Software // Information Management
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1/4/2007
08:01 PM
Tony Byrne
Tony Byrne
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New Year's Resolutions for Vendors and Buyers

When I talk to vendors about customer projects that were seriously delayed or that failed outright, the response is invariably: "implementation problem." That's code-speak for the customer or integrator (or both) screwing up. Sometimes customers are blissfully ignorant of their unreadiness to implement new technology, but I suspect more commonly implementation troubles result from a poor product fit.

When I talk to software vendors about customer projects that were seriously delayed or that failed outright, the response is almost invariably: "implementation problem." That's code-speak for the customer or integrator (or both) screwing up. Sometimes this rings true, though I suspect more commonly implementation troubles result from a poor product fit.

In a world in which vendors dominate marketplace conversations -- by underwriting conferences, the trade press, Webinars, white papers and trade associations -- assigning blame to others for our industry's ridiculously low success rate is weaseling out.I'm not advocating vendor altruism, but a longer-term view of survival based on incremental customer value rather than customer lock-in. This means targeting more than just "standing up" an initial implementation so that license revenue can be recognized on the books. It means working with customers to define what constitutes business success and doing what it takes to get them there.

Sometimes customers are to blame when things go wrong. For example, we frequently see companies issuing software RFPs amid blissful ignorance of their own unreadiness to implement new technology. Vendors can typically sense this right away, but not bidding means losing the contract to someone else; many vendors will still beg off, but most will press on, typically leading to unhappy customer and winning supplier alike (except the supplier got paid!).

So a New Year's resolution for you, the customer: look beyond content management as a discrete project and think through what it really means for the business to manage content better. If you're like most enterprises, this entails ample content and process analysis, along with reality-testing new approaches. Only when you're sure you need new technology to get to the next level should you start researching vendors. When you get to that point, CMS Watch is happy to help.

Tony Byrne is founder and lead analyst at CMS Watch. Write him at tbyrne@cmswatch.com.When I talk to vendors about customer projects that were seriously delayed or that failed outright, the response is invariably: "implementation problem." That's code-speak for the customer or integrator (or both) screwing up. Sometimes customers are blissfully ignorant of their unreadiness to implement new technology, but I suspect more commonly implementation troubles result from a poor product fit.

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