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An Integrated Method for Installing Non-Integrated Software

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000123022D
Original Publication Date: 1998-Apr-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Apr-04
Document File: 3 page(s) / 183K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Grotjohn, DK: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

It is becoming more and more prevalent in the computer industry for software to be sold as part of a package, or "suite." Thanks to the success of Microsoft Office, Lotus SmartSuite, and similar products, consumers have discovered the great value of buying software in collections like this, and software companies are responding by pulling together packages of existing products in an effort to create offerings that customers will find attractive in both price and function.

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 33% of the total text.

An Integrated Method for Installing Non-Integrated Software

      It is becoming more and more prevalent in the computer industry
for software to be sold as part of a package, or "suite."  Thanks to
the success of Microsoft Office, Lotus SmartSuite, and similar
products, consumers have discovered the great value of buying
software in collections like this, and software companies are
responding by pulling  together packages of existing products in an
effort to create offerings  that customers will find attractive in
both price and function.

      Value is the key selling point of software suites, and profit
margins are lower than with traditional programs.  Therefore,
overhead must be kept low in suite development, and speed to market
is key to success.  As competition increases, margins will likely
become even smaller, while at the same time traditional factors such
as ease of use  and flexibility will become more important to
customers choosing among  the growing number of options.

      Many early software suites are composed of products that "grew
up together," but as the suite market grows, companies are
discovering that to compete they must often combine software from
many different sources, even licensing programs from other companies
for resale. This  increases the product's value, but it also dilutes
the selling company's  brand power.  It is important for the suite
maker to present to the buyer  something that looks like a slick,
well-integrated package, even when its  components are widely
disparate pieces.  If it does not do this, the customer will perceive
the suite as unprofessional and will likely suspect its quality, and
their perception of the selling company will suffer as a result.

      A key area of integration for suites is the install
program.  The ways in which programs can be made to work together
with other parts of the same suite vary widely depending on the
products involved, but universally, they all must at some point be
installed on the user's system.  Since this is often the first
experience a user will have with the suite, the degree to which the
installation is a pleasurable, simple process will color his
impression of the software from then on.  The more difficult the
process is, and the longer it takes, the less likely the user will be
to recommend the suite  to anyone else or to buy other products from
the same vendor. Moreover,  when the parts of a suite come from a
variety of different development  shops, the install program is one
of the few places the suite maker has  to make its mark.

      Unfortunately, the very nature of suites makes it difficult to
create an excellent install program.  Low overhead means there is a
small development budget.  Time-to-market pressures create a small
development window.  And the varying sources for the products
involved often makes it impossible to coordinate development
resources and efforts.  Typically, vendors solve...