A couple of things struck me yesterday during the first day of the Strategy Institute’s digital signage technology conference.
Gabriel Tullier runs the student and staff-facing digital screen network for Palm Beach Atlantic University, and he explained in considerable detail the process the Florida school went through to make its software decision.
It was very thorough and pulled in just about every conceivable stakeholder. The committees knew what they were going to need and the workflow needed to run the thing.
Then he said the university went with Samsung’s free software, MagicNet. Huh???
Even Samsung guys will quietly concede their software is really basic and meant for entry-level work.
So what drove the decision? First, budgets were tight and free had a nice ring to it. But second, and this is why I am cranking out this post, is that they needed to choose a platform from a company they were comfortable would be in business for the next few years.
Interesting, and absolutely true these days. There are so many options out there it’s just a case of being pragmatic by choosing a company that is at no real risk of going under or being swallowed up.
Then Mary Hood, the CEO of Colorado integrator Digital Roads, spoke on a panel and said some solid due diligence on any short list of software companies was essential. “You want to look as closely at the company representing the software than the software itself.”
She was speaking about the quality of the service and support, but also about a company’s financial state and prospects.
As a consultant, those things are at the top of my list when making recommendations. It doesn’t matter how cool and sexy the user experience may be if the guys who developed it are financially shaky.
When there’s doubt, and there is a fair amount of that out there these days, smart buyers will make safe choices.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.