attributes for consideration and ultimately have the goal of becoming a long-term customer advisor for all of our product implementation and support needs.

About TEAM IM

TEAM IM is an experienced solution company that advises, develops, implements, supports, and manages enterprise grade process, information and content management systems. For more than twenty years, TEAM has acted as a trusted advisor to our clients through our offices in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the United States. Our mission is to assist our client to get the most out of their investments in technology. Whether our clients are large government agencies or corporations, construction firms, accounting firms, heavy industry, or smaller organizations, we strive to deliver demonstrable business benefits and generate real return on investment for our clients.

Our products and services offer solutions to transform your business by automating and modernizing your operations. We work hand-in-hand with our clients to understand their goals and create and execute multi-year, continuous improvement plans. Our mission is to support and manage every solution we deliver, so we take care to design long term, future proof, maintainable solutions. We work with best-in-class technology partners that we have carefully selected to ensure we can execute our plan and achieve our clients continuous improvement goals.

Our products and solutions encompass Advisory Services, Implementation Services and Managed Support Services. We specialize in Business Process Automation and Optimization, Content Platforms and Content Services and we are also a leader in Mobile App/Field Services software development and Digital Workplaces. We have industry-specific solutions for the Construction and Accounting Services sectors, and cross-industry solutions for Accounts Payable, Contract Management, App Modernization, Field Services and File Sharing. 

At TEAM IM we are passionate about delivering outstanding outcomes for you, our clients.

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