If you run a business, there’s a good chance that you are using a line-of-business (LOB) application – software built specifically for businesses in your industry to get things done. If you’re in a big industry, it’s probably made by a billion-dollar software company. If there are only a few thousand companies like yours in the country, your LOB software might be designed and maintained by a five-person company.
In either case, there are some questions you should ask your provider before you start building all of your processes around their product or storing all of your data inside of it. Here are three things to verify.
How long has the provider been in business? How long have they been supporting the product? How often does it have major releases? A stable, operationally mature company should be able to answer these questions easily and with confidence. If they aren’t releasing major updates at least once a year, that’s not a good sign. If they can’t (or won’t) produce the release notes of their updates, that’s also a red flag.
If your software provider goes out of business or decides to stop supporting your line-of-business application, a desktop-based product will slowly become more obsolete each day. At some point, you’ll have to transition away from it because it simply won’t work with your other technology. If it’s a web-based app, it’s even worse. You might wake up one day and find out that the site doesn’t load, and you don’t have access to your data.
If you’re using a web-based provider, ask some questions about the security surrounding their app. Do they have any language that describes the security standards they’re compliant with? Do they have a SOC 2 Type 2 Audit?
Many lesser-known web-based line-of-business apps are poorly secured simply because the company doesn’t have the resources to build multiple layers of security around the network supporting them. It might be their fault if your customer or client data is stolen and leaked online, but it will be your problem.
Sometimes, it’s much easier to get your data into a piece of software than it is to get it back out. The worst possible time to learn this is when you want (or need) to switch products. Having to manually rebuild data can be so cost prohibitive that it forces you to stay with a product that doesn’t meet your needs or suddenly becomes exorbitantly priced over time. Make sure you understand how much work it takes to move your data out of the system in a way that allows it to be fully reconstructed.
To learn how WingSwept can help your business make better use of technology, call us at 919-460-7011 or email us at Team_WingSwept@WingSwept.com.