Do you need an ISV Partnership? Let’s say you’ve created the next great piece of software. It solves a long-standing problem, or makes a laborious task much simpler and you’re eager to put it into potential customers’ hands.

But there’s a problem: your particular software works best on an optimized piece of hardware and you don’t have the capital, time or capabilities to offer a complete package under your own roof.

In instances like this many software companies choose to enter into an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) partnership with a hardware OEM. An ISV partnership allows you to offer your clients a pre-certified or pre-loaded hardware solution, without the additional costs, overhead and logistics associated with sourcing and carrying the hardware directly. By outsourcing hardware production and shipping you can offer a more full-service experience for your customers, at a fraction of the cost and work.

So, how does a software provider enter into an ISV partnership, and how does the relationship work?

Is An ISV Partnership Right For Your Business?

The first step is determining whether a partnership is the right model for you. In many instances our clients choose to purchase hardware from us and develop the complete package — software, hardware, peripherals, and sometimes integration services — themselves. They sell the total solution through channels or to end users directly. This allows them substantial control — and often substantial margins on the appliance — that the ISV partnership option doesn’t offer.

The ISV Partnership Advantages For Software Developers

Many software companies don’t want to tie up the capital needed to carry a dedicated hardware platform for their customers. And many others simply prefer to be out of the hardware business altogether. That said, they want to help customers get the right hardware. For them, partnering with an OEM hardware provider is an appealing option. Learn more about OEM/ODM relationships in the computer industry

By entering into an ISV partnership software creators gain access to the production, testing and shipping facilities of an established hardware company, effectively giving their customers a solution they can utilize out of the box. Hardware providers offer a host of services to help software companies provide pre-loaded, certified hardware solutions directly to distributors, integrators, or end users.

The ISV Partnership Process

Most major hardware providers offer ISVs a standardized process for entering into a manufacturing partnership. At OnLogic we’ve devised a six step process that allows our software partners to create, test, certify and distribute hardware solutions efficiently.

  • Step 1: Create Your Hardware Configurations – Working with a dedicated account representative, ISVs are able to design the ideal hardware solution to meet the needs of their channel and end users. We can even help you create a fully custom hardware solution. With this, ISV Partners are able to ensure that the final systems will be optimized for their particular software platform, meet the needs of their clients and possess optimal appeal in their market.
  • Step 2: Create a Prototype For Compatibility Testing – Part of ensuring that the hardware and software will interface properly is thoroughly testing compatibility and operation. Our engineering team can assist ISV partners in creating a verification process creating a hardware prototype and sending to their software facility or by arranging remote validation.
  • Step 3: Create Links From Your Site To Product Pages – Once the hardware is finalized and tested we create unique product SKUs for each system, allowing ISVs to link directly to a custom product page from their own website. This creates a seamless, easy to use purchasing platform for their end users or integrators.
  • Step 4:  Create Branded Hardware Solution (Optional) – If desired, you can create a custom branded solution or custom inclusions to improve the out-of-the-box experience.

ISV Partnership without software

  • Step 5:  Load Software Onto Systems (Optional) – In some cases an ISV partnership may only required pre-certified hardware. However some software developers choose to have us image their software onto the completed systems. The ISV is then only responsible for licensing and application support once the products reach the end user.

ISV Partnerships

  • Step 6: Hardware Is Purchased Directly by Distributor, Integrator or End-customer – One of the primary advantages for software developers entering into an ISV partnership is the ability to step out of the purchasing cycle, while still enabling a compatible platform for end users or distributors. Depending on the agreement, custom packaging, inserts and manuals can be included to highlight the “software-ready” qualities of the hardware.

The ISV Partnership Process

Through the OnLogic ISV program you’ll be able to provide your clients with a pre-configured, fully compatible hardware solution. Our consultative approach allows our partners to create the ISV framework that best suits their individual needs. Ready to begin your ISV Process?  Reach out to our technical team today!

Note: This post was originally published on June 3, 2014. It was updated for content on August 10, 2020.