The sales process noise
We started Populi because small colleges didn't really have anywhere to turn for good software that doesn't slaughter the budget. Over time, we've tweaked and tuned our business to reflect our other principles—principles we formed in part just to be contrary to the way business is done in the college software industry. We hope that we're cultivating a simpler, more honest, and even refreshing way of doing business.
For instance, we've always believed in just telling you what we charge. No nonsense, no mystery, no "sit-through-a-pitch-first" hoo-hah. To our knowledge, none of our competitors publish their prices (most of them won't even publish pictures of their software). From what many schools have told us, you have to get deep into the sales process to get a basic price quote. And then the sales process wears on as the quotes get modified and the options get haggled over. The fine print and terms of service sprout as many configurations as the software. You need lawyers and consultants to figure out what you're actually buying.
We self-consciously decided long ago that we wanted no part of this. We just don't want to contribute to the sales process noise colleges must endure when they look for new software. Our website reflects that principle. If you want to find out what we offer, what we're up to, how to get a hold of us, how the service is holding up, or what our Terms of Service are (among other things) you can, easily. And if your curiosity's piqued, you can just as easily sign up for a live demo.
But we still have to contend with how laborious the industry has made procuring college software. Recently, one college went with Populi not just because it was the best software they had seen, but because other vendors wouldn't cough up a price quote without weeks of the sales process din. Even though some of their prices came in lower than ours (outsourcing support and development overseas is cheap), the work it took to get a number out of these companies told the college what it needed to know about them.
Another school told us that a competitor—one of the big guys with all the big-company overhead—had "underbid" us by a pretty serious chunk of change (when projecting the cost over the minimum five-year contract the competitor required). Of course, our competitor was leaving a few things out that the college still had to negotiate for. Things like a user interface, which, last we heard, would run the college around a hundred grand. That attractive five-year price quote wasn't for an actual information system so much as it was for a database with no way for the average user to... well, use it.
Maybe we're just being naïve, but we honestly do think that if we're daring enough to ask you to pay us to handle your sensitive data, we ought to earn your trust. And so we figure that simply telling you about us upfront seems to be the best way to start that.
Populi makes college management simple. Hopefully we can help make the sales process simple, too.