Part of developing software is determining the right feature mix for the broadest customer base. The features are there to make it easier for the users, the internal support team or sales to generate new business. Finding the right feature that drives adoption and delights the end customer is a hard task indeed. This is more difficult when you have a smaller customer base as you now need to make sure that you can accurately cost the feature as well. Any small company needs to determine if the cost of developing and supporting the feature will be paid for within their sales and support base. As you can imagine there are a ton of features that never bear any return on investment.
BITtelligent tries its best to determine the right mix for Dynalink, Erplink and our next generation Sync platform. Unfortunately time from time a Feature does not get into the product because the cost of the feature is to high for our team to implement and current M&S/Sales will not pay for the development effort. It’s the reality of business that software development works this way and as a product vendor its difficult continue to build if there ultimately no financial reason to do this.
These decisions ultimately effect customers that may have certain business cases, or extensibility needs that could benefit with the addition of these one-off features. I have been thinking for a while how to address these needs while ensuring that we (BITtelligent) can justify the development costs. To that end I believe we are going to introduce the ‘Integration’ customization program where we can offer custom builds of our integration products allowing businesses to build off of the base functionality and where it makes most sense extending into their custom business domain. I have yet to work out the details however I believe a 2 tier method depending on if the customizations are owned by the customer or BITtelligent where the second choice would be a discount to the project rate.
Ultimately we would like to be as flexible as possible while being fair to all parties.
What do you think?