Hi all,

I am in the process of setting up an application packaging company and I was wondering if anyone on here had any experience in doing so? If so, any advice would be welcome! Pricing, license costs, SLA's etc.....

Thanks in advance!
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I think the most difficult job would be to find really good application packaging engineers also you need to provide a bucket of services with app packaging as in deployement,imaging,migration specialists,virtualization and on and on to get an edge...

Best of luck !!! :)
Answered 03/15/2011 by: rajdera1
Orange Belt

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You will probably want to base the company offshore, too, as you can employ people who purport to be packagers but who spend all their time asking beginner's questions on certain fora but who will work for less money than people who can actually do the job for you, properly, in less time. Remember: the bean-counters at your target audience only see the bottom line.
Answered 03/16/2011 by: VBScab
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The toughest part is to sell your service to a company. You will be competing against every contracting firm in the nation and overseas. If you can't pay for bench time why should I work for you rather than anyother contracting firm?
Answered 03/21/2011 by: KentD
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I always wonder, what marketing plan/strategy is being used to get packaging contracts?
When any organisation decides to get services from other consulting firms....where do they post their requirements?
I'm fine to register even if its a paid service.
Answered 04/01/2011 by: Aryan
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So much of what is done in my territory is relationship based. Very little goes to public tender, the government does out of policy but even then the decision makers usually already know who they are going to select so it becomes more of a formality. Many people want to go without a sales force but unless you know lots of influential people and have good vendor relationships it can be very tough to find the opportunities.

What I find to be a disturbing trend with Microsoft services is seeing clients go to their Large Account Reseller for services when most specialized work gets subcontracted because the LARs don’t have the in-house expertise. So basically the client got to pay an extra mark up because they didn’t want to shop around or want the assurance of having a big name behind the project.

I.E. Nobody gets fired for buying <insert major outsourcer here> even if they can’t deliver.
Answered 04/07/2011 by: kkaminsk
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ORIGINAL: dutchsparkydark

Hi all,

I am in the process of setting up an application packaging company and I was wondering if anyone on here had any experience in doing so? If so, any advice would be welcome! Pricing, license costs, SLA's etc.....

Thanks in advance!


My experience:
1) Priсing: the easest way is selling your man hours. The cost in this case depend on engineer experience/quality.
2) Licence costs: Customers always have own licences. You should have licensed packaging tools (AdminStudio or WiseStudio)
3) SLA: should specify product (packages) quality produces by your engeneers (~95% packages), customer quality criterias (based on customer enviroment), packaging time frames (based on approved package complexity?!)...
Answered 04/10/2011 by: itolutions
Orange Senior Belt

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Isn't it more effective to to have a pricing strategy based on setting prices per packages delivered instead of hours worked ?
Answered 04/11/2011 by: package_aligator
Orange Belt

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IMHO, this is the question of selling models. I think most of all packaging companies selling hours. Or wrap packging hours with package complexities, example:
Simple package (average time 8hr) = X Euro
Medium package (average time 16hr) = 2*X Euro
...
Answered 04/11/2011 by: itolutions
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If I was on the buying end, I would never sign a packaging contract with a company bidding on a "per-hours worked" basis. You only have to look at the endless hours some company's employees waste here on AD trying to find answers to idiot questions to work that out.
Answered 04/11/2011 by: VBScab
Red Belt

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For this reason all SLA points should be detaily described. if you are paying for seniors you are expecting good time/quality specified in SLA.
Answered 04/11/2011 by: itolutions
Orange Senior Belt

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If I was on the buying end, I would never sign a packaging contract with a company bidding on a "per-hours worked" basis. You only have to look at the endless hours some company's employees waste here on AD trying to find answers to idiot questions to work that out.

I once saw that kind of contract in the field ... packaging team of 10 guys on-site mostly twiddling their thumbs, practically fighting for new packages when they came in... Didn't last very long before the client demanded a PpP system. result: packaging team down to 4 guys...

PJ
Answered 04/11/2011 by: pjgeutjens
Red Belt

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Now that is a good point, how do you decide the number of engineers when assembling a team and what are the decisive factors ?
(knowing that there could be months of dryness and others of flood)
Answered 04/11/2011 by: package_aligator
Orange Belt

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how do you decide the number of engineers when assembling a team and what are the decisive factors

It really depends on the kind of contract imo.

For one-off projects with a fixed number of packages to be done the calculation is relatively simple: (avg time per package * nr of packages to do)/ time until delivery
For continuous service agreements you'd have to get some view on the average load of package requests per week or so.

As for 'seasonality', I'd say in a PpP system you try to cope with as few people as possible, since they all cost money and you won't be making any more for delivering faster. So you definitely DO NOT staff for the high season. I guess it's a balancing act between the cost of an extra packager and the penalty costs for late delivery of packages...

Let's be clear though, this is all very nice on paper, and some calculations are always nice to get a feel for the needs, but in the field you'll also have to see what you can get your hands on as far as FTE's, how many seniors/juniors etc.

just my 2c

PJ
Answered 04/11/2011 by: pjgeutjens
Red Belt

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Hello Experts

Can anyone give me a quote to bid for a prospective client. How does generally bidding goes on, Is it depending upon per package OR per hour rate?
If it is per hour how can much can we quote for average experience level of engineers working on a project is 4years.
If it is per package what would be good competitive rate. i.e., for simple package, medium package and complex package.

Thanks in Advance.

Arjun
Answered 04/12/2011 by: mekaywe
Brown Belt

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To be blunt, the fact that you are asking those questions in that way tells me that you are not the right person to be involved in the process. To begin with, you haven't even stated in which market you intend to pitch for business.
Answered 04/13/2011 by: VBScab
Red Belt

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Yes Ian, Im just starting to market my services so seeking your views. Thanks
Answered 04/13/2011 by: mekaywe
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ORIGINAL: mekaywe
Can anyone give me a quote to bid for a prospective client.

