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6 Questions to Ask When Evaluating a Technology


computer-thinking-working.jpgBy Chris Smith, VP of Technology

When you're shopping for a critical new business solution, do you know the right questions to ask a technology vendor? Should you ask about the programming language or focus on customization requirements? If the product or service is vital to the success of your company, take some time and put together a hit list of answers you need  before you can make your purchase. Here are a few good questions to get you started with any new technology vendor.

1. Who are the people behind it?

The company should have expertise in the industry or market that their technology services. Having a respected thought leader behind the technology is a huge advantage. For instance, if you are shopping for a PRM solution make sure you are buying from a vendor who knows how to spell “channel.” You get what I’m saying, right?

2. Is it flexible enough for our needs?

The technology should be configurable to your specific business processes. Avoid one-size-fits-all solutions. Following built-in best practices is fantastic but completely rewriting your business framework because the technology can’t handle your unique needs is a completely different matter. I’ve noticed a growing trend in the PRM business to push pre-canned packages of functionality. If you can’t select the specific functionality you need right now, keep looking.

map-pins.jpg3. What does the product roadmap look like?

Choose a vendor who is passionate about building rich new features into their technology. This should be evident by looking at their product roadmap. If the vendor has no vision for the future, or they aren’t willing to share it with you, reconsider choosing them.

4. What new features have been added recently?

When I’m shopping for a new app for my iPhone I always look at how recently and how often the app has been updated. If the technology has been gathering dust for the past two years, you probably don’t want to buy it.

5. Will it scale with my business?

This has a lot to do with the underlying technology used to build the solution. Gather your nerds and get them involved in your technology evaluation. You don’t want to find yourself shopping for a new technology because you quickly outgrew the one you just bought six months ago. Your vendor’s answers should include things like “load balancing,” “failover,” “response time” and “error rates.”

6. Is it secure?

No technology is completely impervious to malicious attacks but make sure your prospective technology vendor has made every effort to harden both their physical server environment as well as their code base. Ask to see recent 3rd party security audits. Don’t be alarmed if the security firm found something – that’s their job and they are better at it than most technology vendors. What you want to know is if the threats were addressed and how quickly the vendor was able to patch the holes.
Chris-Smith-headshot.jpgHave fun shopping. If you are in the market for a PRM let us know – we're more than happy to answer these questions and any others you come up with!

Chris Smith is the Vice President of Technology at PartnerPath. He helped build the technology and loves explaining how it works. He also loves testing new technology, just ask what apps he's trying this week.


Topics: PRM

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