Wednesday, April 15, 2009

ECM Vendor Selection Day 2

Day two, and vendor number two - this one got off to a flying start, then went downhill in the second half. So some more tips to vendors coming up:

1: If you list a product/module on your RFP price quote - be sure you know why its there and what it does

2: If the client makes a request in precalls for a certain chart/description to be included in your presentation, be sure its there on the day - and don't look like a deer in the headlights when it isn't

Overall, a better day - some great insights into this particular product suite that I will capture in the relevant CMS Watch evaluation. But vendor three tomorrow at least has the opportunity to close the deal on the spot.

Reflecting on yesterdays debacle, I thought it interesting that even today they could have come back, cap in hand and said "Wow did we screw up - let us try and fix this", it would have at least been worth a try, and done correctly it might have worked. Vendor sales people tend to fall into two categories, those who just can't accept they lost, and chase a deal long after it is clear they have no hope, and those that give up too easily and walk away. I guess that's just people in general....

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Vendor demo implosion

What a day! I shall marshall my thoughts and write something more considered for CMS Watch later in the week. But sufice it to say that I witnessed the worst vendor demo to a prospective buyer I have ever seen. It was a disaster, and yet it should not have been....

The vendor (who shall remain nameless) has the tools and the skills to set a very high bar in this particular product selection process. Yet they missed the boat by a mile. For some reason they arrived with 7 people (why?) and one or two of them clearly were not as briefed as the others. Unfortunately the weakest link in the team, was also the most important part of the demo puzzle today.

Just a tip or two to any vendors out there

Firstly, never ever under any circumstances (ever) display scripting during a demo. That is suicide, the only time the buyer should ever see it is when they ask to.

Second tip, listen to your audience - if they pep up and show interest build on it - don't drag them back to the stuff that glazed their eyes.

Third tip, people want to see real demonstrations that at least approximate their working environment and the issues they detailed in the RFP

Fourth tip, it is ok to show examples you made earlier. Yes we want a real live demo, but we understand you cannot build the empire state building in a day - its ok to show us a few examples of outstanding interfaces, processes whatever - alongside the real demo which by definition will always be limiting and limited

Not a good day - two more demo's to come, they left in a huff - we all felt bad. But with two days to go, they can't be any worse - can they?

Monday, April 06, 2009

The problem with Google

I came across this excellent article originally published in The Guardian - one of the UK's higher quality newspapers - it is well worth a read:

Interestingly The Guardian, is also a high profile customer of, and indeed cheerleader for Google applications........odd

My other recommendation of the day is for all those who read George Orwell's 1984, to read the follow up penned by Anthony Burgess - 1985. Written almost contemporaneously (1978) by Burgess, 1985 is chilling indeed, and paints a picture of a nation awash with useless information, and suggests a future that is in many respects our current reality.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Back from AIIM Expo 2009

Yesterday was a long one (if fun) for me, and I am relieved to be home and back at my desk. I did 3 sessions at AIIM and they were all demanding. I did a point/counterpoint argument/debate with Dan Elam that the crowd loved (as did I). I then did Stump the Consultant in the afternoon - another full house - drawn I suspect to see the 'experts' humiliated on stage - a session made somewhat complex when two of the randomly selected questions from the audience happened to be from CMS Watch customers! I Finished the day off with a co-presentation on SharePoint with Tony.

What of the Expo? Foot traffic was clearly down on last year, the On Demand portion of the show continues to dominate, our new booth looked awesome. But......not at all bad, was my conclusion. A bit quieter than we would have liked at times, but we met with a lot of our customers, and met (hopefully) many new ones. Lots of good sessions (though maybe a few too many scheduled side by side) providing a solid education track.

Attendance at the pre-conference tutorials and Tony's SharePoint workshop today have been surprisingly high, and the 3 sessions I mentioned above (along with the Analyst panel we hosted the previous day) were all in large rooms, and were full or nearly full. Considering the state of the economy and the associated difficult in getting budget to attend such events, it was a success.

I will be thinking more about the information, gossip and observations I got at the show - and writing more about the for CMS Watch once things have filtered through, but I was struck with two things in particular at the show.

1: Microsoft, Oracle and SpringCM (big suprise) acting as virtual hubs on the show floor
2: The notable reduction in Java offerings for ECM outside of the very high end - something that was glaringly obvious but unoticed by me till Kas pointed it out

Much to ponder - a good week overall - much better than I expected.