A panel of top-tier user companies this week once again sounded the call for software vendors to start delivering better quality products.
They also made it clear that they long to be close to you - vendors that is. For all the endless marketing blather we hear about customer relationship management, it's clear that the only kinks to be worked out are not just in the software.Also once again rearing its ugly head (to the vendors that is) was the cry for what amounts to pay for results, or in other words - software fees based solely on business outcomes. If the software doesn't do what it's supposed to do, vendors don't get paid, or, they get paid less. The concept is gaining ground as an acceptable compensation model in a number of areas, and it could just be the incentive vendors need to knock off the dribbleware and the wobblyware.
Users don't want so much, I think. They just want secure software that works. They want to implement software to solve business problems, not spend their time and money implementing patches to software problems. They want their vendors to be as invested in solving their problems as they are, and they want collaboration that will lead to products that solve real problems in workable ways. Sounds logical, and like a win-win to me.
Developers desperate to stimulate stagnant market share and grow profits might want to take a step back from the current merger frenzy and consider another approach to winning new customers.
This one involves listening to and working with customers. Learning their business (for real) and applying that knowledge to building technology designed to aid and improve the process of doing business.
There's a lot of money riding on the outcome. It's often true that users gripe a lot, but there's no there there. It's expensive to rip out applications and vendors know that. Let 'em whine all they want, they'll never dump the software - that seems to be the prevailing attitude and you can hardly blame them. Unless some key accounts are willing to make a stand, my guess is the status quo will stagger on or progressively get worse.
Users need to show vendors they mean business. But vendors need to realize that while you can buy technology and customer accounts, you can't buy loyalty or relationships, and without those two, it's unlikely you'll build profits or longevity.