My family of six (including me) has lived in our current house for over ten years. In that time, each of my four children have grown exactly ten years (it’s uncanny!). And as a result of their growing, we’ve had to expand our living space accordingly. Fifteen year olds require a lot more space than two year olds!
Some years ago, we had our basement finished by a builder (John) and we were very pleased with his work. John was efficient, respectful of our time and space, and produced a very good end-product. When the time came to add a detached garage, we naturally worked with John to help us design and build it.
Now it’s time for adding a new room to the house and we’ll be working with John again to do that. Why? Because we trust him implicitly. We’ve seen his work product, we’ve experienced how he works, and we know that he understands our needs. John has become a partner in our efforts to continue to make our house more livable. John is honest with us, he’s blunt when he needs to be, and he concedes us our needs when we demand them.
When it comes to choosing new software for your association, keep in mind that you’re not just buying software; you’re also buying a relationship with the vendor who will support that software. As I often tell my clients, you’re not buying a car, you’re getting married. And you want this marriage to last.
When you need to grow your system by adding features and functionality, you want to have a relationship with your vendor that is similar to the relationship I have with my builder. It should be built on trust, mutual benefit, and a vision for working together in the long-term.
Too often I see associations that have developed an adversarial relationship with their software vendor. They view the vendor as just another company out to separate the association from their money. There is a fundamental lack of trust. If your relationship with your software vendor looks like that, you need to do what you can to repair the relationship. In my experience, most vendors are willing to work with you. If it cannot be repaired, you may have to move on because nothing good comes from a bad relationship.
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