Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) increasingly turn to appliance platforms to deliver their software applications and streamline lifecycle management. Appliances allow installation of software at a client’s site without utilization of client hardware, thereby avoiding compatibility issues. These pre-integrated, purpose-built, plug-and-play servers include the hardware, application software, operating system and any specialty components needed to deliver applications providing a standalone device for ISV’s to offer end users.
The advantages of the appliance model to product lifecycle management are obvious. The challenge for ISVs comes in finding a partner with the engineering expertise and production capabilities to manufacture and maintain appliance servers throughout an application’s lifecycle. Since designing, integrating and deploying an appliance is not an ISV’s core business, vendors need to find a partner who specializes in the development of appliances. Here are three critical factors to consider:
1. Engineering Control and Manufacturing Quality – ISVs should seek partners with a highly proven record for solution design, systems integration, application management, global logistics, tech support, and maintenance programs. Such partners will execute best-practice processes in these key aspects of developing, manufacturing and servicing appliance platform solutions, integrating all aspects of lifecycle management for the appliance and application. The advantage to the ISV comes from the engineering controls and manufacturing quality that such focused partners offer.
A partner should handle regulatory and certification requirements, branding, packaging and international shipping for import and export. A global supply chain, product testing and evaluation, and software imaging should be available for application lifecycle management. The partner must possess the capability to interact and report to multiple levels of the ISV’s organization, including engineering, operations, product management, and supply managers so the appliance can be optimized, delivered and maintained for long-life operation.
2. Logistics, Tech Support and Training – ISVs must stay focused on client satisfaction and brand loyalty to survive in today’s globally competitive marketplace. Focusing solely on a manufacturing partner loses sight of the logistics and support services necessary for effective lifecycle management. For the appliance model to succeed, it must maintain a robust forward- and reverse-logistics program and support organization to service end users in a timely manner. ISVs need to choose a partner with best-in-class logistics and support models capable of delivering reliably, and support staff to give clients confidence to keep buying.
3. Program Management – Success depends on the product management capabilities of the partner chosen by an ISV. An appliance provider should assign a dedicated, professional account manager to lead a proactive account team to manage your program. An effective partner anticipates needs and looks to avoid problems rather than waiting for the ISV to identify them. The team should be experienced enough to identify and address technical and business issues before they become problematic. The partner should hold program managers accountable for the achievements of their clients.
UNICOM Engineering provides the kind of partner ISVs are looking for to develop appliance hardware solution to ease lifecycle management.
Download our free white paper to learn how to deliver software as a purpose-built appliance at http://unicomengineering.com/how-deliver-software-purpose-built-appliance-wp. You can also contact UNICOM Engineering at www.unicomengineering.com or 800-977-1010.