This week we thought it would be great to talk about standardization. It is important that the software you use and the companies who support that software use standardized tools. There are many software solutions out there for many types of uses, but as you look into them it becomes important to recognize the need for strong control over them. In order to achieve this, most use tools that have been accepted by the developers who create them and the staff who supports them.
There are multiple reasons for wanting to control these tools, each with their own benefits. Some of those are:
Support of the manufacturers – This is probably the biggest reason of all. The manufacturers of the tools used to program such applications at bMobile Route Manager and other tools used to support the application provide their own patches and updates to these tools to keep them up to date. They fix bugs and other issues with their product and assure compatibility with changes to operating systems and the release of new operating systems. In our world, we see constant updates to mobile devices in the form of Android updates. It is important that we have the latest tools to make sure we are ready for any upcoming changes that might impact our application and prevent users from being able to get full use out of it.
Virus scanners and firewalls – We often see applications get shut out by virus scanners and other firewalls, including both hardware like SonicWall and software. It is important that those tools are controllable by support staff in order to make exceptions for the applications and assure that they will continue to work with these important security measures in place. Well known and widely accepted security tools are the key to making this happen. Often we see more obscure or lesser known products do damage to applications through the quarantine process. Always check with your application provider before putting a new security tool in use.
Easy to troubleshoot – The more standard a tool used to write an application is, the easier it is for the developers to troubleshoot issues. This also applies to database engines and other components such as the web services used to move data back and forth from device to desktop. E-commerce brings along additional components and the more those are standardized, the more control the end user has over the look and feel.
Recognized ecosystem of other applications and other integration points – In this day and age, users are interested in tying applications together to move data back and forth. Having a recognized tool to do this makes it easier to accomplish these goals and get applications to talk to each other. Having a product like Route Manager with the ability to push and pull data from ERP systems like QuickBooks, NetSuite, or the Sage line of products is invaluable. Users also look to be able to extract key data to do KPI reports and use them in their Business Intelligence (BI) tools to make sound business decisions.
Training users – Having standardized tools makes it easier to train users and also provides the benefit of having a user community that is often available online to help diagnose issues or provide training on the usage of those tools.
All of these reasons are important when considering a software solution. You want to make sure that the provider uses standard tools to create and support the applications. We know that taking a little time to make sure that is in place will pay off in the long run and make your experience a positive one.
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Today we'd like to talk about how distributors handle the challenge of having multiple lines