I was wondering how good is selling components (.NET, ...) for uISV compared to selling program(s). When I look at the prices of components compared with prices of programs we sell ... Than again this is smaller market, right?
Anyone with any experience? Are programmers good customers? Is this better place to be for uISV or not? What is your opinion/suggestion?
Thanks for your opinions/answers.
On the plus side, as Jason points out its an established market with clear pricing guidance and customer expectations. On the other hand there are a number of serious challenges in this market. For example, you have to fit your component into a relatively narrow pricing band people are used to spending (between say $295 and $995 / developer).
Our company is "near" this market (we sell to the same audience and part of our product is a component you embed in your application). We also partner with a few component development companies to share information about market trends and challenges.
The challenge is to get noticed and get trusted enough to have people be willing to both perform a trial of your component and ultimately be willing to purchase it. This takes a great deal of up-front goodwill with prospects because:
To deal with this, you need to not just create a great component but also be prepared to:
Additionally, the perception of value in the component market is very different because you're up against the developer's perception of the value of your component. Roughly put, they need to believe adopting your component is simple and if they did it themselves it would take many times the number of hours they'd be willing to spend. The challenge is that developers are perpetual optimists - they will tend to look at most problems and think I can solve that in a weekend. So now your value is compared to a few days of their time, not the actual time it'd take.
What's different when you create a full application vs. a component is with a full application it's often easier to understand the end user requirements and easier to understand who your potential customers are and how to reach them. For example, you don't have to consider all the ways someone might want to use your component and cover them in your documentation and samples you just have to provide people with a way to reach their external functional goal. Your target market will be mercifully narrower (e.g. if you're making a dog grooming app, it's easy to find out how to reach people that do dog grooming. How do you affordably reach .NET developers that need charting?)
Components are a great space for a uISV exactly because there are existing channels, and understood technical framework (at least with .NET), and you can control the scope of the project.