5 Steps To Mitigate Risk in Software Vendor Support

Most customers rely on their original vendors for implementation and ongoing support of major enterprise applications such as ERP, CRM, and supply chain management (SCM), according to a new report from Computer Economics. However, not all vendors are up to the task as evidenced by a recent court case, Computer Economics sited, between Puerto Rican government agency, Municipal Revenue Collection Center (CRIM), and enterprise software solutions provider, Infor.

The report advises customers to take this into account before beginning a relationship with a vendor. “It is more important to focus on what buyers can do before entering into a vendor relationship to mitigate the risk of getting into a situation similar to what CRIM claims,” the report says.

Here are Computer Economic’s five steps to mitigate vendor software support risk:
1) Success is the buyer’s responsibility. “Implementation success is ultimately the buyer’s responsibility. By all means, reach out to the vendor, or a vendor’s partner, for implementation and ongoing support. But recognize that you cannot delegate success. Ultimately, it is your implementation, and your responsibility to ensure you have support.”
2) ‘Buyer beware’ and make sure you have a back-up plan. “Every mission-critical system implementation plan needs a risk mitigation plan.”
3) Plan ahead for vendor acquisitions. “Software product change of ownership introduces risk. Your risk mitigation plan should include a scenario where your software product changes ownership.”
4) Make sure you have more than one source of support. “Avoid single point of support failure. It is important for customers to always have alternative sources for support. The vendor does not need to be the only source. Sometimes local partners are a better source.”
5) If you really want to control your own fate, you need the code. “Customers should negotiate access to source code as part of their initial license agreement, which allows the customer to take over its own support. If the vendor does not accommodate this need, then it often can be negotiated as a condition of a change in control, such as a buyout or acquisition of the vendor. In cases where the vendor goes out of business, a software escrow agreement can at least deliver original source code to the customer.”

(For additional information contact: 949-831-8700, www.computereconomics.com.)

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