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17 June 2021

Small Business Owners Worry about the Software that Runs their Companies


There are 28.8 million small businesses in the United States, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, employing 56.8 million people. Small businesses (defined as businesses with fewer than 500 employees) account for 99.7% of all US businesses and employ 48% of the private workforce in the US.

As more and more small businesses embrace technology, IT spending is on the rise. As computer hardware, mobile devices and cloud-based services become more affordable, adoption by small business grows and become critical in the way they compete and win business. Spending on software by SMBs has increased from $148 billion in 2011 to $218 billion in 2017, for a 7% cumulative aggregate growth rate (CAGR).

Yet, today’s small business owner still has concerns about technology, but often feels they have no leverage. According to CIO, the most common technology concern is IT disruption. As small businesses incorporate technology into their daily workflow, they come to rely on it as an essential part of their companies. We’ll take a look at two small B2B companies in very different industries – both depend on specialized software as integral to the value they offer their customers.

Software for Booking Tee Times

Grand Strand Tee Time Network (GSTTN) serves the Myrtle Beach golf community with a specialized web-based reservation system to book golf tee times. This software is invaluable to the Myrtle Beach golf community – every golf course in the market uses it. But, GSTTN acknowledged it was not a software company. So, in order to deliver the best product and better serve its community, GSTTN sold the software to another company that could continue to develop and maintain it. 

As a small business, GSTTN knew it had to protect itself. Before the company sold the software, GSTTN had the foresight to ensure that the integrity of their software source code was protected with a technology escrow agreement and verification testing from NCC Group. This means those 3.4 million golfers who book on Myrtle Beach courses and drive tee-time and hospitality revenue to the area, are none the wiser to the software that makes sure everything behind the curtain is working just as it should.

Software to support Buyer Personas

Buyer Persona Institute (BPI) is another small business; it works with large companies to help them with fine-tuning their marketing. BPI conducts in-depth marketing research to understand everything that goes into a buyer’s decision: what they care about, what matters to them, what makes them choose one company over another. They create a buyer persona for their client based on the information they gather. 

BPI created a new product, called Persona Pure Advice, that delivers audio customer testimonials in the customer’s own voice. They licensed the software that supports the peer-advice audio clips from an emerging company. But, before BPI launched its new product, the company wanted to protect itself and ensure this software would be reliable, consistent and disaster-proof. BPI reached out to NCC Group to set up a technology escrow agreement with verification. This means that BPI will be able to recreate the platform their product runs on in the event the original company shuts down, loses solvency, or otherwise fails to support the product. Read the full case study. 

Protecting against Worst-Case Scenarios

Technology escrow, also known as software escrow, helps small businesses protect against the absolute worst-case scenarios – the catastrophes no one expects and provide leverage in their ongoing relationships with suppliers. Historically, technology escrow was used in a David and Goliath scenario, where David was the small software developer, while Goliath was the large enterprise buying software.

But, today, companies of all size depend on technology. They need to have access to that technology, and they are increasingly using technology escrow and verification for risk mitigation.

So, think of all the small businesses that rely on technology. In many cases, these companies have an option to safeguard their company’s technology with a software escrow agreement and software escrow verification exercise to guard against unforeseen circumstances. With all the uncertainties in the life of a small business, loss of your mission-critical software doesn’t have to be one of them. 

Ready to learn more about safeguarding your software? Contact NCC Group.

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