The dreaded question, why should I renew my M&S – What do I get for it?
We all would like our businesses to run like well oiled machines. Software is built, and sold, M&S’s renewed, PSG group continues to grow as your name gets out is the dream but the path to the successful software business is paved with sleepless night, crunch times, mental exhaustion and exhilaration of seeing someone using your product and/or services and being so happy to recommend you to everyone you know. I have to say most days I love what I do, I get to work with lots of amazing people and to this day I actively develop tons of production code while growing BITtelligent.
For most of the history of the company we were and continue to be primarily services based. Having a long term relationship with Sage and more specifically the Saleslogix team I got to know and work with them with several of the Saleslogix technologies. I was asked to take over the Dynalink and ERPLink products and more then a year and half a go I acquired the IP rights to continue to move the products forward.
Its been a interesting year to say the least. During this time Saleslogix was acquired by Swiftpage and we have been lucky to be part of the NetSuite integration project and various other. I do really cherish not only the working relationship but the friendships I have made with the teams over the years. We have been moving forward Dynalink and ERPLink in a slow and pragmatic way. I followed this approach as we had yet to identify the market of users and there was no transition plan of current Sage customers over to BITtelligent.
As much as we took a slower approach we had made material investments in tooling (3rd party libraries, equipment, licensing solutions), rebranded the product. Spent hours, days, weeks reworking UI, fixing defects, testing customer scenarios and adding new versions to the compatible list.
When it came to Dynalink we not only changed up the UI but we completely reworked the services engine, updated the scheduler, fixed defects, added custom actions, removed crystal reports so that we no longer had to deal with version conflicts and brought MAS 500 one way sync back in.
ERPLink went a bit differently as it really has a smaller community. The problem with synchronization platforms that are tied to specific endpoints is that your customer pool is much smaller then if you have a generic sync engine. Initially we had build (me specifically) a completely new administrator to remove any requirement on the Saleslogix sales client. To this day it remains about 90% complete but after much deep thought It was difficult to continue on without seeing a growing community. The fact is about the same time I took over ERPLink Sage put MAS 500’s future in doubt. I loved the workbench and what it offered but I could not see it providing a ROI even close to break even and had to make the heartbreaking decision to shutter it.
Interestingly not all is lost. We have been on a bit of a journey behind the scenes for the last little while and still have a ways to go to consolidate our applications (Dynalink, ERPLink, + Custom Platforms) into a more common synchronization platform so the initial vision of the workbench and consolidating our efforts will come to light.
That being said back to the initial line (what do I get for my M&S), being that we are hitting anniversaries for our first customers on M&S, the question arose. The standard answer is that for the M&S dollars the company has access to the latest builds of the product and access to submit defects and within a reasonable time obtain a resolution. The more complex answer is that the M&S dollars contribute to ensuring that the product continues to move forward, newer versions are built and compatibility is addresses before it is needed.
The reality is that M&S is rarely enough to cover the yearly costs as we really do not charge that much but it does help a bit.