Out of sheer frustration this week, I tweeted this and got a big response:
The Back Story
I’ve wasted about 60 hours of customers time working with resellers & vendors to get a quote for a relatively simple network upgrade. Neither the vendor staffers or the reseller employees knew how the product was licensed or which modules were needed to meet the requirements. This created a lack of confidence in the offered solution and 4 days of reading manuals on pointless licensing schemes and hardware compatibility matrix to verify.
The cost to the customer in terms of consulting costs plus their own internal resource (engineers and PMs in meetings) was more than half of the final quotation (low six figures) and the project manager has now raised the issue with the CIO.
The process was a pointless waste of time to gain dumb knowledge simply because vendor product managers in their corporate bureaucracy have made buying their products complex. As is often the case, the purchase of technology products is needlessly complex with hundreds of SKUs for a single product, incomprehensibly complex licensing schemes that require multiple license to enable features that no one really understands.
And with the vendor sending 3 or more staff to every meeting plus the reseller employees, the vendor cost of supporting this business model is in my product. That’s what really annoyed the CIO. Vendor people have to be paid for and its in the cost of the product plus he is directly paying for the consultant and in-house project staff.
At this customer, the CIO is desperate for more staff to increase the operational capacity. Instead, simply buying the product was a significant drain on operational project time. Instead of delivery it was administration.
Someone raised the issue of “unique value” and “full features”, thats what the sales process is about.
Except it rarely, if ever, is about “values”.
Public Cloud Simple
During this project, I was testing some software in a cloud platform with VMs running a vendor emulator that was immediately accessible. I simply selected what I wanted from the web page and away I went.
Many vendors are worried about cloud taking their business. And rightly so. Public Cloud is cheaper in this context because I wasn’t wasting money on pointless vendor meetings. One way to compete with Public Cloud is to simplify the product offerings and reduce the overheads of doing business with them.
PS: I’m not the only person, Martin Glassborow aka. Storage Bod thinks along the same lines – Stop Selling Storage – Storagebod