There’s a lot of buzz and chatter going on around the usefulness of Analyst and Research reports these days. Being in the vendor space for over a decade, I have come to (sometimes) love and (sometimes) hate the ‘game’ of trying to get my organization’s little black vendor dot as high on the right, or with as many full pie matrices, or the maximum amount of checkboxes in these various reports. It’s amazing the amount of time and energy that some organizations take to answer questions the perfect way, build the perfect demo, and spin their story in just the right way to make the analyst raise their mark just a few millimeters from their previous evaluation. You sometimes wonder how successful these organizations would be if they took the same amount of time and effort on their customer projects.
I work for a firm today that doesn’t show up on too many of these various reports. The reasons it doesn’t are similar to the reasons others don’t – we don’t fit into the box that analysts have defined as a “pure” software company. Well, that’s a perfect reason to not educate and inform the buying audience about us, right? Interestingly enough, we’ve been vastly successful at competing against many organizations that find themselves LEADING on these reports, or even others that are RIDING THE WAVE.
The REAL STORY here is that what customers really want at the end of the day is a successful solution. This industry of WCMS, WXMS, WEM – whatever other acronym defines it for you today – has been plagued for over a decade with botched implementations, oversold software, and unhappy customers. And there are plenty of people to blame – there has certainly been some crappy software unleashed, some poor implementation methodologies followed, and even some misguided analysts.
You sometimes wonder how successful these organizations would be if they took the same amount of time and effort on their customer projects.
But it isn’t all bad news! There are some great solution providers out there that can even make underwhelming software sing a nice tune. There are some software solutions that have really improved, really simplified what was formerly truly complex. The battle shouldn’t be over whether to choose a software first and then a solution provider second, though – or vice-versa. The answer this industry needs is in finding the best balance of both. This balance might come from a single solution provider or it might require the difficult work of playing matchmaker – or providing the right amount of stability – between both software and service provider. Beware of choosing one and aligning with their choice for the other – that choice might not necessarily be YOUR best choice…. It might be THEIR best choice… or even just who’s next in line for a lead.
So I leave two audiences with questions that they should consider:
- Analysts – Does your research actually provide the best tools for customers to find success?
- Buyers – Are you ready to hang your hat of success on some of the same methodologies that have lead to more than a decade of unsatisfied customers?
As for me – and the success I see for my customers – I’m just fine not fitting in those boxes.