Yesterday I attended a demonstration by a smallish firm whose product automates the job application, exam administration, and applicant tracking process. We talked about a lot of different things, including how easy it would be for end users to understand.
After the vendor left, I had a discussion with another of the attendees about the meeting. But our conversation wasn't so much about the product as it was about the company. We talked about the small size of the firm and how much of an issue that is when selecting the vendor.
On the one hand, it would seem small firms are more susceptible to succession planning issues. They're typically run by a charismatic, passionate, and extremely talented individual whose energy continually sustains the business. What happens when they're gone? They may also not have the built in redundancies that larger firms have, as well as the capacity to handle larger projects.
On the other hand, in my experience it's the quality of the product and the support that matters most for an IT implementation, not sheer size. Does the vendor "get" the customer? Do they have experience with the relevant issues? Are they honest about the product's capabilities and time frames? These are the factors I've found to be most important.
What do YOU think? Is vendor size relevant? Is it a make or break issue? I've temporarily turned off the registration requirement for the blog, so anyone can comment. I'm interested in hearing from users as well as vendors.