If this article grabs your attention, it’s highly likely that you have already found yourself in a situation where, without the help of a service provider, you were unable to progress in your work. It is without a doubt, in my opinion, one of the greatest weaknesses of our industry: the inability to modify the source code of one’s applications.
In a prior blog post, we showed how certain IT companies profit from the technical problems of their clients by charging for technical support, a practice that we at Shift have chosen to forgo in favour of offering free technical support. In this article, I will discuss another profit taking practice that Group Shift has put aside in favour of the benefits that come from mutual aid and partnership with our clients.
Your ally in efficiency and for your future
It is common to encounter a wide range of information systems where it is completely or partially impossible to change the source code oneself or with the aid of a partner other than the system developer. A good number of IT companies, by retaining the source code, present their clients with only two options: remain with the current information system and keep paying service fees, or start all over again with a different system.
This practice is, in my opinion, not very conducive to developing a flourishing and productive partnership. For this reason Group Shift has decided to offer our clients the opportunity to modify the source code of the applications that we develop for them. Now hold on! I am not talking here about letting go of our intellectual property rights. Clearly the source code remains the intellectual property of Group Shift. However this does not mean that we will stand in the way of the progression of our clients as it relates to our applications.
At Group Shift we create alliances — and for our clients this makes all the difference. Our clients are free to modify our applications however they best see fit without the presence of our team.
Forming an alliance
Up to this point, our way of doing things has been a lot more beneficial to us than detrimental. Certainly there are clients who, after we provide them with our applications, choose to modify them without our involvement. However this does not prevent us from maintaining excellent relations with them and helping them progress further. Such is the case, for example, of one of our biggest clients, Big River Steel. They now possess a complete internal team responsible for updating and evolving our Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform. Nevertheless, it is always possible to find a “win-win” situation when we build strong and honest partnerships. In the case of Big River Steel, we have continued working with them by providing training on our ERP platform to their newly-hired software developers.
Creating a trust-based environment with our clients is not without advantage on our part. It directly serves our interest to develop better applications and software solutions. By choosing a more generous approach, our clients open up to us and provide us with privileged information about their business. And as we gain access to more information the software solutions that we develop become more useful and complete. We are able to develop new applications based on the realities of the businesses that we support. This helps us increase the added value of our products and makes us more competitive, on top of allowing us to serve our clients with the best services. This is what we like to call an entrepreneurial synergy. All parties come out on top!