Network Computing Reader Poll: Drop the Buzzwords, Deliver the Goods

| by Deborah Hartmann Preuss Follow 0 Followers on Nov 28, 2006. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |
Respondents to the 2007 Network Computing Readers' Survey are frustrated by the internal strife and snake-oil salesmanship of technology vendors. The survey asked over 700 IT managers to vent about the tech challenges they face every day and how they wish vendors would address these problems. The results, while not pretty, are instructive for both consumers and vendors of software products - it appears the industry still has some way to go to in gaining the trust and respect of their customers.

Projects are still failing for the same old reasons: in response to the question "What's the root cause of your organization's last major IT project failure?" 20% responded with "scope creep", 15% with "Insufficient budget", and only 5% said "we lacked the technical chops."  And, on average, only 28% of key features promised by a salesperson in their last major product rollout were actually present in the delivery, lending credence to the joke appended by one respondent: "How do you know an IT salesperson is promising features he's not entirely sure his product can deliver? His lips are moving."  One example cited was: application was supposed to create a virtual database so that multiple agencies within the court system could enter and update information on the same court cases.  In actuality, changes can be made by only a single agency, which means the other agencies that need to make additions must send paper records, and those changes must be entered manually.
Given these difficulties, it comes as no surprise to hear that IT is still banging heads with the rest of the organization (30%):

Sales people may want to take note that clients are tired of hearing about "empowerment" (29%), and "collaboration" (13%), and they still fail to be impressed with the magic of wikis, saying "a wiki is a wiki is a web page" (47%) , although it's possible that this last issue is compounded by the fact that wikis are usually promoted as collaborative tools, empowering teams.

There's clearly room for improvement, and survey respondents had the opportunity to weigh in on this too.  Transparency and delivery of business-valued software ranked high: respondents recommended that vendors stop "promising capabilities that aren't there" (19%), and "address actual business problems, rather than chasing buzzwords" (25%).

The article includes hints for buyers (Caveat Emptor), including active reference-checking and demonstration of working software (a vendor slideshow is a definite red flag).

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just a question by edward moraru

Wait a minute, if all vendors overpromise and underdeliver, why all clients choose the vendor who promise the most ?
I've failed to see a client choosing a product which is more expensive but with a good record.
I think not only the vendors are the guilty ones here ...

Re: just a question by Deborah Hartmann

Yes, wouldn't that be a good question to ask: "In your organization's last major IT project failure, how did you select the vendor?"

This dysfunctinal system has been in similar shape for decades... what kind of change on the client side would wake up these vendors?

Not as true as you think by Cameron Purdy

I've failed to see a client choosing a product which is more expensive but with a good record.
I think not only the vendors are the guilty ones here ...

I don't think that is the case. Customers are definitely willing to pay extra to get a quality product, or even a product from a quality vendor. Our software is relatively expensive, and we sell quite a bit of it, even when competitors offer their software for _free_ to get the deal (which happens regularly). I credit that to the fact that we have a strong technology track record, a great customer base (willing to speak on our behalf), a great reputation for quality and service, and a profitable business model that helps ensure our longevity.

The biggest challenge that customers face is puchasing products in a young, quickly-evolving, not-yet-defined market segment, because the "trusted vendors" tend to move very slowly into the space and so the customers are left choosing among a number of fast-moving startups, none of which has managed to build a strong reputation.

The flip side is that the biggest challenge that new companies face is building that reputation: It was very difficult for us to get going and win those first dozen or so referenceable customers.


Cameron Purdy
Tangosol Coherence: Distributed Caching for Java and .NET

They fails mainly because of the lack of planning by Alex Gheorghiu

A recent statistic survey says that 70%-80% of all IT project fail!!! Why? The coders did not code things right? The clients did not put enough effort for the project to succeed? The programming language used sucked? The graphical design was ?not so fancy??

No! They fail because of lack of planning. It is OK for a 2-3 web page project with a small budget to plunge directly into coding phase but think about medium and big projects: would you like to spend $10,000 on a project and to finally see it is worth nothing? Or would you prefer to spend $500-$1000 for a good planning and then start working on the project?

....well the rest of this can be found here why it projects fail?

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