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BUYING OFF THE SHELF

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In the past, large companies didn’t have the option to buy off-the-shelf software. IT decision makers opposed them due to a lack of transparency and insight into integration, security, and hosting details. Stakeholders on the business side, meanwhile, were also opposed to static pre-configured solutions because that often meant compromising on "must have" features and functionality.

Today, however, a handful of mobile app developers are creating some intriguing niche solutions that are packed with features and utilities. Newer vertical solutions are also providing value to customers with innovative ways to solve industry-specific problems. Horizontal solutions, meanwhile, are creating platforms with advanced capabilities, functionalities, and user experiences.

Still, implementing any of these pre-built solutions can often feel like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

For example:

If you’re considering a pre-built solution, don’t let a promise of "we’ll add that to a future update" sway your decision. Adding new SaaS features takes time, and you’ll still have to wait behind other customers before getting the updates you need. This can sometimes take 1-2 years.

✔ Industry-specific solutions lack process depth and experience

If you’re reading this, chances are what you’re really looking for is a mobile application that will make it easy to quickly and accurately collect, manage, and distribute data to the people who need it most.

While you may be tempted to buy an industry-focused solution that claims to "understand your business", remember that your goal is to find the best long-term solution for your organization. Sure, niche solutions with pre-labeled industry fields and familiar terminology appear convenient at first. But how important is industry-specific field labeling to the success of your project, especially if it comes at the expense of top-tier process optimization?

✔ Security and hosting are still concerns

Most of today’s off-the-shelf data collection platforms are hosted in the cloud. This can be a deal breaker if you’re trying to monitor and control everything internally with an established level of scrutiny. Plus, depending on national laws and regulations, it may not even be an option for your company to host data outside of your country. In those cases, self-hosting in the only option, and most pre-built platforms don’t have the resources to support updates for self-hosted instances.

✔ Customization is limited (at best)

Most large companies begin their mobile application projects with unique requirements that range from specific branding and design guidelines to the need for complicated integrations, processes, and workflows.

Unfortunately, today’s pre-built platforms are rigid, stiff, and either unable (or unwilling) to let you make customizations to meet your specific needs.

✔ Three is a crowd

If you do find a company that will let you customize their platform, chances are they probably won’t have the development resources available to help you do it. That’s just not part of their business model. As a result, you’ll probably need to hire a third-party developer to take on the work.

Bringing an additional company into the mix will not only put a dent in your budget, but it could also dramatically impact the dynamic of your project. We know this because we’ve heard the horror stories from many companies who are now our clients.

Here’s how it usually works: A third party comes on, and suddenly the project becomes infinitely more difficult to manage. Communication wanes, deadlines are missed, and blame starts to get passed back and forth like a hot potato. Soon enough, you start receiving competing invoices for the same work from each company and you’re the one left trying to reconcile to your budget while keeping your project from imploding.

Pros/Cons of Buying Off-The-Shelf

PROS
  • Covers most of your requirements
  • Fast timeline and economy of scale
  • Guaranteed to work, fewer bugs
  • Automatic enhancements & upgrades
  • Lower total cost of ownership
CONS
  • Might not meet your unique needs
  • Rigid platform can’t be customized
  • May not integrate with legacy systems
  • Competition/wait time for features
  • 3rd Parties lead to competing invoices
  • Point solution – no support, no insight into security

External Builds and the Form.com Difference

Buying Software
Form.com Difference
Problem: Industry solutions lack operational expertise
Niche solutions lure clients in with pre-labeled form fields and recognizable industry terminology. But their focus is on appealing to an audience instead of process improvement and operational efficiency.
Form.com: Our focus is on perfecting the art of distributing data across the enterprise. From construction and manufacturing to restaurants and retail, we create solutions that get data exactly where it needs to go as quickly as possible. And if you really want those industry-focused field names, we can do that too thanks to the inherent flexibility of Form.com.
Problem: Many enterprise companies have a “No-SaaS” policy
Large companies have different guidelines, especially when it comes to controlling and securing proprietary data. As a result, many enterprises dismiss SaaS models due to a lack of self-hosted options that meet their company’s guidelines or country’s regulations.
Form.com: In addition to offering a securely hosted solution, we can also help you implement an on-premise model installed behind your company’s firewall. Not sure which is right for you? Form. com can help your company decide the best option for your unique infrastructure and environment.
Problem: Customizing a pre-built solution is nearly impossible
Most SaaS solutions don’t let you adjust their platform to meet your company’s unique procedural and branding requirements.
Form.com: Form.com’s 80/20 development methodology enables us to customize our core platform to meet your design and operational needs.
Problem: Third party tech teams can derail your project
Large companies have different guidelines, especially when it comes to controlling and securing proprietary data. As a result, many enterprises dismiss SaaS models due to a lack of self-hosted options that meet their company’s guidelines or country’s regulations.
Form.com: In addition to offering a securely hosted solution, we can also help you implement an on-premise model installed behind your company’s firewall. Not sure which is right for you? Form. com can help your company decide the best option for your unique infrastructure and environment.

The Secure Form.com Platform

If you select our cloud-based option, rest assured that the security of our SSAE 16 certified data centers are our top priority. They’re compliant with documented controls and follow strict operational procedures. Form.com is TierIII/TIA 942 compliant from both a design and operational perspective.

In-House Solution Checklist

  • Have the technical expertise and IT staffing you need
  • Employ project managers with IT experience
  • Be prepared to dominate your tech team’s time
  • Define requirements before development starts
  • Have time to stay current on industry tech trends
  • Set objectives and milestones beyond deployment
  • Have resources for maintenance & upgrades

Got questions? We can help!

Form.com is a flexible platform designed to take time-consuming procedures done on paper and spreadsheets and turn them into user-friendly forms. Our mobile and offline app allows you to access and complete forms from anywhere, even while offline, and our team of exprerts will work with you every step of the way to create your ideal solution.


For more information

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