From time-to-time we receive request from either our existing customers or new prospects planning to buy BizTalk360, they wanted one or two additional features in the product. BizTalk360 may already cover 90-95% of their requirement, just that one or two features may not be present in the product, or they are using some existing mechanism and making a little enhancement in BizTalk360 may allow them to get rid of their home grown solution.
In the past we have done such developments for our customers. Example the "Search and Action" (now Search Artifacts) on artifacts functionality was designed and developed for a large customer. They had over 500 BizTalk applications with 1000's of artifacts in the environment and standard BizTalk admin console's tree view navigation was not suitable for them. They approached us, we worked closely with them, understand the requirements and build a search based solution.
What type of enhancements we can do?
We are very conscious about not over bloating BizTalk360 with unnecessary features. When a customer/prospect request for a feature, we analyse it very carefully and we accept the work only if it can be of use to wider audience. If we think the feature is more targeted towards particular customer scenario, then we will not take up the work.
What's the process of requesting new feature?
You can just email us (email@example.com) your requirement with as much detail as possible. One of our technical team member will analyse the request carefully and see if this is something that can be added to the product in a clean way, how much engineering effort will be required, etc and let the customer know whether we can do it or not. If the customer wants to move forward, then we will analyse the actual estimate, agree on a timeline and provide an official estimation. Once the commercial side is sorted, we will go ahead, start implementing the solution and will deliver it.
What's the criteria for accepting the custom work?
Kovai Limited (BizTalk360) will own all the IP (intellectual property) of any custom work performed. We will not maintain a separate code base for any particular customer, since that will increase our overhead on code maintenance. We only accept feature that are useful to wider audience and something that fits with BizTalk360. In the following major release, that particular feature will be included as part of the general release.
Sometime this may sound unfair, since a customer paid for the feature and everyone getting it. But in almost all cases it will be much cheaper asking us to build a feature (since we have the platform already) and it avoids any maintenance overhead for the customer.
In majority of the cases the feature request will be something that's already in our pipeline, since we keep filling our work pipeline constantly when presenting demo's, talking to customers, answering support calls, community engagements etc. It will just be a matter of prioritizing it, the feature may not be something in top of our priority, so customer pay for it to implement it with agreed timelines.
What if the feature is something fundamental and should be part of the product?
We encounter this situation as well from time-to-time where BizTalk360 is missing some basic feature that should be part of the offering. In situations like that we try to implement that feature in the immediate upcoming release (based on severity), or we inform the customer approximately when we are planning to add it to the product. There is no guarantee on the delivery dates, since our priorities keep changing. This is one of the reason, customer can request us to build that feature immediately for a fee, this may be something very high on their priority.
How much will it cost?
We charge $100/hour for custom work, it's just understanding the requirements and agreeing on the time frame. We charge a minimum of $2500, however small the feature request is because there is always additional work involved in terms of regression testing, packaging, custom build, documentation etc.