Different business strategies result in different customer experiences, and your software vendor is no different. Vendor’s long-term strategy will have a direct impact on your relationship with them, and your experience with the product. Right now you may be perfectly happy with your vendor’s solution, but any strategic changes can quickly change that.
Here are some examples of how a software vendor’s strategy can have a direct impact on your organization:
Are They In Growth Mode?
Vendors will focus on growth and new customers. Therefore, existing customers and support may take a back seat. For example, support for older versions may not get the attention they once did, because the vendor is busy focusing on the latest version of their software. However, this can also be to your benefit, if your organization is set up and willing to follow product upgrades.
Are They Preparing For IPO?
Vendors will try to show impressive growth for their initial public offering, so new customers and new deals will be their prime focus. Also, vendors are more likely to discount the product to gain a larger market share.
Are They Trying To Pivoting?
Vendors in the middle of a pivot or preparing for a pivot (e.g. new industry or market) tend to focus on features which are necessary for that pivot. For example, a software solution designed for Retail is very different from the one designed for Health Care. A pivot like this often results in less flexibility, a mishmash of features, and some process changes.
Are They In The Middle Of A Merger Or Acquisition?
The word synergy (enhanced cost-effectiveness) is usually thrown around, but mixing resources (people, technology, policies, etc.) typically have a negative short-term effect. For example, initial software integrations may not be fully baked. Also, product training may dip in quality as the internal staff is being crossed trained (i.e. new product range).
Are They In The Survival Mode?
No vendor will admit to being in “survival mode” but signs are usually obvious. Keeping a company afloat will delay spending, hiring, and product development. Therefore, product upgrades will become less frequent, and the customer experience will suffer as the internal staff is assigned more and more responsibility outside of their core skillset.
You have to keep an open line of communication with your software vendor, and be involved – attend product demonstrations, roadmap meetings, conferences, and users groups. Being involved is the best way to get insight into your vendor’s strategy, and more importantly to foresee possible changes in your relationship.