Best Practices for ISV Integrations with Hardware

POS ISVs looking to boost brand recognition often turn to hardware manufacturers to get their solutions to market. Partnerships to integrate ISV solutions with hardware are one of the most effective ways to create a market for your software.

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Teaming with hardware vendors allows ISVs to become active participants in the retail ecosystem and gain a good understanding of the channels, the players and the value that retail-specific hardware bring to retailers.

For best results, POS ISVs should spend some time getting acquainted with the needs and challenges of the consumers of their products — the retailers. That way you’ll learn the right grade of product they require. Then you can zero in on the hardware products that provide the best fit, and identify a hardware partner with a well-developed ISV program offering a solid support structure.

Your vendor partner should have a solid market position, good reputation and a track record of delivering high-quality products. To help you make the best possible choice when selecting a hardware partner, here are some considerations to keep in mind:

 

Communication Equals Smooth Integration

To make the transition as smooth as possible, there should be ongoing communication between the ISV and hardware manufacturer so you can ask questions and seek assistance whenever necessary. Having a dedicated staff to work closely with the hardware partner is a good idea.Hands of business people working with documents

You’ll want to check that the technologies and standards that underpin the hardware devices are stable and reliable, as well as identify any assumptions, preconceived notions and paradigms. This all happens through communication — and it’s how you build trust.

 

Have Your Questions Ready

As you start working with the vendor, questions are bound to come up about topics such as available SDKs (software development kits) and APIs. Try to anticipate as many questions as you can so your team is ready to hit the ground running.  

The more questions are answered upfront about the aforementioned assumptions, preconceived notions and paradigms, the quicker you’ll understand the functionality of the hardware and its interaction with software. When all concepts have been explained and understood, you and the partner can prepare the product documentation and support materials that will guide the integration process.

 

Support Each Other

ISVs need to offer technical and sales support to the hardware partner. Keeping in mind that the integration is also a new venture for the hardware manufacturer, it may be necessary to create APIs and documentation to make the process work.

Keep hardware partners up to date on your solutions. That means you must inform hardware partners of any software upgrades that might impact  — and the same goes for the hardware vendor when making product updates. Set up a lab to test the integration and updates to ensure it functions properly before any customer rollout.

 

Set a Realistic Timeline

The length of integration varies based on several factors, including the amount of work required to get the hardware and software to work together. It’s important Shot of a group of businesspeople meeting in the boardroomthat ISVs not “rush to hardware” and, instead, take the time to explore, learn and vet their choice of partner. Be realistic about how much time the process will take to avoid making promises you can’t keep to customers.

As the integration progresses, and the partnership with the vendor evolves, be ready to deal with the unexpected. Not everything can be anticipated, but the better you prepare yourself upfront, the smoother the whole process will be.

Integration with vendors and third-party applications is crucial to an ISV’s success and scalability. Every sales and development team wants these integrations to be fast and efficient, and hardware providers can help ensure that is the case.

 


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By Robert Banker

Director of SMARTtill® Technology Sales
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