Our approach to solutions considers the pros and cons custom solutions and available vendor products. In many cases, vendor products are typically more cost effective for customers to consider, because the cost of licensing and support is typically less than the cost of maintaining a development staff for custom developed solutions. Additionally, the synergies gained from the larger user-base of most vendor products lends greatly to the maturity of the product. Nevertheless, there are times when it is necessary to develop custom software, and those options should be considered.
Dagson Consulting considers the following factors when evaluating vendor solutions for customers:
Sometimes the optimal technical solution is not necessarily the most organizationally viable, and adoption of the solution must be considered. The cost of retraining staff or of introducing a new set of technologies may outweigh the advantage of a potentially more economical or technically strong solution. On the other hand, if the superior technical solution is in line with the enterprise vision for growth, this presents an opportunity to make an investment for the future of the Information Technology (IT) infrastructure.
Access to Resources
The development of a solution must take existing resources into account, such as customer availability of equipment, licenses, and trained staff. Repurposing or newly acquiring hardware and software infrastructure may change a seemingly more economical solution into a more costly one. Also, some new, yet unfamiliar technologies appear technically strong for the associated cost of licensing and support, though trained expertise may be difficult to acquire, or expensive to hire and maintain.
Will you be the only one on a dead technology? Solutions that gain wider market acceptance are likely to drive standards and enjoy wider compatibility across disparate platforms. The larger the market share, the more synergy the vendor will receive from the user community; this in turn drives product maturity and longevity.
Ultimately, the solution chosen must meet core requirements. It is easy to look solely at the technical aspect of solutions and make a decision about suitability. Similarly it is easy to make an assessment based off of unrefined requirements. A mapping of both the requirements and the technical features of the solution must be evaluated to determine return on investment.
Vendor Corporate Viability
This is an aspect that is frequently overlooked when considering technical solutions. The company’s history, number of employees, financial solvency, and other factors all lend to the viability of the solution. Will the vendor be around tomorrow? Will the vendor be able to provide updates and security patches? Will the vendor be able to offer support for legacy solutions? The answers to these questions help to shed light on the optimal technical course of action.
This not only addresses the direct costs associated with support, but also an understanding of what should be expected from the vendor’s support offering. This also factors in the cost of impacts to the sustainment team managing the solution. Sustainability of a solution is frequently overlooked and unanticipated costs of sustainment can be burdensome.