Integrated Appliance Solutions

Calling All ISVs: Integrated Appliance Solutions in the Spotlight and for Good Reason

OK, so you’re an ISV (Independent Software Vendor) looking for ways to gain more control of the sell cycle. You want to grow your wallet share with your customers and be viewed as a true solution provider and not simply a software vendor.

If this resonates with you, please read on. I have worked with ISVs for over a decade and can share with you some success stories that hit on these points.

It’s really all about delighting the customer and increasing customer loyalty.

In our experience in working with ISVs in a variety of industries, we have discovered some common denominators:

  • ISVs often experience “friction” (which translates to delay) in the selling cycle due to the customer needing to obtain or validate the hardware (server and/or data storage) infrastructure
  • ISVs sometimes (and any time is not good) experience issues with deployment due to the hardware not being right or not optimally “tuned” for their application
  • Many ISVs have insufficient in-house skills to optimize hardware or stand up customer infrastructure
  • ISVs typically want to off-load hardware related infrastructure work and focus on their core business (application software)
  • Many ISVs have competitors who offer a complete solution (their software + hardware in an integrated appliance or bundle) and therefore feel they are at a competitive disadvantage
  • Leading ISVs typically see value in offering an integrated appliance solution as long as they don’t have to do the hardware infrastructure work

These factors are driving many ISVs to consider being the provider of a complete solution which includes the hardware which runs their application. This does not mean the ISV has to be a hardware expert and get involved in the associated work – in fact, the opposite. There is a way to offload the hardware infrastructure provision and work but still offer it up to the customer as a “one stop shop.”

The Total Solution Approach

So what does a “complete solution” – or integrated appliance – look like? An integrated appliance solution provides businesses an all-in-one software and hardware solution. It can be positioned as an appliance or a bundle or simply a turnkey solution. It reflects a technology infrastructure solution that is fully integrated. It includes the server(s), operating system, middleware (if applicable), other relevant components, and of course the ISV’s application software (which can either be pre-loaded on the hardware or installed later).

I previously wrote on this topic to introduce the concept and explain why integrated appliance solutions are a good match for software vendors. Today the case is even stronger.

Real-Life Examples

Two ISVs who have made the plunge and are realizing the benefits of selling integrated appliance solutions are Masstech and Bytemobile (now part of Citrix). Both have signed up with Datatrend in the IBM ISR program. Click the links to read the solution briefs and learn more.

The Bottom Line

The value proposition is simple: an integrated appliance is a purpose-built collection of components that are pre-integrated to minimize time and resources required for deployment and administration, and speed time to value. It’s a new and better way to get an ISV’s products to market – and to new customers – so they can build not only a larger customer base but also a larger market.

Simply put, selling integrated appliances saves time and money, and it provides ISVs extra margin opportunity – they maintain their software margin, increase their services margin, and add hardware margin.

So if you’re an ISV, chances are you’d rather focus on what you do best (developing best-of-breed application software) and partner with a solution integrator who can take care of the hardware and application integration aspects … yet position yourself as the solution provider who can bring it all together for your customer’s benefit.

It’s easy to see why integrated appliances make sense and are becoming an increasingly popular technology infrastructure solution. Do you agree? Are you considering adding this concept into the mix? I’d love to hear your thoughts.