Why Do ISVs Need An Appliance Strategy?
Despite popularity of running software through the cloud and for ISVs to base their business models on selling software only to focus on core competencies, many companies are still choosing to deploy their software with a server appliance model. These server appliances, also called on-premise appliances, are total turnkey solutions featuring software embedded on a server platform, validated as a total solution and shipped to end users. This solution model promises quick setup, easy installation and pre-validation for a true plug and play experience.
So why do software ISVs still choose to deploy integrated hardware products when it would seemingly require additional resources to manufacture, deploy and manage, requirements that may be outside of their software development expertise?
A survey of ISVs using an appliance model as part of their product strategy cite the following top reasons:
- Total Control of the Customer Experience—for many ISVs, part of the sales cycle includes a trial period in which the customers are able to test drive their software. Often, there will be minimum requirements for the software to run, but where the software can really showcase its performance and full capabilities is on validated, optimized hardware. By shipping a pre-loaded, pre-validated appliance to the customer as part of a Try & Buy program, ISVs are ensuring that their software will not only run, but perform optimally once it is set up at the customer site, limiting any potential frustration to the customer, poor performance due to hardware compatibility/capability, or operational burden on their tech support teams in getting the customer site set up properly for the trial. And ultimately, if the customer likes the product, it’s already up and running and embedded in the customer’s operations, so closing the sale is a mere issue of invoicing, lending an advantage to expediting the sales cycle.
- Shortens Sales Cycles— An example of use case, a mobile-security company with focuses on a Software-as-a-Service offers two deployment options for their platform—either as a cloud service or embedded on an on-premise device. Having an on-premise device was not only a major product strategy to have an easy-to-install platform that could plug into a customer’s corporate network and “be up and running in less than a day,” but it also had major benefits to the company’s sales strategy by having an appliance product model that reduces time to value.
- Additional Revenue—By including the addition of an integrated hardware platform to the software, ISVs can exponentially increase revenue streams for their product line including not only the total solution cost of hardware plus software, but additional revenue-generating licensing/support charges as well as programs for hardware upgrades.
- Resource Efficiency—Some ISVs find creating and managing an AVL (approved vendor list) of compatible hardware platforms to be much more resource-intensive than managing an in-house developed line of appliances. Software companies using an AVL model often need to embed hundreds of drivers to ensure their application runs on a range of platforms from a wide list of vendors, with each platform requiring extensive validation testing before it’s approved. By developing a standardized line of appliance platforms, ISVs consolidate their compatibility testing and updates to a controlled product platform and ensure a plug and play experience for their customer base while efficiently managing their own internal resources.
- Reinforcing Corporate Identity— Custom-branded appliances can be used to promote your company brand. This gives the company’s corporate identity a tangible and visible presence and helps to identify a product and distinguish it from other products and services.
Now You Want a Server Appliance Platform for Your Software & What’s Next?
ISVs that like the idea of deploying an on-premise server appliance but don’t want to divert resources away from software development, or companies that lack in-house hardware expertise, what are the options? Having a full-service OEM partner is the answer. AMAX has the hardware expertise, extensive global services and experience to help an ISV develop an optimized platform and even the logistics capabilities to deploy it to a global customer base.
As an OEM Server Appliance Manufacturer, AMAX specializes in building custom appliance platforms and services. We are able to design with a range of platforms from different vendors as well as a range of component providers, and integrate them into a custom-designed platform best suited for your specific software requirements. The total solution delivery and business value include and extend beyond the hardware with value-added services such as New Product Introduction (NPI) services, custom design/branding, supply chain management, customized test processes, global support & logistics and compliance consultation/certification services.
Having an on-premise appliance model may not be the right fit for all software companies and products, but it can be a very efficient and productive way to increase your businesses revenue, fast track customer acceptance, reduce support overhead and ensure your product functions not just correctly, but optimally at customer sites. If you are a software company, having an appliance strategy can take your company and products to the next level!