News Feature | January 10, 2017

Business Solutions ISV/Software Developer Executive Survey Results

Abby Sorensen July 2017 Headshot

By Abby Sorensen, Chief Editor

Hospital Survey Data Partnership

Business Solutions regularly conducts surveys so our editorial team can better understand what topics and trends are important to our readers. We recently closed a survey for our ISV/software developer audience to help us improve our editorial coverage and shape our 2017 ISV IQ Live! conferences. Business Solutions wants to make our insights on the survey available to our ISV readers so they can see what topics their peers and competitors are most interested in, and what parts of their business ISVs are struggling with the most.

Before we share the survey results, here is some background information about the ISVs who participated in the survey:

  • The questions on the survey were designed for a broad selection of ISVs, regardless of vertical, software functions/features, or involvement in the channel.
  • ISVs were from a wide variety of verticals. Retail/hospitality represented 55% of survey takers, healthcare 45%, manufacturing 30%, financial 28%, and warehousing/distribution 28%.
  • Only about 20% of ISVs reported more than 50% of their annual sales through the reseller channel. About 31% of ISVs in the survey are not currently selling through the channel, and 44% reported less than 25% of annual sales through the channel.

Some of the top takeaways from the survey include:

  • Marketing and licensing models/pricing had the highest weighted averages among a list of eight topics relevant to ISVs, regardless of vertical. We asked ISVs to rate topics on a scale of 1-5 with “Not valuable” equaling 1 and “Highly Valuable” equaling 5. Overall, the topics were rated as:
    • Marketing – 3.91
    • Licensing/Pricing Models – 3.84
    • Cloud Development Or Migration – 3.75
    • Security – 3.67
    • Legal/Contractual Guidelines – 3.52
    • Business Best Practices (Hiring, Training, Comp Models) – 3.44
    • Building/Growing A Reseller Channel – 3.37
    • Raising Capital – 2.87
  • When filtering survey results to include only ISVs in the retail/hospitality verticals, the importance of the eight topics shifted slightly, and “building/growing a reseller channel” jumped from the seventh ranked topic to third on the list (marketing and licensing/pricing models were still first and second, respectively).
  • For ISVs in the healthcare or financial verticals, security moved up the list to a close third behind marketing and licensing/pricing models. This isn’t surprising given growing concerns and publicity surrounding data breaches, and considering the regulatory and compliance measures in those industries.
  • For ISVs who have more than 50% of their annual sales through the reseller channel (about 20% of all survey takers), building/growing a reseller channel jumped to the top of the list with a 4.33 weighted average (licensing/pricing models was second at 4.00 and marketing was third at 3.92). At first this seems contradictory, but it could also indicate that ISVs who are well-established in the channel want to keep growing and improving their reseller program. More than a third of these ISVs with 50% of their annual sales through the reseller channel also cited the importance of reseller recruitment and/or engagement in open-ended survey questions.
  • We asked ISVs to explain the biggest obstacles their businesses are currently facing and to tell us what topics they are eager to learn more about. Very few of the answers addressed technical or development concerns. The top two themes from these open-ended responses were struggles with the reseller channel and improving business best practices. When it comes to resellers, ISVs are concerned with finding new resellers and with getting their current resellers more engaged. About a quarter of the responses listed either marketing, lead generation, and/or hiring and retaining employees as a top challenge.
  • Marketing was a popular theme in this survey. ISVs want to know more about budgeting for marketing, SEO, “freemium” marketing strategies, social media marketing, and marketing to resellers. Only 2% of all ISV survey takers rated marketing as “Not Valuable” compared to 77% who rated marketing as either “Valuable” or “Highly Valuable.”

Business Solutions is always interested in what our readers want to learn more about. Please email me at with feedback on this survey, if you’re interested in contributing to, or if you’d like to attend one of our ISV IQ Live! conferences this year.

Additional resources for ISV/software developer executives can be found in the ISV/Software Developer Tech Center on the website, including: