7 Key Considerations Before Downloading from AppSource

September 28, 2023 Greg Williams

It’s amazing just how many add-on apps Microsoft AppSource has to offer from independent software vendors (ISVs) to complement your enterprise Microsoft applications. The exact number is not known but was estimated to be about 800,000 at the end of 2022. For Business Central alone, AppSource features more than 3,000 apps. 

At first glance, AppSource would seem to be a great resource for Microsoft customers. If you’re looking to add specific functionality to your Dynamics or Office solutions, do a quick search, and you’re bound to find many offerings that meet your needs. Just pick the best match, install the app, and you’re ready to roll. Microsoft has already verified that all the AppSource ISV apps integrate with Microsoft technology, so you should be all set.  

But like most things in life, think before you act! 

Key Questions to Ask About AppSource Apps  

When customers ask us about a particular ISV offering on AppSource, we recommend making sure that both the app and ISV are a good fit. Instead of focusing only the functionality, take a holistic approach by asking these questions: 

  1. Is the functionality unique or is it already provided by another ISV app? This tells you if you have alternatives that might be more mature offerings. 

  2. Who is the publishing company behind the app? This helps evaluate their ability to provide support—it may not be a simple plug-and-play offering, and the company could be a one-person operation. 

  3. Where is the publisher located? Do they offer support and have employees in your regions/time zones? If you need support, you want to be able to access experts in real time. 

  4. Does the ISV assist with the implementation? If not, you will need to train your team or get help from your IT partner. 

  5. Does the ISV provide direct first-level support? They may require support calls to go through an IT partner first. 

  6. Can you access executives at the publisher to escalate major issues? This is not always an easy process to set up. You may need to rely on your IT partner to establish a relationship with the ISV. 

  7. Do they have reasonable subscription licensing terms and conditions? Some ISVs attempt to lure you in with low introductory pricing. Check to see how much their pricing goes up after the initial contract expires. 

Answering these questions helps you avoid choosing a solution solely based on the functionality and then not being able to get the support you need. If you must bring in your own technical resources, or resources from your IT partner, you at least want to know upfront. Functionality is important, but the ISV’s ability to support the product is just as critical. 

How Western Computer Helps with ISV Selection 

Here at Western Computer, in addition to advising customers on ISVs they are thinking of partnering with, we also pre-screen ISVs to discover those who have published applications that can deliver value to our customers. In some cases, we establish formal partnerships and work together on multiple implementations.  

In all our discussions with ISVs, as part of our commitment to customer success and independence, we carefully go through a selection process that includes asking the questions above. Our sales and strategy teams are heavily involved to make sure we focus on the benefits to our customers. We validate whether each ISV follows general industry best-practices when it comes to facets such as performance, reliability, resilience, security, and compliance.  

When our customer success managers consider a specific ISV app for a specific customer, they take a comprehensive approach to considering the impact of the app on the customer’s tech stack. Will it integrate easily with all components? Will it negatively impact the performance of any components? And after we establish a relationship with an ISV, we don’t stand pat. We continue to evaluate their applications to make sure they keep up with patches, security updates, and emerging best-practices. 

For more information on how Western Computer can help you select ISV apps from AppSource that will deliver value for your business, contact us today.  

About the Author

Greg Williams

As Western Computer's VP of Strategy, Greg Williams is responsible for aligning the company's product and service offerings with the specific needs of its customers. Greg's 20+ years of experience in the manufacturing and distribution industries allows him to identify current solutions that will help companies implement the right technology for long-term growth, profitability and security.

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