Choosing a Software Vendor: What Makes the Difference?

Laura (Heinbockel) Schomaker

Laura Schomaker, Marketing Associate

March 29, 2018

In the IT solutions industry, software vendors and resellers are a dime a dozen. As software vendors ourselves, Intelligent Technologies understands this through and through, and it is the reason why we try to stand out as a company that offers tailored solutions to its clients’ needs.  But you shouldn’t simply take our word, or any other vendor’s word for granted. Research and comparison are necessary exercises when choosing a software vendor for your business or organization. They key to choosing the right software vendor lies in asking the right questions.

What does your company need?

The very first question that must be asked when searching for a software vendor is actually a question for your own company. The first thing you must know as a CIO or COO before engaging in a business relationship with a software vendor, is exactly what your company needs for its IT infrastructure and operations. The best way to start is to make a list of what is really necessary and what is ideally wanted; what you would like for the company isn’t always the best option financially, and sometimes what you think your company needs doesn’t cover the basics at all.

Survey what the end user’s biggest challenges are when working and what the managers and directors of your company’s different teams most need from their software. Does your sales team need to revamp their CRM? Is your finance team running into delays because certain information isn’t readily available when they need it? What are your team’s usual complaints about their tools and applications? All these questions will lead you to determine what is most needed in your company from IT. Once you have determined the needs, must-haves, and wants, you can seek a software vendor that will cater to your specific requirements.

Where do I find potential vendors?

With all requirements listed, it’s time to shop around for potential vendors. While many companies will choose to simply purchase a product, as a CIO or COO you will want to act on the needs you surveyed and identified. To address these needs accurately, you will need a provider that offers custom development and solutions. If you already have a vendor in mind, it’s important to ask for references that are similar in both industry and size in comparison to your own company. Finding positive references within the same industry will let you determine they understand the subject matter in depth, and finding positive references that are of similar size will let you know they can handle the workload; going for the company that regularly handles corporate enterprise may not be the best option for a medium-sized business as they may not be able to scale down efficiently.


If you haven’t found a possible vendor yet, using business networks such as LinkedIn or a domain expert forum can lead you to the right place. LinkedIn can be especially effective since it is designed to get business in touch with the experts they need. Industry publications such as articles and blogs can also lead you to great candidates for your software vendor.


Picking the Right One

So, you have a list of software vendors that work with your industry and with companies of similar size. Which of these is the right fit? While there are many intangibles present, you’ll want to add weight to things like certifications and awards as well as customer testimonials. How a vendor charges is important, as well as searching for hidden fees in the packages they offer. They way business contracts are setup is important as you want to avoid a vendor that wants to “lock” you in to service for an extended period, even if the service isn’t delivering as expected. Avoid working with vendor’s that have stipulations in their contracts that may hold your data hostage and require you to pay large fees to recover it in case the relationship between the companies reaches a point of schism.


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