HONOR has been evaluating platform partners for a couple of operational functions. We have had many conversations with Business Developers and Sales Representatives that have ranged from helpful and professional to pushy and less than forth coming. Typically we focus on ISVs looking to evaluate a payment solution partner but here are the top 5 things to assist when going through the buying process that can be universally applied.

  1. Seeing is believing. Ask to see the platform. Yes, demos can be a pain. Yes, asking for time from multiple people can be difficult. Gather input from all of the operational functions that will work with the technology. Product may have a different set of requirements or views than Finance or Accounting.  Seeing a platform in action is the best way to evaluate any solution. Sales people are great and helpful guides but don’t just take their word for it.
  2. Customization. We all think, “I want this to work for my specific industry”. The truth is that most functionality, whether it is for customer service, sales or operations is fairly universal. Before you spend a bunch of time/money and resources looking for customized features, understand what functions come stock. CRMs are a great example of this spectrum; Salesforce is endlessly customizable but difficult to implement for smaller businesses  while Insightly is ready to go out of the box but may lack integrations required by large enterprises.
  3. Data is king. You cant make smart business decisions without the right input and data. Make sure the platform can offer you the KPIs you are looking for plus the ability to customize. It is vital to have the ability to easily create and view a dashboard relevant for your business. Being able to deep dive into a specific problem or opportunity area with tangible, accurate data is critical.
  4. One size does not fit all. Platforms are generally designed to fit a certain market size and segment. Make sure that what you are evaluating is appropriate for your size and use case. Buying a license to a massive enterprise platform that requires a dedicated headcount if you are small company doesn’t make a lot of sense. It will always be a balance as you also want to plan for growth. In payments, Stripe is easy to implement but does not share much or any of the revenue with their partners. Payment platforms( PaaS) like Infinicept maximize revenue but require a greater payment volume(>$50M) and a larger investment.
  5. Don’t break the bank. What does it really cost? What is the pricing and how long is that price good for? What is included? Implementation? Support?  And most importantly, does it fit my budget?