Choosing the Right Partner to Build Your Hardware Appliance
May 10, 2012
More and more Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) are using appliance platforms to deliver their software applications. Appliances are pre-integrated, purpose-built, plug-and-play servers that include the hardware, application software, operating system, and any special components needed to install the software at your customer’s site. For ISVs seeking a partner with the engineering expertise and production capabilities to manufacture and maintain appliance servers, there are three critical factors to consider:
Engineering Control and Manufacturing Quality – ISVs should work with a partner whose singular business is in developing, manufacturing, and servicing appliance platform solutions. Unlike contract manufacturers or boutique integration centers, partners with a highly proven appliance focus will have best-practice processes that account for the key aspects of solution design, systems integration, application management, global logistics, tech support, and maintenance programs.
The beauty is in the engineering controls and manufacturing quality that such companies offer. Companies like NEI take care of all the regulatory and certification requirements, branding, packaging and international shipping – all backed by high-quality controls. We also have processes supporting our global supply chain, product testing and evaluation, software imaging, and lifecycle management. Ultimately, the best integration partner will 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.
Logistics, Tech Support, and Training – The logistics and support services provided by a partner can make or break an ISV’s success in today’s competitive market. We’ve seen it time and time again. Companies that partner with appliance providers and only focus on manufacturing capabilities often lose sight of the end goal: customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. Without a robust forward- and reverse-logistics program or the support organization to service end-users in a timely manner, the appliance model can fail. So be sure to choose a partner with best-in-class logistics and support models and deliver with the confidence and support staff to keep customers buying.
Program Management – This is where the rubber meets the road in terms of achieving success. Make sure your appliance provider assigns you a dedicated, professional account manager backed by an account team that proactively manages your program. We’ve painstakingly assembled a highly seasoned team of account managers that work on behalf of customers to address technical and business issues before they become problematic. It takes years of experience to know how to do this and behave as a true liaison. Ultimately, program managers must be held accountable for the achievements of their clients. Make sure you have daily interaction with your program manager, one who consistently delivers on statements of work, meets deadlines, and manages all your deliverables. Anything less will jeopardize the program’s chance of success.
Contact NEI at (877) 638-3262 or visit the System Integration page on our site to learn more about how an appliance platform simplifies software installation challenges, improves manageability, increases availability, and accelerates time to value. Working with NEI to build your solution allows you to focus on your core competency and reduce costs.