Software Partner vs Software Vendor: What’s the Difference

When buying an IT product for your business, you have two options: go into a partnership with a software company or reach out directly to a software vendor. Below, we’re going to take a closer look at the two to help you determine what type of relationship you need.

Who’s a Software Vendor

A vendor provides you with software that is not mission-critical for your company. It means that a failure in such a system won’t cause serious disruption to your operations, let alone bring your business to a halt.

Whether a piece of software is mission-critical or not, depends on the type of business you’re running. For example, for marketplaces, it’s crucial that website hosting service works without interruption. Even a minor site outage can cost them thousands of lost customers, orders, and dollars. However, this is not the case for, say, construction companies, who don’t rely on online that much. If their website suddenly goes down, customers can always contact them by email or phone.

All you can get from a software vendor is non-mission-critical, usually plug-and-play solutions that don’t require complex installation, configuration, and maintenance. Therefore, a relationship with a software vendor is purely transactional and ends soon after the contract is signed. They won’t be there for you if something goes wrong. And you don’t expect them to. Everyone knows it’s a one time thing, not a life-long friendship.

How Does Software Partnership Works

Like any serious relationship, partnership with a software company is all about commitment. This is a perfect option for you if you’re looking for more than just a product and need 24/7 assistance, personal approach, and customer care.

Together with your partner you’ll work in lockstep before, during, and after the purchase. They will always be there for you if “things go south” or you need help with the solution.

How to Choose a Great Software Partner

Choosing a software partner is a lot like choosing a travel companion. Your journey to success may be long and full of challenges, so it’s important to choose someone who is trustworthy, reliable, and will support you every step of the way.

When searching for a software partner, you might want to focus on these 5 things:

Background and Mission

Like in any relationship, in software partnership it’s important to see eye to eye with your provider. Do some research on your potential partners. What is their mission? What values do they have? Also, who do they serve? What are their long-term goals, and how are they going to achieve them? This is a great way to spot deal-breakers before making a serious commitment. For example, if you run a small business, and your potential provider’s customer portfolio consists only of Fortune 500 companies, they’re likely not a good fit for you. Or if a provider doesn’t have experience in working with clients from your industry, you may also want to keep looking.

Product

In both “vendorship” and partnership the key is the right product. No matter how well you get along with a provider, there’s no point in pursuing a relationship if the software they offer doesn’t meet your needs and workflow. To make an informed decision watch product videos, check reviews, sign up for trials, and schedule a demo call to see the solution in action.

Support

Another important thing you need to consider is the type of customer support your potential partner provides. Ask if they offer an automated help desk or human customer support you can call if you have a problem. Make the final decision based on your needs and what will be more convenient for you and your team. 

Training

Mastering a new software program may be daunting, especially if your team is not well-versed in technology. Make sure your partner provides comprehensive training and training materials so that your staff can get up to speed with the solution as fast and efficiently as possible. 

Continuous Feedback

Open, frequent and transparent communication lies at the heart of a successful partnership. The ideal partner is someone who is interested in making your use of the product as comfortable, seamless and effective for your business as possible. They are always open to dialogue, regularly ask you for feedback, and take into account your requests, comments, and suggestions.

One Last Piece of Advice

As the saying goes, better safe than sorry. Before making a final decision, check the reputation of your potential partners. Ask around about them in the community and read reviews from their former customers on Clutch to avoid committing to the wrong company.

As a software development company, Softarex understands the importance of great reputation for partnership. We treasure the faith of our customers put in us and justify it by ensuring on-time, on-budget delivery of product and offering proactive, 24/7 care. This is why companies have been choosing to collaborate with us for the last 22 years. Check out what our customers say about us. And contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss your next project.