How can anyone? You provide trainings on packaging in India, can you share details about your fees on public forums?
I guess, NOT.
Well, going by the general RULES, For Onsite - It’s per hour and for Offsite - It’s per package.
Answered 04/13/2011 by: WiseAppPackager
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Hi Sandy

Im not asking you to share the exact prices but on an average. Thats Ok I will try to find out by googling if i can. Thanks for the forum
Answered 04/13/2011 by: mekaywe
Brown Belt

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My view is that you still haven't said which market you want to service! Is it the UK? US? Europe? Will your team be based in that market or overseas? What margin are you seeking? You have provided far too little information.
Answered 04/13/2011 by: VBScab
Red Belt

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Developing the pricing strategy is not that hard, the hard part is to have a marketing service/product strategy that can sweeten a company's CEO/CTO.
Being an offsite/overseas company, with no brand created for it's self is a big disadvantage.
In this market relations matter the most and, like somebody else said, a bucket of services along packaging need to be provided.
Answered 04/13/2011 by: package_aligator
Orange Belt

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One of my team suggested that I offer some advise on this topic as we have just set up a specialist application packaging team and they think that my input may be valuable for this conversation. Apologies in advance for the long post but tried to cover off all the questions raised.

@ rajdera1, correct a major challenge is putting together a great technical team. The attributes to look for are passionate guys/gals that understand the technology and are determined to deliver to your customers - this is not as easy as it sounds and gave me many sleepless nights.

@ kkaminsk, a relationship based approach to customer service is essential. When we started out we went with a channel model so that we could sell through Resellers, System Integrators, Managed Service Providers etc to get to the end customer. This gave us the opportunity to achieve a global reach that is also territory / region based where our partners have offices. In regions where we don’t have partners then we have started to experiment with a direct model – this works well if the customer has strong technical expertise.

@ itolutions, spot on about the SLA's - being able to deliver to the expectations that you set for your customer is critical to any companys success.

@ KentD, you're right - the hardest part is being heard above the noise from every other consulting firm offering similar services. We do this through a rounded marketing strategy that includes social media, blog posting, direct marketing, business development etc. Still it is not easy so we really do rely on our channel partners and look after them by feeding back direct leads we receive. Additionally, you need to think about how to differentiate from the market. This is really hard to achieve as we all use similar tools making repackaging more a commodity service, as opposed to a highly customised service. Therefore we drew inspiration from other sectors to come up with ways to stand out from our competitors – such as offering free trials and a 3 month deployment guarantee. No doubt competitors will look to copy our initiatives so to stay a leader we will need to keep upping the game.

@ VBScab, as you pointed out, yes an offshore team will reduce costs where we benefit with our team being based in the Philippines. The added benefit, which I now realise, of being offshore is we have a team that are passionate about application packaging / software deployment and continually up-skill to stay on top of technologies; ie quick to work through sequencing and a couple of the guys are already across Intune.

@ package_aligator, you need to be flexible in the model that you can offer customers. Our preferred model is fixed price per app regardless of category as it simplifies the presales process. We have partners that charge out on a T&M basis or sell by the categorised app so we need to be flexible to fit in with the way they operate. To scale with a flexible model is an added challenge and this requires a billing engine that can offer the flexibility of your sales model.

@ pjgeutjens, correct, you effectively need two models; 1) project work & 2) ongoing / updates. The trick is to balance your utilisation so that project commitments get delivered on as well as meeting short term SLAs of the ongoing work.

@ dutchsparkydark, it took over 12 months of extremely hard work to build a team of highly competent packagers – to me the proof is in the delivery and having satisfied customers that keep coming back. If you are serious about setting up a team then do PM me as happy to discuss how to save you months of poor cashflows and general startup pain.

In all, I have tried to offer some insight into how we set up our offshore practise from a business perspective rather than technical. I also tried to remove the sales spiel so that it is still palatable to the technical guys [8|]
Answered 04/19/2011 by: samsaxton
Yellow Belt

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long post? Not at all.
Thanks for the wonderful reply.
Answered 04/20/2011 by: WiseAppPackager
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Hi

We are a Bangalore based Consutling & Training company, we have the expertise in Application Packaging - Training, Consulting, Offshore services. Request you to please contact us if you need more information.

Regards

Vinay
Answered 05/04/2011 by: shriyaa143
Yellow Belt

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ORIGINAL: itolutions
2) Licence costs: Customers always have own licences. You should have licensed packaging tools (AdminStudio or WiseStudio)


Be aware that both Wise and InstallShield do not permit you to use YOUR license to provide services to third parties. In other words, if you have a customer who wants you to package for him, you cannot use your own licence of Wise/Installshield for that - the customer will have to supply you with one of his own licences for the duration of the packaging.

I found this very hard to believe when I first heard of it, so I checked with my distributor (PDS in the Netherlands), and they did confirm to me this is true for both vendors.

If you are a very large company doing heaps of packaging for customers, there is something called an "SI licence" which does cater for this, but you're talking BIG numbers then, so unless you have an output of +100 packages a month it is not worth considering... :-)
Answered 05/11/2011 by: Jonassis
Senior Yellow Belt

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There are going to be many issues you will need to address when starting this type of company. The first of course is licensing and legal issues. I would highly recommend you bring on a consultant if you are now aware of these types of nuances. And as Jonassis mentioned on whether you will be a large company then you also need to address different issues when it comes to the size of company you want to start and how you plan to build your business model and revenue strategy. Its really hard to answer pricing and some other questions when you dont have a clear path as to your exact strategy. Maybe start there first.
Answered 07/10/2011 by: ashjones
Yellow Belt

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