Where is the money you spend annually on support and maintenance going? It is a question that builders need to be asking with regards to their software systems.

In fact, one software provider has launched a campaign around this very strategy, telling builders that its system will hold up against others in the space. BuilderMT, www.buildermt.com, Lakewood, Colo., has initiated a “switch” campaign at www.BuilderMT.com/Switch, where visitors can request a cross-comparison of BuilderMT with the software systems they are currently using.

The company continues to invest in its Workflow Management System (WMS), the product that it is asking builders to compare their legacy systems to through the “switch” campaign. BuilderMT says it has addressed a common worry about such a switch process, which is the chance of losing legacy data during a technology transition. BuilderMT says it has written and widely tested data-migration applications for every major homebuilding system.

Tom Gebes, president, BuilderMT, says he urges builders that are looking for technology solutions to survey the competitive landscape, thoroughly look over our competition, and talk to their customers. In addition, he suggests posing the simple question to yourself: “What have they done for me lately?”

It’s nothing new to have software providers trying to challenge the competition. It is always good to see vendors putting their money where their mouth is, so to speak, with such programs. It’s never a bad idea to keep your options open, but before heading down a path of switching systems, there are many things to consider, not the least being the cost, time, and commitment of making a switch, for instance.

As a customer, the smart strategy is to always look to your technology provider to supply solutions that can have an immediate impact on your bottomline. This benefit to the bottomline can come in many different ways, depending on your personal objectives. But no matter what the case, your vendor needs to understand your objectives and, subsequently, be able to present to you a long-term strategy for meeting these objectives.

Many software providers say they are constantly updating their product based on “user feedback” and for many, this is indeed the case. However, perhaps it’s time to take a look at the latest upgrades and see if your input was indeed part of the “user feedback” enhancements.

Another good test point is the long-term roadmap for your software solution. Are you being kept up to date about the bigger picture development of your software? This may have been something that was presented to you back when you were first being “courted” as a customer, but it is important to check in and ensure that roadmap is clearly being defined and executed.

Despite today’s tough economic conditions, it’s time to put the power back in your hands. Software providers should be able to show you they are your partner for the long term. If not, perhaps it’s time to kick the tires on your options.