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Support: North Ridge Reports

Do You Need a Software Solution?

Originally published: Spring 1998

Recently a customer inquired about whether we had a solution to a problem that they were facing at their installation. A solution was available from another software vendor, but it was part of a larger packaged 'architecture', making it impossible to purchase the needed portion only. Does this situation sound familiar to you?

This phenomenon is a by-product of the way in which many software products evolve. First, small discrete solutions are developed to meet a specific need. Then a series of solutions are developed with some overlapping functionality. Eventually an 'architecture' is developed that bundles these disparate products into a more or less integrated software package. In many cases additional functions are added to solve increasingly complex problems until the package can handle almost any sophisticated requirement. In the meantime those customers with the original more limited requirement are faced with a dilemma: Do they address their real business need? If so, do they incur the additional expense and overhead of the excess capacity and complexity that they do not need?

Because North Ridge is a small entrepreneurial company we can be more flexible than large vendors can. If, for example, a customer needs a subset of a larger offering (i.e. they are looking for a less expensive solution), we will develop a product if it is technically feasible. We accept the risk and cost of development, and our customer agrees to participate in testing the product and providing feedback on the design. There is also an implied understanding that if the delivered product meets the customer's expectations, they will purchase it.

Several of our most successful products have been developed in this way, and in many ways this is how we prefer to do business. It allows us to develop products for which we know there is a real need and a known target audience.

Do you have needs which are currently unmet or where the existing solution is too expensive? If so, feel free to contact us to explore a cooperative venture where we both can win!

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