By Yair Segev
If you’re evaluating options for a technology stack, it’s important to know exactly what third-party vendors might be able to offer you, beyond what’s obvious on their sales sheets. If you are planning to work with an outside development partner to build your stack, ask yourself these questions.
1. Does the Company Offer A Trial Period?
The last thing you want is to be locked into a years-long contract with a vendor before realizing that the technology is not what you’d hoped. Ideally, you’ll be able to try out the vendor’s technology before purchasing, or you could have a trial period after implementation where you can get out of a contract within the first few months if you don’t like it.
2. How Long Has the Vendor Been Around?
In a perfect world, you’ll work with a vendor who has proven experience working with businesses like yours. If your vendor is a startup, there’s always a chance it won’t be around long enough to support you as you need upgrades or adjustments to the service, so if it's a newer business, it's more important than ever to get references from existing clients.
3. What Kind of Support Can You Expect?
To build on the question posed above, you want your vendor to be around for the long haul, since you may need help along the way. Make sure you have a support period that spans as long as possible, so the vendor is available to handle updates, migrations, bug fixes, new tech integrations and other features that you may need.
4. Where Is the Data and Who Can Access It?
With many modern tech stacks, the data is saved in a cloud-based storage capacity, but that’s information you’ll need to know up front. In addition, find out who will have access to that data. It’s imperative that key staff members at your organization can access the information from your platform on an as-needed basis without having to get the vendor involved to retrieve it for you, so this question is essential.
5. Can You Demonstrate Examples of Flexibility and Scalability?
Because you expect your business to grow, the tech stack vendor should be able to show you exactly how its technology will scale with your startup. The tech must be flexible enough that simple adjustments will allow for swift growth, without slowdowns or crashes in the process. You certainly don’t want to have to buy a new technology stack a year from now because yours couldn’t handle your growth, so find a solution that can grow with you.
6. What Services Are A La Carte?
Some vendors will give you a low price up front, only to reveal later that things like support or troubleshooting are charged on an a la carte basis. Get a list of everything that’s included in the price from day one, in writing, so you don’t face budget surprises later.
7. Which Security Protocols Are in Place?
Even if the technology stack is ironclad when you get it, that doesn’t mean it’s always going to be safe from threats. As new security bugs come out and as your technology evolves, you could open yourself up to becoming a target. Make sure security is a top priority with your vendors so you don’t face any breaches along the way, which could sink your reputation and your standing with customers.