Enterprise software customers are always willing to offer feedback to their vendors. After all, they are more qualified than anyone else to identify and conceive new functionality that will add value to the software they use. Many companies talk about listening to the Voice of the Customer. Product enhancement is an area where this can really make a difference.
Here at Cincom, we have recognized this and we have incorporated it into our overall product development strategy. Cincom offers Customer-Inspired Enhancements (CIEs). This unique program offers the customer the advantages of customized features, without the aggravation and expense of having to port those features into future product releases.
Here’s an example of how Customer-Inspired Enhancements works.
A company customer decides it needs a special set of fields developed in association with its parts inventory system. Typically, the company would either develop the change itself or contract with Cincom to build the modification for its copy of the product. In the future, when the company customer upgrades to a newer release of the product, it would have to pay for the development and modification all over again.
Down the road, Cincom builds the modification into all future releases of the product. Not as an option, but as a standard feature.
With the CIE program, the customer works with Cincom to develop the specifications of the change. Then, Cincom design and builds the modification for delivery to the customer. Down the road, Cincom builds the modification into all future releases of the product. Not as an option, but as a standard feature.
Patches vs. enhancements
This should not be confused with regular maintenance patches. Patches correct bugs uncovered in the product, CIEs are functional enhancements that increase the value delivered by the product.
The actual development of the CIE is handled like any professional services transaction. Cincom and the customer develop a Statement of Work to be performed which will include pricing information. This agreement is the only contract modification needed to kick off the process. Since the CIE becomes part of the standard product, no further contractual changes are needed.
Cincom will then let you know which future release the enhancement will be included in. This will be driven by the normal processes Cincom uses for developing ongoing product releases. Once implemented, the enhancement is covered by the normal product warranty and related terms and conditions.
How much does this cost?
It depends on the complexity of the development which is reflected in the time required to build and test it. The pricing is based on our normal Professional Services rate structure. Again, this is the only cost associated with the development.
It is also important to understand that Cincom will not offer the enhancement to other customers until it is built into the standard release of the product.
At this time, CIEs are only available on Cincom-owned code. We can’t offer this service for products provided by our partners as add-on functionality.
We are the only vendor that can work with your business people, identify a specific area of improvement, and then update your existing software and the future version of your software. This permits your business people the ability to solve an issue once – and then move onto more important matters within your business processes.
A partnership with Cincom means we are on your team, we are working for you and we are helping you strive for success. CIEs are just one more way that Cincom helps you simplify your complex world.
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