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You design software to provide the best possible user experience. It’s impossible, however, to reach that goal without the proper hardware for your system. In the point of sale (POS) space, that can include POS terminals, mobile devices, and rugged tablets as well as receipt printers, cash drawers, kiosks, scales, barcode scanners, and other POS peripherals. Integrating with the right hardware is critical to the user experience your customers will have and ultimately, it will impact your brand image.
Your partnership with a hardware vendor can also have a direct impact on the success of your business. Whether you are a startup or a legacy ISV, selecting a hardware solution integration partner is a critical business decision for positioning your software solution in the POS industry.
With so many hardware vendors to choose from—and many vying for you as an integration partner—it may not be clear which direction to take. Forming a successful partnership with a hardware vendor follows the same principles as any other type of beneficial business partnership. It depends on agreement in four areas:
- Goal Alignment
- Growth Potential for Both Parties
- Shared Resources
- Unified Marketing Strategy
Business Goal Alignment
The first thing you need to determine about a potential hardware integration partner is whether your business goals and theirs align. That makes it necessary for you to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve. That makes it necessary for you to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve. Once you have established the direction you want to take, you can evaluate hardware vendors as potential partners to help you reach your goals.
Potential for Growth
Do you clearly see the hardware vendor’s value proposition or are you concerned that the benefits of the partnership may be one-sided? Will your solution simply be added to a list the hardware vendor can use to their advantage with little return for your ISV? A more attractive option is a hardware partner with the experience, innovative solutions, and resources to help your business grow. If you can’t see how the partnership would help you advance your business, keep looking until you find a partner that will.
Hardware Partner Integration Resources
The breadth and quality of resources the hardware partner has dedicated to developing software integration relationships is a good indicator of how committed they will be to your partnership. For example, find out if they make software development kits (SDKs) and APIs available to ISVs. Thoroughly vet the hardware vendor’s integration process to learn whether or not the hardware vendor has developers on staff that can assist with integration and help you troubleshoot. If possible, speak to other ISVs who partner with the vendor to gauge their impression of how committed the vendor is to assisting with integrations and how easy their team is to work with.
Unified Marketing Strategy
Make sure you and your potential partner agree on a go-to-market strategy, including distributor and reseller support. Also agree on marketing down to the methods and frequency of marketing activities to adequately promote your partnership and the integration. Some examples include:
- Issuing a joint press release to announce your partnership and include it in each company’s newsletter
- Creating a campaign around your joint solution and promoting it on social media
- Building a microsite or webpages devoted to the hardware-software solution
- Taking advantage of success stories to produce case studies
- Producing videos to demonstrate the solution
- Participating in tradeshows to demonstrate the hardware-software solution
How marketing will be managed and funded is also an important decision. The division of labor and investment should be equitable and acceptable to both partners.
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Brianna Moriarty is the Partner Development Manager at Star Micronics where she works with channel-partners to grow their business and develop new markets. Brianna has a background in marketing and uses this to help VARs and ISVs to establish a go-to-market strategy and create co-marketing campaigns. She enjoys following the latest social media marketing trends and creating content for retailers and SMBs.