Support proves to be a major consideration when integrating the right software solutions into your enterprise technology stack.

This Expert Exchange is brought to you by Bill Schroeder, President at ProShip Multi-Carrier Shipping Software

Let’s talk about what is really important when choosing the right logistics software solutions for your business. Logistics solutions today are a bewildering collection of high-powered technology packages glued together by clever teams. The entire solution that any major retailer or manufacturer is using today likely involves 4 or more pieces from different vendors, along with services and support offered by a few more. The entire ecosystem is then pieced together by creative geniuses (integrators). If we could see it all manifested in the physical world rather than nicely organized server cabinets in the air conditioned data center, it would more closely resemble this Rube Goldberg contraption than something neatly organized for efficiency.

I thought we were talking about support… what’s the point?

Every vendor out there will promise you the world when it comes to how robust and “enterprise” grade their systems are: for instance 99.9% uptime guarantees (high availability/disaster recovery is table stakes now days). Totally bulletproof 99.9% up time? Of course, a system can be up and running and still not doing its function successfully. Have you ever wondered why the very same vendor trying to sell you their system that “never malfunctions” is the same one that offers an outsourced help desk that follows the sun and is available in 27 different languages?

The point is, things are going to go wrong. Since Murphy’s Law is universal in the IT universe, things will most likely go wrong at the absolute worst time, and the price will be high. A shipping systems problem at the wrong time can mean…

  • A failure for required Amazon SLA’s resulting in getting you kicked out of the program
  • Compliance issues and chargebacks
  • Disappointed customers and offers of costly appeasements to those customers

Meaning, you want to do everything possible to ensure that doesn’t happen.

That’s when it’s important to have a partner that is truly a partner in every sense of the word. The people and the company providing your business-critical software solutions need to be totally invested in your success and committed to the relationship. When you call, you need them to answer, and you need them to know what to do to help. No matter the circumstance, they need to be a truly reliable and trusted part of your business.

Characteristics of good support

  • Listens, gets involved and improves the relationship at all times
  • Improves systems and completes projects in a timely manner, offering better efficiency and enhanced functionality
  • Understands your business needs and offers to work side-by-side with you to compete more effectively

And when times are bad (data get corrupted, hardware fails or a mysterious phantom plagues your operation) that’s when a trusted partner delivers.

A responsive and dedicated partner offers the support you need, when you need it and is successful at making things right. You shouldn’t have to pray that Bob in support is available because Bob is the one who knows the answers and no one else can help you because they don’t have a clue. That means you are in a failed partnership. You are about to be let down and you are already planning for an operational recovery in the morning. It will be mean overtime, begging for an extra late pickup from the carriers and very expensive shipment upgrades to meet the delivery commitments.

So if you have a partnership that has failed, and you’ve been let down, come visit ProShip. Come visit our offices, meet our people and ask to talk with our staff who are focused on customer relationships and dedicated to successful, long term relationships. When you pick a software partner, it’s a long term commitment, so make sure you know who you are working with. Integrating complex software solutions into your whole business ecosystem isn’t something that you can make a decision to change out quickly or easily, so like a real human partnership, it’s a commitment.