As you look ahead to 2014, mobile solutions should be top of mind when it comes to core MLS products. Whether you already have a mobile solution or are in the market to partner with a mobile provider, here are 5 things you should ask any mobile provider:
1. What does the product look like today?
While road map features are important, it’s critical to understand what technology is in use today and who is using it. When you see press releases touting a new feature, find out if it is in the marketplace today. If it is available, ask for a reference that you can speak to about promised functionality. Ideal features to ask about include: edit listings, upload photos, third party integrations (tax, appointment scheduling solutions, etc.) and commute time search capabilities, if applicable.
2. What features does the product provide and who does it serve?
It’s important to understand how the product will benefit your members. Get a complete breakdown of what features are provided with a specific understanding of how it will help your members be more productive in the field.
3. What is the size and makeup of the vendor’s mobile team?
It’s important to understand who is responsible for what and how many dedicated resources work on the mobile solution. Does the vendor do all of their development in house or do they outsource to a third party firm? Does the vendor have multiple products, and if so how many are dedicated to the product line you’re using? For the firm responsible for delivering the solution, how many employees are on staff developing the solution, performing quality assurance, and providing customer support? There are many layers that make up a complete mobile team and understanding how a mobile team is made up is key.
4. What is your policy on patent infringement indemnification and insurance?
A mobile company should be able to provide an indemnification clause at the very least but ideally, should be able to back up the indemnification with an insurance policy.
5. Do you have a process for collecting feedback from existing partners?
Does the vendor have a process for soliciting feedback to influence and shape the future of the product? This shows the level of commitment the mobile provider has towards listening to key feedback from members in the field.
Of course, there are many other questions to ask a potential mobile provider, but this brief list should help shape the conversation and lead to meaningful discussions to help you make the most informed decision about your mobile solution.