The Real Difference Between a Partner and a Vendor…
Studies have shown that technology is advancing so rapidly a software company could recreate the same product today that they developed 10 years ago with 1/5th of the effort and the market will bear 1/5th of the original price. This is a great illustration of the pressure every software company is under to continually improve their offerings and deliver more value. Most successful software companies have one key trait in common: they focus on continuing to provide the greatest value to their customers over the lifespan of their relationship and Taiga is no different.
The idea of technology that could perform these tasks sounds great in theory, but most retailers are well aware of how difficult it is to get accurate and actionable reporting Unlike a traditional software vendor, some companies view their clients as partners rather than customers and have strategies in place to ensure that this partnership is the cornerstone to a much greater relationship. Understanding how a company manages their customer relationships is a great indicator of the ROI that you can expect to receive after purchasing their products. Here are two things to look for when considering a new software company:
Does the Company Help You Realize Measurable Results in Your Business?
Here at Taiga, when we kick off a new project, we work with our clients to establish goals and track performance to make sure these goals are being accomplished. For one of our clients whose goal was to improve foodservice margins by reducing waste, we focused some of their education on our food preparation forecast in StoreKeep. Then we established metrics to measure their success that they could watch in real-time. Within just two months, this client had improved their foodservice margins by 10%.
Does the Company Listen to Their Customers and Continually Upgrade and Enhance Their Product Based on Feedback?
Our platform, StoreKeep, is “versionless,” which means we have all of our clients running on the most up-to-date version of our product at all times. When we launch a new enhancement, it automatically goes out to everyone so you will never have to pay more for a “premium version”. Over the long-term, a “versionless” software platform like StoreKeep will generate incredible value for our partners because it requires much less effort to enhance and support. This is the opposite of a traditional vendor that charges for custom development and has to support dozens of different versions of their product in the field.
We know that our clients are the best source for new ideas so we have a process for carefully collecting those ideas and working them into our development schedule. For example, we recently had a client suggest that we create a dashboard for tracking which product margins are being squeezed due to price inflation. We were able to turn this request around in about two weeks and not only did we solve the problem for that client, but several others also thanked us when we announced the new enhancement to the rest of our partners.
I hope these examples have given you some things to think about and helped you see how different the experience is when you work with a company that views itself as your partner as opposed to your vendor. Partners recognize the need to build a lasting relationship that continually provides more value thanks to the contributions from the company and its clients.